Toyota Corolla review
The world’s best-selling car is better than ever, offering efficiency, peerless reliability and an enjoyable drive
The Corolla is a return to form for Toyota in the family car segment, holding up well against its nearest rivals in every area that’s important. The British-built hatch offers great refinement, a pliant ride, fantastic build quality and handling that’s precise and controlled if not the last word in entertainment.
There’s very little to dislike – its hybrid powertrains offer a good combination of performance and economy, even if its CVT gearbox can feel a little ponderous. The on-board entertainment system lags a little behind the best rivals, but Corolla buyers typically put greater store in more practical attributes like affordability and Toyota’s peerless reliability record.
About the Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla has been around in its various generations since 1966, and although it was more recently replaced by the Auris here in the UK, that unbroken production run has helped make it the world’s best-selling car.
But you don’t get a sales smash just by turning up, and the Corolla’s global success is a testament to Toyota’s ability to pinpoint the needs of generations of drivers and deliver the right product to meet them.
The Toyota Corolla that’s on sale here today is a case in point, having been designed primarily for the European market and built - like its predecessor the Auris hybrid - at Toyota’s UK plant near Derby.
Car group tests
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The latest Corolla is a hybrid too, and shares much of its technology with Toyota’s larger Prius and the C-HR SUV. Indeed it’s built on the same platform as its stablemates, so you get the same 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre hybrid engine choices, and a standard CVT automatic gearbox. Unlike the Prius there’s no Corolla plug-in hybrid option, but the Corolla does benefit from the same light and rigid platform that contributes to the pleasing driving characteristics.
You can choose a Corolla in a trio of body styles, namely the five-door hatch, the four-door saloon or the Touring Sports estate model.
The hatch comes in one of five trim levels – Icon, Icon Tech, Design, the recently added GR Sport and Excel. The saloon is available with Icon, Icon Tech and Design trim, while the estate comes in Icon, Icon Tech, Design, Trek, GR Sport and Excel versions.
There’s no doubt the Corolla faces a tough battle in a very competitive market segment, but then again it always has. Family-favourite hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Skoda Octavia are tough acts to follow, while excellent hybrid offerings like the Kia Niro, Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota’s own Prius all offer a great blend of practicality, comfort and economy.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe world’s best-selling car is better than ever, offering efficiency, peerless reliability and an enjoyable drive
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Toyota Corolla has an impressive chassis, but hybrid powertrain isn’t the most exciting
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Corolla offers better fuel economy and emissions than many rivals thanks to its clever hybrid tech
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Corolla looks the part and is well made, although infotainment falls behind the best
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith hatch, saloon and estate models on offer, the Toyota Corolla offers plenty of practical options
- 6Reliability and SafetyCorolla build quality is excellent, while customers are impressed with top safety levels