Toyota Corolla - more rewarding driving experience

Toyota Corolla - more rewarding driving experience

14.02.2019: New TNGA GA-C platform brings handling agility, responsiveness and a comfortable ride MacPherson strut front suspension and all-new multilink rear suspension system Adaptive Variable Sus

 New TNGA GA-C platform brings handling agility, responsiveness and a comfortable ride

    MacPherson strut front suspension and all-new multilink rear suspension system

    Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) available on Hatchback and Touring Sports variants

    Drive Mode Select system with ECO, COMFORT, NORMAL, SPORT S, SPORT S+ or CUSTOM modes

    Improved NVH compliments the exceptional quietness of Toyota’s self-charging hybrid technology

The TNGA GA-C platformbrings considerable dynamic benefits to the new Corolla model range, as well as marked improvements to driver ergonomics and visibility.

The GA-C platform guarantees a more rewarding driving experience thanks to a centre of gravity that is lowered by 10 mm, a multi-link rear suspension fitted as standard across the model range, and a 60% more rigid body shell through the use of high strength steel as reinforcement in key areas.

All contribute to better handling and stability without compromising ride and comfort, as well as reducing high frequency vibration for an increased feeling of quality.

Highly Rigid, Lightweight Bodyshell

Aluminium, high tensile strength steel and hot stamped materials have been extensively used, and the panel thickness of the doors and roof panel reduced. This has effected a considerable weight reduction for the body in white and, hence, helps improve overall fuel efficiency.

At the same time, the addition of adhesives throughout the new bodyshell, an increase in the use of spot welding, and the use of fully closed cross-sections and structural rings combine to increase body rigidity by some 60% over the outgoing models, promoting a marked increase in handling agility, responsiveness to steering inputs and high speed stability.

Handling and agility are further improved by the lower mounting height of the engine, the lower hip point of the seats and the location of the hybrid battery beneath the rear seats. In combination, these measures have lowered the new Corolla’s centre of gravity by some 10 mm.


The new Corolla range features a proven MacPherson strut front suspension system, an all-new multi-link rear suspension arrangement, new shock absorber valve technology and, for the first time, the availability of Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) on Hatchback and Touring Sports variants.

The front suspension geometry has been revised, with newly developed shock absorbers, and coil spring characteristics optimised for a linear steering response during mid- to high-speed cornering.

The bound stopper characteristics, bound stopper clearance and stabiliser location have also been optimised to enhance steering feel. And the strut bearing rotation axis has been realigned from the shock absorber to the king pin axis (steering axis), reducing steering force differences between left and right sides and further improving steering feel.

The suspension arm and bush structures have been changed and the friction of sliding parts reduced to achieve quicker shock absorber response and minimise the transmission of shocks from rough surfaces and achieve high quality ride comfort.

The newly developed multi-link rear suspension features compact packaging and exclusively designed coil springs, which offer both handling stability and ride comfort.

And link arm location has been optimised to keep the tyres at a toe-in angle both during cornering and under braking, enhancing the vehicle’s response to steering inputs and stability under braking.

Both front and rear suspension systems benefit from a 40% reduction in friction for a smoother, more comfortable ride.

The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system controls shock absorber damping on all four wheels, enhancing both ride comfort and -through improved steering response and a flatter ride- driving performance. Damping force is automatically and continuously controlled through 650 steps by a linear solenoid actuator, which operates four times faster than a conventional step motor.

AVS cooperates with the Drive Mode Select system to control damping force in accordance with the selection of ECO, NORMAL, SPORT S, SPORT S+ or CUSTOM modes, offering drivers the appropriate balance of ride comfort and handling agility.


A further benefit of the GA-C platform is its suitability for the design of a highly aerodynamic body shape through such measures as the overall reduction in vehicle height and the significant lowering of the bonnet height.

A full underfloor cover has been adopted, and aero stabilising fins have been installed on both the rear bumper seal and the outer lens of the rear lamp clusters to help improve handing stability.

Improved Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)

Building on the inherent quietness of Toyota’s self-charging hybrid technology, the new Corolla benefits from numerous measures to minimise both the noise and vibration entering the cabin. The engine installation has been carefully designed to minimise vibration during start up and at idling speeds. Engine speed increase at the start of acceleration has also been suppressed, not only to achieve a more linear match of engine and vehicle speeds, but also to enhance quietness during acceleration.

The GA-C platform itself contributes to the suppression of transmission vibration. The steering wheel pad functions as a dynamic damper to suppress steering vibration, and even the tool box functions as a dynamic damper to reduce rear floor panel vibration.

The generous application of sound absorbing and insulating material in the engine bay combines with a triple-layered dashboard inner silencer to minimise the penetration of engine and transmission noise into the cabin.

An integral floor silencer has also been adopted, increased body sealer has been applied to gaps between panels, and foam material has been installed within the body frame in numerous locations to reduce the penetration of wind and road noise into the cabin.


What was TME R&D’s involvement in the development of the car?

Platform testing for this new generation Corolla was carried out in Europe, in different stages, since 2012. In the case of the Hatchback and Touring Sports, the vehicles were developed with Europe as primary market.

Here at TME R&D we set the initial vehicle direction and targets from the start. After that, we worked on European specific areas such as vehicle dynamics, drivability, noise & vibration and sensory quality. And, in case of the Touring Sports, vehicle concept, styling and all components behind the B-pillar were 100% developed in Europe.

What did you want to achieve with the new Corolla, and how did you go about making it different from previous generations of the model?

One fundamental difference is that we worked with the GA-C platform. This has been developed to meet European standards -the highest in the world- in areas such as ride and handling, and noise & vibration.

Throughout the project, we aimed at developing an emotionally engaging car. This was realised by the introduction of the brand new 2.0L hybrid powertrain, the highest sensory quality standards, and enormous efforts to ensure styling finesse.

Which were the main areas you wanted to improve with the development of the new Corolla?

In a word: ‘Coherence’, based on the introduction of a dual Hybrid offer. We developed the car around that, with optimal driveability, a fine balance of ride and handling, the lowest possible noise and vibration, supportive seats, and premium audio.

We made every effort to provide a confident and enjoyable driving experience for both the daily commute and also when travelling long distances.

This really is an ‘all-new’ car, what kind of challenges did that present?

We had many technical challenges, such as how to ensure body rigidity for the Touring Sports. But as this could be managed within TME, it was probably not the biggest hurdle we faced. I would say that the biggest challenge was to develop new Corolla with 2 teams -Japan and Europe - working in parallel; even if today communication tools have evolved a lot, in the end, project progress and success lies in the hands of people.

With Chief Engineers on both sides who have had years of experience in Europe, communication, understanding and alignment have been key to overcome even the biggest challenges.

What makes the new Corolla a true European car?

As mentioned earlier, the vehicle direction and targets were set here in Europe. And we worked on many areas including ride and handling.

Sensory quality was also developed by our team, now recognized as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in that field and currently working on many global projects.

The wagon was fully developed in Europe and is only sold here. And the hatchback was developed specifically to meet the stringent demands of Europe’s largest segment.

On the powertrain side, we are the only carmaker in Europe offering 2 petrol-electrified powertrains, which is what the European customer is asking for right now.

At no point in the project did we had to accept a ‘compromise’ decision to meet the demands of other regions. Rather, new Corolla is a car developed to be a strong competitor on the European market, and which is sold globally.

Which changes did you make to the interior?

With the GA-C platform, the base of the front windscreen was lowered by 40 mm, the overall height of the dashboard was reduced to provide a more elegant, lighter shape than before, while at the same time improving visibility. The seats are lowered by 25 mm to maintain the same head clearance as before.

On the materials and finishes side, we mapped the interior to ensure a consistent approach in all applications and, from the first 3D model, shapes were optimised in detail to ensure their visual credibility; for example, metal inserts look and feel like metal.

Which countermeasures did you take to improve the Corolla’s NVH performance?

Overall cockpit sealing performance has been improved by a much more effective dash silencer with a far smaller exposed area, there’s new door sealing, wheelhouse silencers at the rear, front acoustic glass, etc...

What is your favourite ‘feature’ of the new Corolla?

Maybe it is not really a ‘feature’ as such, but for me the driving position -seat/dash/steering/console- is what makes the first important difference. From the moment you sit down, you want to take off and drive it; it engages you and provides confidence from the start.

Vincent Dewaersegger, photo Toyota


14.02.2019 / MaP

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