3.6 out of 5 3.6
Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6

Stands for much more than sensible, reliable motoring these days

Toyota Corolla Hatchback (19 on) - rated 3.6 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £24,855 - £31,805
Used price £11,185 - £29,260
Used monthly cost From £279 per month
Fuel Economy 39.4 - 62.8 mpg
Road tax cost £145 - £155
Insurance group 14 - 21 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Hybrid powertrains are super-efficient
  • Subtly good driving dynamics
  • Generously equipped

CONS

  • Traditional name might be a hard sell to younger buyers
  • Touchscreen media system lags behind rivals
  • Not the most spacious

Toyota Corolla Hatchback rivals

Written by Shane O'Donoghue on

Is the Toyota Corolla Hatchback any good?

Once upon a time, the Corolla name stood for reliable-but-boring motoring, but that’s certainly not the case with the current model.

For starters, it has a bold and genuinely desirable design, while the car’s mechanicals have been developed to focus on driver enjoyment. It’s a competitor for really sorted models such as the Volkswagen GolfFord FocusVauxhall Astra and Kia Ceed.

Unlike those, the Corolla hatchback is limited to a choice of two hybrid powertrains, which won’t be to all tastes, as efficient as they are. Also, it’s not the most spacious car in the sector.

Nonetheless, the Toyota Corolla nameplate is one that’s been around for a very, very long time – it spans 11 generations dating all the way back to 1966. It also holds the best-selling title: there have been more Corollas sold than any other car.

What's it like inside?

The Corolla’s interior looks modern enough and feels well made, but there are still some nagging issues that prevent it from being class-leading. The first is the infotainment system. Toyota persists in fitting an aged, tricky-to-use system in its cars. Thankfully it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow owners to circumvent it, but not everyone will want to do that.

The next is the space in the back, which is cramped – and the boot, while moderately spacious, has quite a large lip to lug items over.

There’s still plenty to like in here though, with chunky controls that are easy to use, an adequate amount of storage cubbies and a general feeling of rock-solid build quality throughout.

Read more about the Toyota Corolla Hatchback interior

What's it like to drive?

With its wheel-at-each-corner stance and super-stiff platform, the Corolla is a dab hand in the corners – maybe not as entertaining as a Ford Focus or Mazda 3, but within reach of the Volkswagen Golf or Hyundai i30.

The fly in the ointment remains the hybrid powertrains, which aren’t as pleasant to drive enthusiastically as their purely combustion-engined rivals. This is due to their continuously variable transmissions, which have a tendency to send the engine revs soaring with little effect on road speed. 

Though there are no petrol or diesel engines in the Corolla, there are actually two hybrids on offer – one based around a 1.8-litre engine that’s lifted from the Prius, and a ‘high-performance’ 2.0-litre system that’s intended to be more exciting, powerful and driveable for those used to torquey diesel alternatives.

Toyota’s hybrid systems are based around a small battery that can’t be charged externally – the brand calls them ‘self-charging hybrids’ rather than plug-in hybrids. While this means that there’s little scope to drive the Corolla on electricity alone, it does have a few advantages. Owners can get the best from the engines without having to plug in overnight, which is ideal for those who aren’t able to charge a car at home.

The smaller size of the battery pack also impacts packaging less, and is cheaper to produce. The downside, of course, is that the Corolla can’t benefit from the super-cheap all-electric running of a plug-in alternative, that may be able to cover almost all of its mileage without ever resorting to the combustion engine.

Read more about how the Toyota Corolla Hatchback drives

What models and trims are available?

Toyota offers the Corolla hatchback in Icon, Icon Tech, Design and Excel trims, along with the distinctly sporty looking GR Sport level.

The latter adds some much-needed flare in the Corolla range. Chief of the changes are a new front grille, 18-inch alloy wheels and a GR Sport specific dual-tone paint scheme. It doesn’t alter how the car drives, however, so don’t expect a junior hot hatch.

Both 1.8- and 2.0-litre hybrid engines can be had with every trim level, so buyers have a lot of choice – so long as they are happy with a hybrid car and an automatic gearbox.

What else should I know?

Fancy a hybrid Corolla with a different body style? Toyota sells it as a four-door saloon as the Touring Sports estate, as well. The latter is also available as a slightly rugged looking Trek model.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Toyota Corolla including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback rivals

Other Toyota Corolla models: