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Toyota Corolla (2019–)

Last updated 24 June 2019

TNGA platform makes it far better to drive than the Auris. Hybrid models are very efficient. Interior feels upmarket. Plenty of equipment as standard.
Not as practical as rivals. No diesel option.
Updated 13 May 3019

Toypta 5 year warranties can now be extended to 7 years for £495, including MoTs and Toyota Roadside Assistance.

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Introduction

How do you compete with cars like the ever-popular Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic? Toyota thought it had it sussed with the old Auris. The Auris played on Toyota’s excellent reliability record and offered something different in the form of a hybrid engine - but it was lacklustre to drive and the interior felt generations behind, even when the outgoing model was new in 2013.

In a segment that now includes the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq, more effort is required. Enter the return of the Corolla. Although a conventional petrol engine is available, the majority of buyers will opt for what Toyota controversially describes as a ‘self-charging’ hybrid.

Essentially, buyers can choose between 1.8- or 2.0-litre petrol engines, combined with an electric motor. Most of the time it runs under a combination of the two, aiding efficiency, but for short periods at low speeds, it'll run under electric power alone.

Taking the trick engine out of the equation for a moment, the Toyota Corolla is a likeable family hatch. Its interior is modern (to even compare it to the Auris would be unfair), with a large eight-inch touchscreen display sitting on top of the dash. It’s easy to operate and, if you prefer old-fashioned buttons, don’t fear - there are plenty of those too.

The front seats are very comfortable, with plenty of adjustment. Things aren’t quite so positive in the rear, when head and legroom is quite limited for adults. The space is fine for children, with a reasonable view out of the window - but this is a car that’s primary aimed at buyers who’ll only occasionally wish to use the rear seats.

The boot also falls short compared to rivals - especially in the hybrid models, with the batteries eating into boot space. It’s fine for a weekly shop, but you’d be better with a Honda Civic if space is important.

While enthusiastic drivers should buy a Ford Focus, the Toyota Corolla remains surprisingly composed on twisty roads, without too much in lean. The steering gives you lots of confidence, and around town it's light enough to make darting in and out of traffic a breeze.

Unfortunately, the Toyota Corolla isn’t a cheap option. It’s pricier than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf - which is traditionally seen as one of the more premium cars in the class (although it is showing its age compared to the Corolla). If you’re after a hybrid, the Hyundai Ioniq is cheaper.

Even the cheapest models are very well equipped, however, with the central touchscreen display, a reversing camera and heated front seats standard across the range. Toyota's Safety Sense features - including automatic high beam and lane deperature alert - are also standard on all trim levels.

In a time when more car buyers than ever are considering a hybrid, the Corolla is a car that can be legitimately recommended for reasons other than its eco-credentials. It's loaded with kit, has a comfortable interior and - surprisingly - is good to drive. Combine that with low running costs and Toyota's superb reliability record, and it could make for an excellent purchase.

Toyota Corolla 2019 Road Test

Owners' reviews

5
good cruiser
List Price from £21,305
Buy new from £19,731
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