Steve takes a look at the first new Corolla model to grace our shores in over a decade.
The Toyota Corolla, the world's most popular car. But with over a ten year absence on the UK market can the current model live up to its reputation?
The styling of the new Corolla fits in nicely with the rest of the Toyota lineup including the Prius and the outgoing Auris, with it low nose and raked windscreen and thin LED headghlights make the Corolla appear to have come from a sci-fi program. The rear is quite bulbous thanks to a large rear boot lip but complimented with a large rear spoiler and finished off with alloy wheels. Visibility is very good but much like most modern cars thick C pillars obstruct the drivers view but generally the cabin feels airy.
Sliding into the interior, you'll find the seats supportive, especially the drivers seat which has lumbar support as standard. In addition the Corolla has plenty of leg and head space for both front and rear passengers and the boot is a very good size 361 litres but is slightly smaller on the 2.0 litre. the main issue I found with boot was the large bumper lip which would make it more difficult to get bulky items such as pushchairs in the car. As you'd expect from a Toyota the fit and finish of the cabin is superb with soft touch plastics, chunky controls and overall good materials being used. Furthermore, the equipment level is excellent with climate air conditioning, parking sensors, rear camera, 7" infortainment screen with Apple carplay/Android Auto, digital radio which provides a quality sound from the speakers, as well as Bluetooth, satnav all as standard. the dials are also clear to read and nicely laid out.
On the road
Engaging drive on the CVT gearbox the Corolla pulls away in electric mode which is silent and effortless, when the 1.8 petrol engine kicks in it is very quiet and is supported by low wind noise but road noise is prevalent. The engine on this model is the entry level unit producing 120bhp and a 0-62 time of 10.9 seconds which isn't as powerful or quick as its Ford Focus 1.0 litre 125bhp ecoboost rival but more the suitable for most scenarios. if you do want something more spritely then there is also a 2.0 litre 177bhp hybrid version which will fit the bill. The steering on Corolla is both light and positive making it easy to control and supported by brakes which have a good feel. The suspension is quite soft ironing out most lumps and bumps. The handling is geared more for relaxed driving rather than for exuberant driving.
The Corolla offers the traditional Toyota quality and technology with nice styling, however performance and handling falls short of some of its rivals such as the Ford Focus. Where I feel the Corolla will excel is in the fleet sector as hire cars or company cars.