Today is the 18th of November, the day when the 12th generation Toyota Corolla sedan made its simultaneous debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China, as well as in Carmel, California in the USA.
While the sedan is officially 5 years old now, bear in mind the 12th-gen Corolla in its hatchback guise was the first to be unveiled in March 2018, so technically it’s more than 5 years old already.
The 12th gen is the first Corolla model that’s based on the TNGA modular platform. It is also said to be the best Corolla ever produced, in terms of styling, safety, fuel efficiency, handling & performance. The fun-to-drive element which was something that always lacked in Toyota cars including the Corolla, is there to its fullest in the 12th gen model.
Besides visual appeal, some of the benefits of the 12th gen Corolla include better handling due to a lower center of gravity, improved & stiffer chassis for enhanced safety, better ride quality due to better suspension, better visibility due to a lower cowl, improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, and responsive steering, etc. Furthermore, depending on the market, the 12th generation Corolla is available with a variety of fascias, each with a unique aesthetic appeal.
The 12th generation is also the first Corolla model ever to have a hybrid powerplant in its lineup. Before now, the hybrids were restricted to Japanese domestic versions (JDMs) only, which are narrower & slightly smaller in dimensions than international Corolla variants specifically to comply with regulations within Japan. The hybrid system offered with the 12th gen Corolla is said to be the best & the most fuel-efficient system provided in a mass-produced car.
This generation of Toyota Corolla also comes equipped with the innovative Toyota Safety Sense package that takes driver assistance to the next level. Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision System with Night-time Pedestrian Detection, Pre-Collision System with Cyclist Detection, Full-range Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Trace Assist are some of the safety features worth mentioning.
After three years of presence in the global market, the 12th gen Corolla started receiving facelifts in late 2021 which included mild cosmetic enhancements alongside some technical improvements. Toyota is working on the development of the 13th generation Corolla model, the speculative renderings have appeared on the internet already. The next-generation Corolla is expected to break covers somewhere during 2024 and will replace the 12th-gen model after a standard 6-year cycle.
In Pakistan however, we still get the globally obsolete 11th generation Corolla which was introduced here in 2014 and continues to be sold despite being almost a decade old. Pakistan is currently the only market where only this generation is sold. One might bring the South African market into a debate where the 11th-gen is still sold as Corolla Quest, but that is sold parallel to the latest 12th-hybrid model, just like the old City was sold in India parallel to the latest model.
Why Indus Motor Company (IMC), the assemblers of Toyota cars in Pakistan is dragging the obsolete model here instead of bringing in the new model, which is now over 5 years old? Well, the reasons were discussed in detail in our earlier article.
Meanwhile, IMC is inching closer to formally introducing the Corolla Cross which will be the first locally assembled hybrid car by Toyota in Pakistan and is technically the same 12th-gen TNGA model under the skin. But it will be an expensive offering compared to the regular Toyota Corolla sedan, which despite its age still remains the highest-selling sedan in our country.
Launching the Corolla Cross in the toughest of economic times will surely be a bold move, with car sales falling below the alarming mark of 5,000 units a month. According to analysts, sales are likely to remain subdued throughout this fiscal year unless key reforms are implemented, economic stability is recovered, Rupee regains its lost value, and the spending power of the masses is restored. Till then, it’s quite hard for us to expect a new generation Toyota Corolla to be introduced here, IMC is already selling a decade-old model for around PKR 7.7 million, and the 12th-gen if introduced will be pushed to an even higher price territory.
From the looks of it, the 11th-generation Corolla will stay here for a longer period of time. It already surpassed the 7th-gen model (Indus Corolla) to become the longest-selling locally assembled Corolla generation in Pakistan. Perhaps IMC is eyeing to break the record of 5th-gen Honda City which was sold here for 12 years between 2009 and 2021. Else, we might expect 12th-gen Corolla to get introduced here once done from the rest of the world.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com