The Corolla has been many things to many people over the years – today James puts it to the test as a gig-economy workhorse
Today I put on one of my many hats worn around the CarAdvice/Drive office, and become your small business consultant.
With changes to the way we buy and consume, and in the manner we expect or even demand instant gratification and supply of our goods, it’s no surprise that the gig-economy is one area we can see changing daily.
When Uber first launched in Australia, it was a premium service that utilised the ‘black’ hire car fleet to provide a high-end user-bookable transport platform. And while the offering now may be broader, the service is a bit less deluxe.
Sure, you can get a ride, a rental, some food or even a package, but you’ll probably never see a Caprice answering the call, instead, something far more economical will likely be your wheel-ticket. Something like our long term 2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid sedan.
So for this update, I look at what the little ‘Rolla is like in terms of extended urban seat time. Comfort, economy and general usability will all play a part, to see how the world’s best-selling nameplate may work as the hardest worker in your small business.
2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan
Four-cylinder petrol with hybrid drive (twin-electric motors and 1.3kWh battery)
To recap, our Toyota tips the pricing scales at $27,395 before options and on-road costs. We’ve added the $1000 technology package (satellite navigation and digital radio) and the $500 Volcanic Red Metallic paint.
This brings the total to $28,895 before on-roads, or for our Melbourne office location, $32,940 drive-away. Cash flow is key for any small business though, so it may make sense for you to look at finance options.
Using the simple calculator on the Toyota Australia website, you can get moving in this car with a $2500 deposit, a $445 per month instalment ($103 per week) over four years, and a $12,698 final balloon payment.
A quick scan of the classifieds has a four-year-old Corolla at a higher value than that, which means in this example, you could sell the car, pay out the finance, and still have some left for a deposit on your next set of wheels.
Note though, I’ve said I’ll be your small business consultant and not your financial advisor, so take this only as information and don’t do anything without speaking to your accountant first.
Numbers squared away, what is the little sedan like as a platform for your rideshare or delivery business?
2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan
195/65 R15 Bridgestone
To find out, I officially became a gig economy worker, for my family.
That meant picking up and bringing home takeaway, shuffling my pre-teen daughter, her friends and their TikTok skills to and from after-school and social activities, as well as regular communing and household errands. I even took on some delivery tasks for selling goods on Marketplace, just to really go full-method on this write-up. You’re welcome.
I tried to group things together as much as I could, so as to spend the maximum amount of time in the driver’s seat, and I kept an eye on my fuel consumption and energy use throughout.
Due to my geographic location, the majority of driving was done around Melbourne’s inner-east and inner-bayside suburbs, with the occasional detour taken through the city, because, why not.
Needless to say, if I could dish out negative ratings to grumpy family members I would, but as a whole, the little Corolla handled the job pretty darn well!
Almost too well in one instance, as when picking up dinner in South Yarra, the store staffer saw the Corolla and automatically went to hand me an Uber Eats order. Typecast much?
As, to be fair, the sedan seems to be a more popular choice for this role.
To start, while it may arguably look a little ‘dorkier’ than the Corolla hatch, the sedan offers a boot with more than twice the volume of the five-door ‘Rolla (470-litres v 217-litres). There’s more rear passenger room too, as the wheelbase is 60mm longer.
In fact, the car as a whole is 255mm longer than the hatch, but since we’re talking about you driving rather than parking for a living, there’s no real downside here.
And driving is really the key here.
The Corolla’s 72kW/142Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 53kW/163Nm electric motor does a pretty solid job of shuffling the Corolla about town. More importantly, they do a very efficient job of the task with our real-world 4.2L/100km urban result still impressive despite being 23 per cent higher than the claim of just 3.4L/100km.
And to be truthful, during some sustained seat time around the city, the car would regularly sit in the mid-high 3L/100km, as it was only more ‘urgent’ driving, and running the heater on some cooler mornings, that tended to push the consumption up.
Strangely though, there were a few times when you could hear the engine running but the car’s efficiency display didn’t show this to be the case.
Plus, taking a contradictory stance to pretty much every other car, the Corolla Hybrid uses MORE fuel at sustained higher speeds than it does around town, as the hybrid setup needs to rely on the petrol engine more than the battery.
It’s not much higher, 3.6L/100km highway claim against 3.4L/100km urban, but even a short run on the freeway can tip you from the 3’s to the 4’s in terms of overall consumption. Whatever the case, it is real-world low, real-world achievable and effortless to deal with.
It’s effortless to drive too.
2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan
Volcanic Red Metallic
Options as tested
ANCAP safety rating
Five-star ( tested 2018)
Five years / unlimited km (for private use) 160,000km (for commercial use)
The steering is light, the ride is compliant enough for the usual urban obstacles of speed humps, rail crossings and cobblestones, and importantly, the 10.8m turning circle makes it nimble enough for a swift u-turn.
Even the automatic transmission works well, offering a quick change from drive to reverse and swift take up in either direction.
I don’t want to go out and call it a golf-buggy… but it’s a bit of a golf buggy. Go. Stop. Left. Right. Everything is very easy,
In terms of passengers, the back seat is quite firm, but its roomy enough back there and considering I didn’t get any real complaints from my daughter, or my dog, I’ll take that as a pass too.
Up front, the cloth seats are comfortable and supportive for running about town, but for longer stints behind the wheel, they could really use some lumbar support. Make sure you grab a little pillow on hand if you plan on logging big hours in your Corolla.
Toyota’s 8.0-inch touch screen works well enough, providing you don’t use it often or just opt for device projection by way of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The menus can be cumbersome to navigate, but once you have a phone paired, and your radio station set, you don’t need to fiddle with it too much.
However, I found that Apple CarPlay was so effective, that I’d even suggest you could avoid the $1000 tech pack, as the native Toyota navigation interface is pretty clumsy to use, and I only use digital radio to listen to Triple-M ‘90s, which is essentially my old Triple-J CD collection on shuffle, and Apple Music manages that too.
The only real benefit is not getting the AM-radio static when listening to talkback (and myself) on 3AW.
I will note that the placement of the USB port on the passenger side of the console is pretty naff, but if this was your car you would plug something in on day one, then never think of it again.
Back in the 1970s, there was a computing industry catchcry that ‘nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’. Meaning that the product was so reliable and the knowledge base so expansive, that a default purchase of IBM was never a bad decision, even if it wasn’t the best decision.
It is a mindset that aligns perfectly to our story of your small business in today’s gig economy and that if you opt for a Corolla Hybrid, you’re already starting from a good place.
The level of comfort, equipment, space and affordability is hard to beat, especially as a set.
No, it might not be the most exciting or coolest thing getting around, but I’m hard-pressed to find anything it legitimately does wrong, even if there are things it can do better.
So in terms of a low-risk set of wheels, that might just become the hardest-working member of your small business, I doubt anyone will be fired for buying a Corolla.
Income supports encourage people to not work? Duh, June 4
In an era of self-regulation, it is presumed that all employers will follow all protocols to ensure the safety of their staff during COVID-19, but perhaps this is not the case, and some employees might prefer to stay at home, instead of facing an unprotected workplace.
Who could blame them?
As far as the Universal Basic Income, in the Ontario trial, is concerned, weren’t most of the participants already working at two jobs in the gig economy and these did not generate enough income to provide stable support to them?
New regulations requiring online platforms to provide food delivery riders with personal protective equipment and induction training have been announced by NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson.
A new penalty system for riders will also be introduced as part of the reforms “to crackdown on repeated unsafe practices”.
The NSW Government intends to finalise the regulations by November 2021. Public consultations on the proposed laws are expected in September 2021.
The reforms follow a safety blitz conducted by SafeWork NSW, which found 9 out of 10 food delivery riders were not wearing safe, high-visibility clothing. Forty percent of the riders observed were also riding in an unsafe manner.
The measures reflect the recommendations of the final report of the Joint Taskforce into Food Delivery Rider Safety (the Taskforce), which was released on 5 June 2021. The Taskforce was setup in November 2020 to investigate the deaths of 4 food delivery riders in 2020, and to identify safety improvements for the industry.
Other recommendations in the Taskforce’s final report include:
further compliance monitoring of the food delivery sector by SafeWork NSW
ongoing enforcement activities by NSW Police to ensure food delivery riders comply with road rules
finalisation of the Guide to Managing WHS in the Food Delivery Industry, as well as the development of supporting factsheets in multiple languages
the provision of reported incident data to food delivery platforms to assist continual improvement of compliance within the industry, and
development of guidance on delivery bag standards by Transport for NSW.
The business intelligence report of Gig Economy market accurately predicts the industry’s performance for the upcoming years to aid stakeholders in making beneficial decisions. Important data points like the growth catalysts, restraints, and lucrative prospects molding the market dynamics are deeply analyzed in the report.
Moreover, the study identifies the major challenges for businesses and offers insights into the opportunities that will help the industry progress in unexplored territories. Moreover, the report factors in the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic for stronger realization of the growth trajectory of this domain.
Key highlights from the COVID-19 impact analysis:
An overview of the pandemic’s effect on the global economy
Supply and demand changes in the industry
Current and future market trends in relation to the pandemic
As per the report, the geographical landscape of the Gig Economy market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, Middle East & Africa, South East Asia.
An overview of the growth patterns of each regional industry over the stipulated timeframe is cited.
Sales, revenue, and growth rate of each regional contributor is included in the report.
Other highlights from the Gig Economy market report:
The product segment of the Gig Economy market is classified into Asset-Sharing Services,Transportation-Based Services,Professional Services,Household & Miscellaneous Services (HGHM) andOthers.
The revenue and sales volume predictions of each product type is incorporated in the document.
Other important aspects like growth rate, market share, and production patterns of each product type over the analysis period are provided.
The application segment of the Gig Economy market is divided into Traffic,Electronic,Accommodation,Food and Beverage,Tourism,Education andOthers.
Market share and growth rate of each application segment over the assessment timeframe are enumerated as well.
The competitive landscape of the Gig Economy market is defined by key players such as Prosper,Lime,Etsy,BlaBlaCar,VaShare,Envato Studio,Fon,BHU Technology,Didi Global,Snap,Freelancer.com,Zipcar,Uber,Toptal,Stashbee,Eatwith,Lyft,Couchsurfing,PeoplePerHour,Spotahome,Care.como,E-stronger,Silvernest,Upwork,Fiverr,Steam,Hubble,Home Away,Omni,Airbnb,JustPark andAirtasker.
The report also consists of information regarding the industry share held by every company, along with their pricing models and gross margins.
The report evaluates the competition trends and their business implications.
Industry value chain analysis with respect to top manufacturers, vendors, and buyers are incorporated in the document.
The Gig Economy market report also provides Porter’s five forces analysis and SWOT assessment to determine the feasibility of new project.
Reasons to access this Report:
Get to know opportunities and plan strategies by having a strong understanding of the investment opportunities in the Gig Economy Market
Identification of key parameter driving investment opportunities in the Gig Economy Market
Facilitate decision-making based on strong historic and forecast data
Position yourself to gain the maximum advantage of the industry’s growth potential
Develop strategies based on the latest reports.
Identify key partners and business development avenues
Respond to your competitors’ business structure, strategy and prospects
Identify key strengths and weaknesses of important market participants
The key questions answered in this report:
What will be the market size and growth rate in the forecast year?
What are the key factors driving the Global Gig Economy Market?
What are the risks and challenges in front of the market?
Who are the key vendors in the Global Gig Economy Market?
What are the trending factors influencing the market shares?
What are the key outcomes of Porter’s five forces model?
Which are the global opportunities for expanding the Global Gig Economy Market?
Table of Contents for market shares by application, research objectives, market sections by type and forecast years considered:
Gig Economy Market Share by Key Players: Here, capital, revenue, and price analysis by the business are included along with other sections such as development plans, areas served, products offered by key players, alliance and acquisition and headquarters distribution.
Global Growth Trends: Industry trends, the growth rate of major producers, and production analysis are the segments included in this chapter.
Market Size by Application: This segment includes Gig Economy market consumption analysis by application.
Gig Economy market Size by Type: It includes analysis of value, product utility, market percentage, and production market share by type.
Profiles of Manufacturers: Here, commanding players of the global Gig Economy market are studied based on sales area, key products, gross margin, revenue, price, and production.
Gig Economy Market Value Chain and Sales Channel Analysis: It includes customer, distributor, market value chain, and sales channel analysis.
Market Forecast: This section is focused on production and production value forecast, key producers forecast by type, application, and regions