Toyota's terrific

Corolla trio

Toyota Corolla, 2019, line up, estate, hatch, saloon
Toyota Corolla hatch, 2019, front
Toyota Corolla hatch, 2019, side
Toyota Corolla hatch, 2019, rear
Toyota Corolla hatch, 2019, rear seats
Toyota Corolla hatch, 2019, boot
Toyota Corolla hatch, 2019, badge
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, 2019, front
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, 2019, side
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, 2019, rear
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, 2019, boot
Toyota Corolla saloon, 2019, front
Toyota Corolla saloon, 2019, side
Toyota Corolla saloon, 2019, rear
Toyota Corolla saloon, 2019, front, detail
Toyota Corolla saloon, 2019, rear seats
Toyota Corolla saloon, 2019, boot
Toyota Corolla, 2.0 litre engine
Toyota Corolla, 1.8 litre engine
Toyota Corolla, 2019, interior
Toyota Corolla, instrument panel
Toyota Corolla, display screen

WHAT'S in a name? For Toyota quite a lot apparently as it goes about reviving the Corolla moniker in Europe.

After all, it's the world's best-selling automotive nameplate so flipping back from Auris for its mid-size model seems to make sense.

So here comes the 12 generation Corolla - and like its predecessors it will be built in Britain.

Sitting on Toyota's new multi-purpose platform also used on the C-HR SUV and the latest Prius the new Corolla will be available as a hatch, estate and - for the first time since 2006 - a saloon.

That one will be built in Turkey and in the UK available only with a 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain.

Hatchback and estates - or Touring Sports as Toyota calls them - will be made at its factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, where some £240 million has been invested for the new models.

The Corolla line up will start from £21,300 for a 1.2-litre turbo hatch when it goes on sale in March with hybrids costing from £23,750.

Estates will cost £1,270 more and the hybrid-only saloon will come in from £23,750 making it no more than the hatch.

Although they share the same underpinnings, each model has its own take on size and design.

The hatch is 14ft 4ins long, the saloon some 10 inches longer and the estate is longer still at 15ft 3ins.

Wheelbases are also different at almost 8ft 8ins for the hatch and two inches more for the bigger models and that adds up to a lot of room in the rear, especially in the Touring Sports.

Luggage space varies too with the hatch having a 361 litre boot, the saloon 471 and the estate a generous 598 litres extending to more than 1,600 litres with a long and wide flat loadbed.

Compared to others such as the Focus, Astra and Golf that's above average and makes the Corolla a great multi-purpose vehicle.

All versions of the Corolla have LED headlights, heated front seats, a reversing camera, an electronic parking brake and an eight-inch display screen among their standard features.

Higher grade Design and Excel models will also be available with Toyota's new 2.0-litre 178bhp hybrid engine which gives the car a nice sporty feel.

Those are priced from £27,550 at Design level and £29,070 in top specification Excel grade.

The new hybrid system is the best Toyota has created so far - and the Japanese car maker has been a trailblazer for the petrol-electric technology for more than 20 years.

It makes the 2.0-litre Corolla hybrid lively yet economical and they come with paddle shifters and various drive modes with sport and eco settings as well as a normal set up creating a good turn of speed.

In the hatch it results in a 0 to 60 time of 7.9 seconds - three seconds quicker than the 120bhp 1.8, although top speeds are similar at 112mph.

The continuously variable transmission in the 2.0-litre has been artificially graded to create the feel of six speeds and while there is engine braking on the change down there is still a little lag and whine when moving off.

However, that sensation is much improved compared to previous Toyota hybrids and the level of noise inside the new Corolla is very well suppressed.

The real benefit of hybrids - and there's no diesel in the Corolla range - is their fuel economy and low emissions which for the new 2.0-litre are rated officially at 60.6mpg with a CO2 figure as low as 89g/km.

The 1.8 set up is even cleaner at 76g/km and 65.9mpg while the turbocharged 1.2 version is rated at 128g/km which equates to 47.2mpg.

On our runs in the new Corolla hybrids we saw a splendid average of 61.5mpg for the 1.8-litre estate, 45 to the gallon from the 2.0-litre hatch and 54mpg from the saloon.

Not only does the new Corolla drive well and look good and distinctive - especially the saloon with its two-step front bumper design - the interior has also evolved.

Technology includes a seven-inch multi-mode TFT display in the centre of the instrument panel on all but the base models - which have a smaller readout - and the option of a 10-inch head-up display screen complete with sat nav information.

But while there is Bluetooth connectivity and Toyota's Touch 2 infotainment system there remains no facility for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Realistically, that's the only weakness in an otherwise first rate all rounder.

Since it first appeared back in 1966 some 46 million Corollas have been sold around the world and the new model looks set to continue that success.

More importantly, it can no longer be considered as a boring car and that's in any of its body styles.

Each has its own strengths to appeal to different audiences and that is going to strengthen the Corollas position - good news not just for Toyota but for the British car industry too.

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