Toyota has updated the Corolla Commercial, just a year after the car-derived van was introduced, on the back of a major upgrade to the passenger car line-up.
The revised LCV gets more power, a smoother drivetrain, an interior refresh and additional driver assistance technology. It also boasts improved economy and lower emissions.
While the passenger model is now offered with a choice of 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines, the Commercial sticks with the 1.8-litre petrol motor. This fifth-generation hybrid boasts an improved lithium-ion battery that despite being smaller and 14% lighter, boasts a 14% boost in output. In total, the hybrid driveline now pushes out a combined 138hp, a 14% rise on the previous model.
Despite that rise in power, Toyota is also boasting a fuel consumption improvement, with the Corolla now promising up to 64.2mpg and just 100g/km of CO2. It drives through a revised e-CVT transmission and Power Control Unit, that have been tuned for reduced electrical loses. The transmission also behaves less like a conventional CVT, with acceleration now more closely tied to any rise in engine rpm.
The visual update is confined to some tweaked lighting and a slightly different front bumper, while inside the cab there is new seat material, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and a completely new digital dash. Beneath the skin, the latest Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) system boasts a huge array of safety and driver assistance technology, all of which is included in the standard specification.
Emergency Steering Assist, Emergency Driving Stop System, Curve Speed Reduction and Intersection Collision with Lateral Collision Avoidance are usually the preserves of luxury car models, not vans, but Toyota has happily decided that they make just as much sense for commercial vehicle drivers covering plenty of miles during their working day.
Indeed, the high ADAS count may well be a contributor to many of the vehicle’s early sales, as companies look both for a low-CO2 solution without going full electric and for a driving experience that will be welcomed by engineers and other travelling staff.
While a car-derived van will always be a small contributor to a company’s overall sales, Toyota Professional is gearing up for further success going forwards. The company recorded a 4.6% market share in the LCV market last year, its best to date. When the heavy Stellantis van joins the line up in 2024, the firm expects those numbers to keep on rising.
Traditionally, the Hilux pick-up has represented more than half of all Toyota LCV sales. By 2025 however, the company is expecting vans to take the lion’s share of LCV sales for the first time.
The firm’s dealers are preparing for this growth too, as they anticipate the heavy van line joining the range next year. Though all Toyota dealers can sell and service vans, 142 of the firm’s 181 outlets have now achieved Toyota Professional status, delivering an enhanced van offer. When that heavy model arrives, Toyota will have an enviable LCV range, including the car-derived Corolla, the 4×4 Land Cruiser Commercial, Hilux and a full range of vans. The company will also offer diesel, petrol hybrid and full electric drivelines, to meet the needs of a wide range of customers.
“We are about being able to provide as many different options to the customer as possible,” said LCV manager Gareth Matthews.