Review: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019)
Silky smooth ride quality. High level of standard equipment. Practical and comfortable cabin. Hybrid versions are a genuine alternative to diesel.
Can't match the Ford Focus for driver fun. No diesels engines. Dull interior design.
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Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 103% of the official MPG figure
The Corolla Touring Sports is Toyota at its very best. All versions are smooth to drive, refined and comfortable over a long journey. It won't set many pulses racing when it comes to driver engagement, but if you choose one of the efficient hybrid versions then you'll probably never buy a diesel estate car ever again.
A key rival to the estate versions of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, the Corolla Touring Sports is one of the few family cars to be sold completely diesel-free. This means Corolla buyers get the choice of a 1.2 petrol engine or two petrol hybrids.
The 1.8 hybrid provides the best balance when it comes to refinement and running costs, with advertised fuel economy peaking at 63mpg. It's also supremely comfortable, with its supple suspension and sophisticated hybrid system allowing the Corolla to waft along at uban speeds in a soft and satisfying silence.
While the Corolla is relaxing to drive, it doesn't provide much in the way of engagement. The CVT gearbox will cause the petrol engine to groan like a bear with a sore head when pushed along, and the light steering provides very little feedback. That said, the chassis has plenty of grip and the suspension does a good job of keeping the body flat in the corners. Just don't expect any fireworks in the handling department.
Most versions get firm but supportive cloth seats, with heating and electric lumbar adjustment in the front. Standard equipment levels are very high across the Corolla line-up, with mid-spec models getting touchscreen navigation, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. This means you won't have to spend any money on expensive options.
On the downside, the cabin lacks flair, with swathes of dark and grey materials. However, for the most part, the interior makes up for its lack of sparkle with a premium finish that includes lots of soft-touch materials. You also get up to 598-litres of bootspace with the rear seats in place., which is better than the Focus estate (575 litres) but less than the 605 litres you get in the largest version of the Golf.
We rate the Corolla Touring Sports as one of the very best family estate cars. It's well-made, silky smooth to drive and the hybrids return diesel-like economy. It's also worth noting that few of the Corolla's hybrid rivals can match it on price or spec, which means this is truly a car that sits in a class of its own.
What does a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) cost?
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019): What's It Like Inside?
All versions of the Corolla Touring Sports are well-equipped as standard. And even base models get luxuries like LED headlights, alloy wheels, heated seats and an electronic parking brake as standard. However, most buyers will opt for the mid-spec Icon Tech trim, which adds touchscreen navigation and Toyota's semi-autonomous Park Assist to the package.
While equipment levels are generous, some of the tech is lacking in quality. The eight-inch touchscreen is slow and has a confusing menu system that makes it occasionally awkward to operate its most basic functions. The navigation maps are also displayed in blocky graphics that are difficult to follow when on the move.
The cloth seats are comfortable and top spec versions get part leather trim that adds that extra touch of luxury. There is also lots of head and legroom in the front and rear, which means the Corolla will transport four large adults without too many complaints.
As with all Toyotas, the cabin feels solid and well made. There are no creaks and rattles from any of the trims and you have to look quite hard to find any cheap or scratchy plastics. However, while the cabin feels like it will last the life of the car, we cannot help but be disappointed with the lack of imagination when it comes to the design. Many car manufacturers are introducing mood lighting and colour to their interiors, while the Corolla sadly makes do with a sea of grey and black materials.
If you can live with the minicab colour scheme of the interior then you won't be disappointed with the refinement. Both road and wind noise is well suppressed, while the soft suspension does an excellent job of control lateral and longitudinal forces. Even when tackling a series of twisty bends in the road, the Corolla retains a controlled and flat feel, which is impressive when you consider the 1500kg kerb weight of the hybrid models.
The level of boot space you get with the Corolla Touring Sports will depend on the model you choose. The 1.2 petrol and 1.8 hybrid provides 598 litres, while the 2.0 hybrid gets 581 litres due to the use of a larger battery pack. Both the Golf and Octavia estate provide more space, with a respective 605 and 610 litres.
Specifications (from September 2019)
Icon is the entry-level trim and gets 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED brakelights, electric and heated door mirrors, heated front seats, reach and rake adjustable steering wheel, electronic lumbar adjustment for front seats, driver's seat height adjustment, automatic headlights, electronic parking brake, reversing camera, eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, DAB audio, automatic dual-zone air conditioning and Toyota Safety Sense with: pre-collision system, automatic high beam, lane departure alert, lane trace assist, sway warning and road sign assist.
Icon Tech adds seven-inch TFT instrument display, Toyota Park Assist, front and rear parking sensors and touchscreen navigation.
Design trim gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED front fog lights, auto dimming rear view mirror, rain sensing windscreen wipers, dark tint rear privacy glass and black side sills.
Excel adds bi-LED headlights, part leather seats and electronically retractable door mirrors.
Child seats that fit a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) like to drive?
Despite its flashy name, the Corolla Touring Sports is neither sporty nor a grand tourer. Far from it, this medium size Toyota is a family estate. And a damn good one too.
The 120PS 1.8 hybrid is the most efficient and rounded powertrain in the Corolla Touring Sports line-up, with advertised WLTP figures of 55– 63mpg. The 0-62mph dash might take 11 seconds, but the 1.8 hybrid is easy to drive and silky smooth with its battery pack powering the car at low speeds. Things can get a little noisy when you accelerate hard and the petrol engine kicks in, but if you are gentle on the throttle the Corolla will quietly go about its business in town and on the motorway.
The suspension is among the best of any family car in this class, with the soft set-up flattening out potholes and rough road surfaces. It also has a tendency to keep the chassis flat in the corners, which means body roll is kept in check on all but the tightest of turns.
The 180PS 2.0 hybrid injects some performance and lowers the 0-62mph to eight seconds. It also uses nickel-metal hydride battery cells - compared to lithium-ion in the 120PS hybrid - that gives the car a lower centre of gravity and improved energy regeneration. Advertised economy for the 180PS hybrid is 50-53mpg.
Neither of the hybrid versions are as crisp as a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf to drive, with the heavy battery packs and overpowered steering numbing the handling. That said, there's plenty of grip and all versions of the Corolla are safe and predictable to drive, even in poor weather conditions.
For short-distance drivers, Toyota offers its tried and tested 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol. This unit develops 115PS and is the only powertrain to get a manual gearbox. On paper it's the least efficient engine in the range, with official figures claiming up to 44mpg. It's also the only engine that will tow 1300kg, with the hybrids limited to 750kg.
The Corolla is packed with useful driver tech. All versions get Toyota's Safety Sense pack as standard, which includes lane guidance, high beam assist and a speed sign recognition system that displays local speed limits. Automatic headlights, heated front seats and a reversing camera are also standard across the range.
|1.2||44 mpg||10.2 s||128–132 g/km|
|1.8 Hybrid||63 mpg||11.1 s||76–83 g/km|
|2.0 Hybrid||53 mpg||8.1 s||89 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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