2019 Toyota Corolla Trek
Here’s another iteration of the Toyota Corolla you didn’t think you neededby Kirby Garlitos, on LISTEN 07:24
With almost 50 million units sold since it was first introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla is, without question, the best-selling car in the history of the auto industry. Even if the world is populated by Corollas, Toyota has found a way to continuously reinvent the model in ways that make it popular. It comes as no surprise then that we’re going to see another reinvented version of the Corolla called the Corolla Trek at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Based on the Touring Sports wagon body of Toyota’s best-selling model, the Corolla Trek is essentially a raised version of the wagon that’s not a lot different from the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. The recent trend of automakers raising their wagons and hatchbacks in the name of giving them crossover-like appeal has now taken over Toyota. We’ll see what that’s about when the Toyota Corolla debuts in Geneva next month.
2019 Toyota Corolla Trek
Horsepower @ RPM:121 (Est.)
Torque @ RPM:105 (Est.)
0-60 time:9.5 sec. (Est.)
What Makes the Toyota Corolla Trek Special?
Give a lot of credit to Toyota with this one. As long as the Corolla has been around — 53 years and counting, spread across 12 different generations — the Japanese automaker never seems to run out of ideas on what to do to it. I mean, it’s ridiculous. It really is.
It’s been a sedan. It’s been a hatchback. It’s been a wagon. Throw in some TRD parts and accessories and it can even masquerade as a cheap performance car.
Beyond the fact it’s the best-selling model in the history of the business, the Toyota Corolla is a chameleon. At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, we’re going to see the latest iteration of this model in the form of the Corolla Trek, a more rugged, crossover-styled version of the Corolla Touring Sports.
You can make your jokes about Toyota and the seemingly endless ways it adapts the Corolla, but make no mistake, the strategy has worked in the past. Toyota didn’t sell 50 million units of the Corolla by sticking to the same old blueprint.
It adapted the model depending on what the market demanded at a specific point in time. And since crossovers and SUVs are all the rage these days, why not dip into that market?
Well, here it is. Believe it or not, Toyota found a way to make it work. The Corolla Trek is the result of a collaboration between the Japanese automaker and Trek Bicycles, one of the world’s most popular bicycle brands with around 1.5 million bicycle sales per year in its résumé. As part of this partnership, Toyota has also committed the Corolla Trek as a support vehicle for Trek-owned men’s and women’s cycling teams during European cycling events.
Anyway, back to the Toyota Corolla Trek. It’s technically billed as a special edition model, but Toyota might as well produce this model in droves and it’ll probably do well in the market. It’s not particularly delightful to the eyes, but really, when was the last time you had to pick up your jaws from the floor when you saw a Corolla? See, what the Corolla Trek lacks in first impression wonder, it makes up for in all-around functionality. It’s been raised by 20mm (0.8 inches), which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that increase in ride height was the difference between the underbelly getting scratched or, worse, punctured, and the car getting away scot-free. The Corolla Trek also comes with a bike rack on the roof because, well, what would a partnership be with Trek Bicycles without the latter getting some of its products in on the fun?
Visually, the Corolla Trek isn’t actually barren of special aesthetic touches. After all, the model is bound for the Geneva Motor Show. It has to look good there to make an impression on people. Toyota addressed that by throwing in a sports pack that includes goodies like a new front grille with a dark chrome finish, lower skirts, and a rear diffuser. Oh, yes! The Corolla now has a rear diffuser. Sound the alarms! The model also sits on a set of 18-inch machined alloy wheels, boasts LED headlights, fog-lights, and a rear privacy glass. The cherry on top of this interesting sundae is an exclusive Dynamic Grey paint finish that really doesn’t look all that exclusive at all.
There’s not much going on in the interior, though I suppose that’s by design.
As intriguing as the Corolla Trek is, it’s still a Corolla. If you thought that this special edition model would be awash in luxury amenities, you’d be wrong. The good news is that Toyota did give the interior a solid aesthetic touch up in the form of wood trim details and a two-tone cloth upholstery. Pretty good, right? It’s not over-the-top, sure, but it’s not nothing, either. The other juicy addition is the 7.0-inch TFT infotainment screen, which should be of great use to everyone.
|Note: 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan pictured here.|
Under the hood, the Corolla Trek features two engine options, both of which are of the hybrid persuasion.
The smaller powertrain includes a 1.8-liter engine whereas the bigger powertrain comes with a 2.0-liter engine. Toyota didn’t divulge power and performance numbers, but we can at least assume that with the 1.8-liter engine setup is the same as the Hybrid Synergy Drive system that’s powering the current-generation Prius. If that’s the case, a pair of electric motors serve as the tag-team partners of an Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter inline-four engine and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Output could sit at 121 horsepower, just like the Prius. For now, performance times are out of the question, though, with the Corolla hybrid, you can choose among a number of driving modes — Normal, Eco, and Sport — that result in different responses from the powertrain. Like most hybrids, the Corolla Trek’s biggest selling point is its fuel economy. Again, Toyota didn’t release EPA estimates, but we do know that the hybrid sedan version of the nameplate returns 52 mpg combined, making it one of the most fuel-efficient cars on sale today. The Corolla Trek likely has a lower fuel return, but it should sit close to what the hybrid sedan offers.
If at this point you think that the Toyota Corolla Trek is worth buying, then you’re in luck. Toyota is actually rolling out the model for production. No showpiece here, folks. Sales will start in August 2019, though it is unclear if the U.S. market is on the hook for shipments.
There, folks, lies the rub. Here’s the caveat with the Corolla Trek: Toyota doesn’t sell the Corolla Touring Sports in the U.S., just the five-door hatchback. That’s a problem because the Corolla Trek is based on the Corolla Touring Sports. If it does hit the U.S. market, Toyota would have to introduce the Touring Sports wagon here, which is unlikely because wagons aren’t exactly hot sellers in this market these days. The other option is to adapt the Trek to the five-door hatchback. That could work, but there will be questions on how effective it will be given the smaller profile.
I don’t know where Toyota’s head is at as far as the thought of seeing the Corolla Trek in the U.S. market. What I do know is that this variant, if it does come here, would probably do well in the sales department, at least judging by how the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack has been received.
Ultimately, the ball’s in Toyota’s court. Let’s hope that if the Corolla Trek lives up to its billing, Toyota doesn’t shut the U.S. market out of it. Seems like it would do quite well in this crossover-obsessed market, even if it’s not really one in the traditional sense.
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Drivetrain Specs
|Engine||hybrid 1.8-liter four-cylinder|
|Horsepower||121 net np @ 5,200 rpm|
|Torque||105 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm|
|Drive Type||front-wheel drive|
|MPG (LE Hybrid)||53 city, 52 highway, 52 combined|
Read our full driven review on the 2020 Toyota Corolla.
Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
Read our full driven review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.