Toyota Corolla 2.0

Hybrid Excel

Toyota Corolla, front
Toyota Corolla, front
Toyota Corolla, front
Toyota Corolla, front
Toyota Corolla, front
Toyota Corolla, side
Toyota Corolla, rear
Toyota Corolla, rear
Toyota Corolla, rear
Toyota Corolla, rear
Toyota Corolla, dashboard

THE world's best-selling car made a comeback earlier this year and it's better than ever.

In fairness, Toyota replaced the popular Corolla with the Auris back in 2006, but now the Auris is gone and the Corolla is back with high hopes of building on the 46 million global sales to date.

The 12th generation car is built on the same platform as the C-HR and Prius models - it has shed some weight, it's lower to the ground and it boasts improved aerodynamics. So what's not to like about new Corolla which is more dynamic to drive and cheaper to run?

There's no denying the fact that the latest model looks stunning from any angle, especially in five-door hatchback guise. It boasts sumptuous curves, front and rear LED lights, a sweeping roofline, raising waistline, a rear spoiler and 18-inch alloys.

Move inside and you are greeted with a thoroughly modern cabin and our range-topping Excel model was packed to bursting with techno treats to explore along the way.

There are heated sports seats, automatic dual zone air conditioning, Toyota Touch 2 with Go navigation system, Bluetooth, a reversing camera plus front and rear parking sensors. There is a smart eight-inch touchscreen positioned at the top of the dashboard.

On the downside, no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto although Toyota has announced plans to introduce this facility.

This Corolla, priced at £29,075, was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid engine with CVT transmission and it could complete the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 7.9 seconds before maxing out at 112mph. According to official WLTP figures, the car can deliver a combined 50.4-54.3mpg with carbon emissions of 89g/km.

You sit quite low to the ground in the Corolla Hatchback so it feels quite sporty - and the performance certainly matches the styling with sharp handling and blisteringly quick acceleration. The road holding is ultra grippy meaning bends can be attacked with a degree of confidence and any body sway is barely noticeable even at higher speeds.

There are drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport that alter the manner in which the car behaves and the instrumentation changes accordingly with the Eco setting gaining a green glow while the Sport mode turns the dials red.

There is instant power which makes this car very quick off the mark and it can cruise effortlessly at the national speed limit on motorways. The all-round visibility is good but not great with quite small door mirrors and a narrow rear window. But parking is made all the simpler thanks to the camera, sensors and the intelligent park assist system fitted to the car.

Comfort levels are good for anyone sitting up front. If you're relegated to the back, then leg and head space is a tad restricted, but it is fine for youngsters or a couple of adults on a shorter journey.

The boot has a capacity that ranges from 361 to 1,052 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Anyone looking for more storage could consider the Corolla Touring Sports model with a boot that can swallow up to 1,606 litres of kit.

The new Corolla secured a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. It has a whole host of safety features including Toyota's Safety Sense which includes a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, auto high beam, lane trace assist, sway warning and road sign assist.

This safety kit was complemented by vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist and a full suite of airbags.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Corolla 2.0 Hybrid Excel

Price: £29,075

Mechanical: 178bhp, 1,987cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 7.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 50.4-54.3

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 89g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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