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The real fuel consumption of a Toyota Corolla Cross revealed

The Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is far heavier on fuel during highway driving sessions than it is with inner-city jaunts, an AutoTrader study has found.

To determine the true economy of the country’s most popular semi-electric vehicle, and how close it gets to its manufacturer’s claims, AutoTrader put the 1.8-litre hybrid Corolla Cross through its paces at the Gerotek oval track in Gauteng on a “typically hot” summer’s day with the climate control set at 21 degrees Celsius.

Mimicking the average daily commute, the crossover was driven at the national highway speed limit of 120km/h for 44km, and an equal distance doing urban-style driving with frequent stops and starts.

Illustrating the benefits of electrification for commuter cars, the results were as follows:

Scenario Measured consumption Potential range on one tank
Highway 6.7l/100km 537km
Urban 4.6l/100km 782km
Combined 5.65l/100km 659km

“While [the combined figures are] not quite the manufacturer’s claimed combined consumption of 4.3l/100km (or 837km range), the hybrid meets what over 41% of surveyed respondents expect the average fuel efficiency for a hybrid to be, and that’s between 4 and 5.9l/100km,” said AutoTrader CEO George Mienie.

On the bright side, the true “average” fuel usage of the Corolla Cross should still be low enough to complete the approximately 600km route from Joburg to Durban on a single tank.

The ideal stepping stone

AutoTrader describes hybrid vehicles as the ideal stepping stone for South African motorists on the way to mass adoption of fully-electric vehicles (EV).

They offer similar benefits to EVs in terms of fuel usage, emissions, and noise, vibration, and harshness levels, and they are simultaneously more attainable for most households than EVs since the high price for battery-powered cars has frequently been referenced as their biggest barrier-to-entry.

Case in point, the Corolla Cross is priced over R200,000 lower than the cheapest EV in the country, the GWM Ora 03.

Local interest in hybrid technologies is on the up, too, said Mienie.

AutoTrader’s latest Hybrid Car Buyers Survey showed a considerable year-on-year jump of 64% in hybrid inquiries by consumers. Of these respondents, 88.4% considered improved fuel efficiency as the biggest advantage of owning a hybrid ride.

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