The Corolla is a return to form for Toyota in the family car segment, which holds its own against its closest competitors in all key areas. The UK built hatch offers great sophistication, a smooth ride, fantastic build quality and precise and controlled handling, if not the last word on entertainment.
There’s very little to complain about – its hybrid powertrains offer a good combination of performance and economy, even if the CVT transmission feels a bit clumsy. The on-board entertainment system lags a bit behind its best rivals, but Corolla buyers tend to place more emphasis on more practical attributes like affordability and Toyota’s unmatched reliability record.
About the Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla has been around in its various generations since 1966 and although it was recently replaced by the Auris here in the UK, this non-stop production run has helped make it the best-selling car in the world.
But you won’t make a best seller if you just show up, and the Corolla’s worldwide success is testament to Toyota’s ability to accurately identify the needs of generations of drivers and deliver the right product to meet them.
The Toyota Corolla on sale here today is a typical example, developed mainly for the European market and – like its predecessor, the Auris Hybrid – built at Toyota’s UK plant near Derby.
Car group tests
The latest Corolla is also a hybrid and shares much of its technology with Toyota’s larger Prius and the C-HR SUV. In fact, it’s based on the same platform as its stablemates, so you get the same 1.8L and 2.0L hybrid engines and a standard CVT automatic transmission. Unlike the Prius, there is no Corolla plug-in hybrid option, but the Corolla benefits from the same lightweight and stiff platform that adds to its comfortable handling.
You can choose a Corolla in a trio of body styles, namely the five-door hatch, four-door sedan, or the Touring Sports station wagon.
The hatch is available in one of five trim levels – Icon, Icon Tech, Design, the recently added GR Sport, and Excel. The sedan is available with Icon, Icon Tech and Design equipment, while the station wagon is available in Icon, Icon Tech, Design, Trek, GR Sport and Excel versions.
There’s no doubt that the Corolla is facing an uphill battle in a highly competitive segment of the market, but then again, it has always done – and probably never before with one so well-rounded and desirable. Family favorite hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Skoda Octavia are hard to follow, while great hybrid offerings like the Kia Niro, Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota’s own Prius all offer a great blend of functionality, comfort and economy.
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