Toyota Professional has added to its growing line of vans, with a commercial version of the Corolla estate car.
Built at the firm’s Burneston plant near Derby, the Corolla Commercial follows the well-proven path of removing the rear seats and blanking out the rear side windows to create a load-carrying area. A flat load platform is added, along with a steel bulkhead to protect front seat occupants.
The result is a 1.3m3 load volume, that can be easily accessed through the rear hatchback or the two side rear doors. Payload is a reasonable 425kg and the van can tow up to 750kg if required. The load floor comes with a tough rubber covering and there is a 12V power outlet in the load area.
While manufacturers have turned their passenger car models into vans before, this is believed to be the first LCV with a petrol hybrid driveline, offering buyers a stepping-stone to electric motoring, without taking the plunge with a full BEV model. Seen as a concept at last year’s Commercial Vehicle Show, the resulting positive reaction from customers has led Toyota to build the van.
The Corolla is built on the same line as the passenger models, before being moved to a Business Revenue Centre within the plant, for the conversion to an LCV. The centre has the ability to install a range of options, including towbars and additional lighting.
The Corolla is powered by Toyota’s established 1.8-litre petrol hybrid driveline. This uses an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and an electric motor/generator, to provide an output of 120hp. The engine produces 142Nm of torque, which is then backed-up by a further 163Nm of torque from the 53kW motor.
The electrical energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery, but there is no need to plug the van in to the mains to charge, as the energy is created by the generator within the car. The self-charging hybrid driveline promises WLTP fuel figures of 55.6-61.4mpg, with a CO2 output of just 105-115g/km.
The vehicle pulls away on electric power only, up to around 15mph, when the petrol engine joins in. Reverse gear only ever uses electric drive. The driver can select an EV only mode, with the electric motor capable of running the van up to 70mph if there is sufficient battery power. However, in normal use, both power sources work together when cruising, also creating electrical energy that can be stored for use later.
The hybrid system also uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery, with a B setting on the gear lever adding to the regenerative force available. While the driver can take control of driving and regenerative modes, they can also simply get in, select forward gear and drive, with no additional training required.
The Corolla Commercial comes in a single Icon trim level, with an 8” multimedia display offering smartphone integration and a reversing camera. There are auto headlights and heated, power-adjustable door mirrors, dual-zone air conditioning, heated seats and a host of Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance systems in the specification.
This includes a comprehensive pre-collision system with emergency braking, intelligent adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering control, lane trace assist, automatic high beam lights, road sign assist and seven airbags in the cab. Toyota suggests that, as with other vans in the line-up, the Corolla Commercial will start out as a single trim model, but that it could evolve into a second, higher trim if there is customer demand in about a year’s time.
For now, there is certainly demand for dealer demonstrations, with potential buyers including local authorities, paramedics, dog handlers and service engineers, for whom the car-like appearance and load-carrying ability are the ideal combination. For companies, the hybrid driveline also offers a move towards carbon reduction and electric drive, without having to go all the way to a possibly unsuitable or impractical full electric van.
The good news is that Toyota Professional has booked build slots on the Burnaston line, so meeting demand, without an extended lead time, should be possible. The Corolla Commercial has a CVOTR price of £22,149, or can be had on a fully maintained Kinto contract hire agreement for just £261 per month.
The van comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, but also qualifies for the firm’s Relax extended warranty. As long as it is serviced by a Toyota professional dealer, that is extended by 12-months/10,000 miles a year, to a maximum of 10 years or 100,000 miles.