Toyota Corolla review: New model impresses after promising 'no more boring cars'

Corolla is a brand that’s endured through motoring history – the first one leaped onto the market 12 generations ago in 1966.

And now it’s back as Toyota moves away from its Auris model.

After Toyota president Akio Toyoda famously declared “no more boring cars” last year, I was interested to see what the engineers had come up with.

The first thing to mention is how good looking this car is.

The front grill, shaping of the bonnet and alloys have the trappings of a nippy hot hatchback.

It borrows few of the last Corolla’s exterior design features and could probably have got away with an entirely different model name.

There are hatch, touring sports and saloon models available

But, say Toyota, the Corolla brand – the best-selling in motoring history – is strong enough to appeal to a new generation of drivers.

There are hatch, touring sports and saloon models available, starting at £21,300.

The hatchback and TS are available with either a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine producing 114bhp or a choice of two hybrids – a 1.8-litre with 120bhp or, for even more punch, a 2.0-litre that throws out 178bhp. The saloon is restricted to the 1.8 engine.

Engines range from a 1.2-litre petrol to a 2.0-litre hybrid


The petrol model comes with a six-speed manual gearbox while the hybrids use automatic CVT – a single-speed gear box that handles all speeds and revs.

Put all this together on the road and the results are pleasing.

The ride is smooth and quiet. The interior is pleasant and free of the dreary, grey plastic look seen in previous models. 

Corolla is the best-selling brand in motoring history

Faux leather dash panels and a low-riding cockpit make for a relaxing experience. 

The interior equipment is good as well – all but the most basic models come with a seven-inch touch screen console, a heads-up display, wireless phone charger and reversing cameras.

And, of course, this being Toyota, safety and reliability take centre stage, with features such as nighttime pedestrian and cyclist detectors, lane departure alarms and a huge number of airbags. 

The interior is well laid out and free of boring plastics

It comes with a touch-screen console as standard

I’m a particular fan of the two-tone exterior colour scheme available in the higher spec models.

And, of course, being a hybrid it’s economical too – the 1.8-litre engine can achieve nearly 66mpg, according to Toyota.  

Naturally, petrol heads will dislike a hybrid for being less responsive and harder to work, but for a reliable, day-to-day runaround, the new Corolla performs well.

The most economical engine can achieve 66mpg

The basic hatchback does well as a starter car for a young family.

For a bit more fun, you’ll want the touring sports model though.

The saloon exists mainly for the practical reason of extra space.

Particularly on safety features, this car outperforms its class against the likes of the VW Golf, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus.

The new models are on sale now

Toyota expects to shift large volumes too, with forecast sales of 213,000 in Europe this year and 217,000 in 2020.

The hatchback and touring sports mods are also going to be built in Britain – their engines in North Wales and then assembled in Derbyshire.

This is a solid, reliable family car and the worthy next generation of the Corolla brand.


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