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

Return to a traditional name for the radical Auris replacement

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

New price £24,185 - £31,430
Lease from new From £228 p/m View lease deals
Used price £11,625 - £25,080
Used monthly cost From £290 per month
Fuel Economy 39.4 - 62.8 mpg
Road tax cost £140 - £150
Insurance group 15 - 21 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Hybrid powertrains are super-efficient
  • Much improved 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 Murray Scullion on

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

In the mid-2000s, Toyota decided to drop the Corolla name in the UK and Europe and instead offered the Auris. Resurrecting this iconic nameplate could – and should – be seen as Toyota’s way of distancing this new car from its rather staid predecessor.

It’s certainly all change on the outside, with a bold and genuinely desirable design, while underneath the car’s mechanics have been redesigned to put a renewed focus on driver enjoyment. Put simply, the Corolla is no longer the reliable-but-boring choice – it’s a competitor for really sorted models such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Kia Ceed.

Choice of two hybrid powertrains

Unlike the overtly eco-focused Prius, the Corolla is intended as a car first and a green-conscious hybrid second. But it wouldn’t be Toyota without an eco-friendly hybrid powertrain under the hood. True to form, there are actually two on offer – one based around a 1.8-litre engine that’s lifted from the Prius, and a new, ‘high-performance’ 2.0-litre system that’s intended to be more exciting, powerful and driveable for those used to torquey diesel alternatives.

A 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine served as the entry point to the range when the Corolla was launched, but this was short-lived and taken off sale by 2020. It's just as well, since Toyota expects the lion’s share of sales to go to the hybrid models.

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.

Not the most spacious inside

The Corolla’s interior is a massive improvement over the old Auris’, 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, which until 2020 has been totally bereft of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – two features fast becoming essential in any modern vehicle.

The next is the space in the back, which is cramped – and the boot, while 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.

Newly fun to drive

The old Auris wasn’t really anything more than competent on the road, but the Corolla has a lot going for it. With its wheel-at-each-corner stance and super-stiff platform, it’s 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.

GR Sport added

An intriguing addition to the Corolla range is the GR Sport. It's available with either the 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre hybrid engines, and it adds some much needed flare in the Corolla range. Chief of the changes are a new front grille, 18-inch alloy wheels, plus, a GR Sport specific dual-tone paint scheme.

It's definitely not a Honda Civic Type R competitor, but it does add a welcome dose of warmness to the Corolla range.

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: