2019 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla is back. The worlds best selling car with sales approaching 50 million is now in its 12th generation. The Corolla competes in the highly competitive family hatchback market. This includes rivals such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, to name just a few. Toyota has looked to make the Corolla distinctive with a new stylish, high-quality interior and beautifully smooth and handsome body.
The Toyota Corolla began its life back in 1966, and by 1974 it had become the best-selling car in the world. In the UK, Toyota renamed the Corolla the Toyota Auris in 2006. The Auris was a very stale car and struggled to make its way into the heart of the public. The Auris did not sell very well, and after two generations in twelve years, Toyota decided to cease making the Auris in the UK in 2018. Toyota has now resurrected the Corolla badge and has created an all-new modern family car with no traces of the Auris. The new Corolla has been designed to blend modern looks and styling with driving enjoyment, while also focussing on being efficient and economical for the 21st-century family.
The new Toyota Corolla has been built from the ground up and is quite possibly the best-looking version to come off the production line. The Corolla uses the 'Toyota New Global Architecture' (TNGA) platform. Toyota focussed much of the development around the handling and styling of the Corolla. The new platform enables the powertrain to sit lower, therefore, creating a lower centre of gravity. This, in turn, helps to improve handling. The body structure is now some 60% stiffer than its predecessor. Along with independent rear suspension as standard across the range, this will increase the handling and performance of the new Corolla.
The Corolla hatchback is 40mm longer than the outgoing Auris it is replacing. This relates to a longer wheel-base and thus more space inside the cabin.
There are two other versions available, a saloon or an estate (Touring Sports). The biggest seller will be the hatchback, with the others just making minor sales. We will be focussing on the hatchback. Not only because it will be the mainstream model, but it will also be manufactured here in Britain, at the Toyota plant in Derbyshire.
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Petrol and Hybrid Power
Toyota has kept with the current trend and has not developed any diesel engines for the Corolla. There is the entry-level 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol producing 116hp and paired with a six-speed manual transmission. There are also two hybrid models available, 1.8-litre petrol and 2-litre petrol, both fitted with a self-charging electric motor. So there's no need to worry about running low on charge. It will do this automatically, using regenerated energy through braking.
The 1.8-litre engine produces 122hp while the 2-litre creates 180hp. Both engines come paired with Toyota's eCVT automatic gearbox as standard, with the 2-litre also has flappy paddles. Toyota believes that around 90% of all Corolla sales will be from the Hybrid models.
The performance of the hybrid engines is ok. It's not as good as some equivalent rivals, but still good enough, so you feel confident when overtaking. The eCVT transmission is nice and smooth. However, with the 1.8-litre engine, torque is lacking, meaning you have to be quite aggressive, especially at lower speeds. The 2-litre engine provides more than enough power for any journey and is one of the more comfortable rides in its class.
The Toyota Corolla isn't designed to be fun and exhilarating like a Ford Focus. The Corolla is a car to drive quietly and efficiently while enjoying the comfort and pleasure of your journey. It is ideal for town and city driving or taking a casual drive to the seaside. The Corolla is super efficient, and fuel economy could well be class-leading in real-world terms.
Interior Technology and Practicality
The Toyota Corolla is currently available in four trim levels Icon, Icon Tech, Design and Excel. All versions come with LED headlights, alloy wheels, reversing camera and the Toyota Safety Sense package. The entry-level Icon comes with a 4.2-inch colour TFT screen, set into the instrument cluster. A larger 7-inch screen is standard with all other models, as is sat-nav. The Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with an 8-inch touchscreen is standard on all Corolla's. One downside to the Toyota system is that there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring, something which in this day and age is a little disappointing.
Inside there is plenty of soft-touch plastics, moulded dash and modern trim pieces. This makes the Corolla a much plusher place to sit that previously with the Auris. It is nearly as good as some of the more expensive premium cars in its class.
Upfront there is plenty of space for driver and passenger. Both seats are fully adjustable, as is the steering wheel, which makes finding a comfortable driving position straightforward. An electric adjustable lumbar support also comes as standard across the range, great news for long-distance drivers.
The rear space though is a different story. There is limited room for anyone who is of average height. There is minimal legroom and actual feet space. The roofline is quite low, so the tops of passengers heads will graze against it.
In the boot, you get a decent 361-litres of space in either the 1.2 or 1.8 engined cars, which is more than the Ford Focus. If you choose the 2-litre engine, however, this drops to a measly 313 litres. This is due to the location of the battery to support the electric motor. For a family hatchback, it is feeble, and one could argue a bit of a design flaw.
Safety is an area where Toyota has excelled. Every Corolla comes with the Toyota Safety Sense package. This includes a pre-collision system, adaptive radar-controlled cruise control, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam assist. Some of these standard features would cost extra in rival models, so this is a big thumbs up for Toyota.
The Toyota Corolla scored the top 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests. It outscored almost all of the rivals in its class on individual evaluation.
The new Toyota Corolla, the best selling car ever, is back and will undoubtedly win its fair share of admirers. It is stylish, modern and comfortable and will please young and old alike with its fuel-friendly engines and quality interior.