This doesn’t look much different to the old Corolla.
No, it doesn’t. Clearly Toyota – sitting on more than 50-million Corolla sales since 1966 – decided that evolution was better than revolution. Which, to be honest, has actually been the Corolla way since that way-off first model. Steady as she goes, and all that…
So what’s new?
The headlights and grille are new, as are the snazzy digital displays in the cabin, which look far classier — and are easier to use — than the old ones. There are some new safety systems too, including one that gives you a little more electric motor braking when you’re approaching a corner. The rest of the hybrid system has been given a good going over too, so there’s more power than before.
More power? I thought hybrids were all about economy and emissions?
They are, but Toyota has given the 1.8-litre hybrid engine (Ireland doesn’t get the 2.0-litre hybrid, unless you buy the Corolla Cross SUV) a better battery and a bigger electric motor. The upshot is you get 140hp now, whereas the old had 122hp, but you still get excellent economy and 102g/km CO2 emissions. Toyota claims 4.4-litres per 100km fuel economy, and that seems entirely do-able.
Is it a self-charging hybrid?
Shhh! People complain if you use that phrase… Technically it’s a parallel hybrid, but unlike the RAV4 and the new Prius, there won’t be a plug-in version.
Is it any good to drive?
Yeah, actually. Since the current Corolla was launched in 2019, it’s been at the front of the hatchback pack for how it drives, and that hasn’t changed. It’s not quite as much out-and-out fun as some rivals (Ford Focus, Mazda 3 especially) but it’s sharp and satisfying, and comfortable too.
Will it last?
It should do — the cabin feels better put together than some luxury cars, and it’ll be safe too as Toyota has upgraded things such as the forward-facing camera and radar which help you avoid bumping into things. That said, Irish buyers don’t get access to some optional safety toys, such as blind-spot monitoring or rear cross traffic alerts.
Is it expensive?
Everything is, but yes we now live in an age where a basic Corolla is €32,530. That gets you a hatchback model in Luna trim, which at least is quite well-equipped (both screens are standard, as is automatic transmission). You’d be better off buying the saloon or the Touring Sports estate though, as they have more space in the back seats and bigger boots — the hatchback is a bit tight for space.
Should I buy one?
50 million people can’t be wrong…
How much? Starts at €32,530. The Luna Sport one we drove was €36,000.
How fast? 0-100km/h in 9.1 secs.
How thirsty? Official figure is 4.4-litres/100km, realistic figure is 4.8-5.2-litres/100km.
What do you get? Basic Luna model gets radar cruise control, air conditioning, LED headlights (not the saloon though), 16-inch alloys, upgraded safety kit, ten-inch touchscreen, and 12.3-inch digital instrument. Our Luna Sport test car came with 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, and powered lumbar adjustment.
How big? 361-litre boot, which is pretty small but you can beat that by going for the saloon (which has a 471-litre boot) or the Touring Sports estate (which can hold 598-litres). The back seats in the hatchback are pretty tight for legroom, but again the estate and saloon both have more rear room.
Plus: Impressive updated hybrid system, high quality, sharp to drive.
Minus: Only one engine option, small back seats in the hatchback, not cheap.
Equals: The most sensible car you can buy? It might be, as long as you skip the too-small hatchback and go for the more useful saloon or estate.