Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6

The Parkers VerdictShould I buy a Toyota Corolla?

The old Auris acknowledged the fact that some drivers wanted a hybrid but didn’t necessarily want to draw too much attention to it by buying a Prius. In a similar vein, the Corolla gives a nod to those who want a hybrid that looks like a conventional car and, crucially, drives like one too.

While this model hasn’t 100% cracked that brief, it’s close enough now to recommend it as a serious - if pricey - alternative to a diesel Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus.

What the hybrid Corolla has over those cars is its up-to-date powertrain. Diesels are well and good for long journeys or high-mileage drivers, but the majority of drivers don't drive cars this way. This is where a hybrid's efficiency comes into play - with brilliant fuel economy regardless of whether you're driving 5 miles or 500.

Hybrids also lack the complex emissions control systems that can be so troublesome on the very cleanest diesel models, and the Corolla looks set to be one of the most reliable cars money can be - its older brother, the Prius, has an almost unparalleled reputation in this regard.

If you want the quickest and most sporting Corolla, the GR Sport with the 2.0-litre engine will be your best bet. It's no performance hatchback, but the additional styling means it should appeal to those looking for sporty looks and low running costs - such as a SEAT Leon FR diesel or VW Golf GTD equivalent.

The Corolla loses out in a few key areas, namely space in the back, which isn't the greatest for families, and those driving manners lagging behind most of its rivals. The steering's a bit too light and the whirring hybrid powertrains don't give the greatest control or enjoyment - as a result, it's evident the Corolla would be more comfortable in town and city environments.

Would we still buy one based on the Corolla's strengths? If potential reliability and peace of mind is paramount. Otherwise, we'd recommend a conventional hatchback - or advise buyers to consider taking the plunge for full electrification in a car such as a Hyundai Kona Electric.

Further reading

> See how the Toyota Corolla fares in our best hatchbacks group test

> Best hybrid cars for 2020

> Best hybrid cars to lease

>> Our Parkers star ratings explained