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In-depth reviews

Toyota Corolla review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

With hatchback and estate models on offer, the Toyota Corolla offers plenty of practical options

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Practicality, comfort and boot space Rating

3.6 out of 5

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The Corolla saloon may have been axed in the UK, but the remaining hatchback and Touring Sports estate provide family car buyers with two very practical options. 

All round visibility in the hatchback and estate is good; with the large glasshouse and relatively high-set driver’s seat making for a good view out. However, boot space in the family hatchback isn’t quite as generous as you’ll find with the Corolla’s closest rivals including the latest Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra. The same goes for legroom and headroom in the rear of the Toyota, and in our opinion the cubby spaces could be better thought-out, too.

Size

The Corolla hatchback and estate are the same height and width – 1,460mm and 1,790mm respectively – but there are obviously variances in length: the hatch is 4,370mm long, while the Touring Sports estate measures 4,650mm from front to back. That’s virtually identical to the latest eighth-generation Vauxhall Astra which is 4,374mm long in hatchback form, though the Sports Tourer estate is ever so slightly shorter at 4,642mm long. 

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Compared to some newer rivals like the full-hybrid Honda Civic, or the latest Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, rear cabin space in the Corolla is noticeably tighter and as a result it doesn’t feel as spacious as it once did. The Corolla is also narrower across the cabin than the Civic or a Kia Ceed, so it’s a little cramped for three.

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Those looking for the last word in rear passenger space in this class will be better served by the Skoda Octavia, but the Corolla is still okay in this department and easily a match for the Peugeot 308.

There is at least generous head, leg and elbow room up front. You also get ISOFIX mounting points on the outer rear seats and decent access to the rear seats in both the hatch and estate, which should make fitting a child seat less of a hassle.    

Boot

The hatchback has a 361-litre boot when fitted with the 1.8-litre petrol engine, but this shrinks to 313 litres in the 2.0-litre version thanks to a larger battery fitted under the rear bench that’s needed for the hybrid system. That’s also the reason for the big lip when you fold the rear seats down. 

The Corolla hatch is easily bettered in terms of boot space by the latest Astra with its 422 litres of cargo space, or 1,354 litres with the rear seats down, or the all-new Honda Civic’s similarly outstanding 411-litre boot capacity (1,220 seat-down litres). The Skoda Octavia hatch is still one of the best in this class with its 590 litres, or an almost van-like 1,580 litres with the back seats down. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those looking for the most space available in the Corolla range are best served by the estate: its 581 litres or 598 litres (depending on engine) come in just shy of the Ford Focus Estate’s 608 litres. The load area itself is nice and square and boasts a low load lip – a practical choice for heavy luggage or pets.

Towing

Both the 1.8- and 2.0-litre models can tow 750kg of braked weight or 450kg unbraked.

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Which Is Best

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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