WHEN a vehicle lays claim to being the ‘best-selling car in the world' then it seems bonkers to cease production.
And that's what Toyota did in sorts when it removed the Corolla from its UK line-up back in 2006. In fairness, it was replaced by the very capable and almost identical Auris, but a name is a name and the public loved Corolla.
And so the Corolla made a comeback in 2019 and has gone on to add to the incredible volume of sales globally which stood at 46 million units.
Today's Corolla in its 12generation is a neatly styled, eye-catching five-door model with plenty of pizzazz. Built on the same platform as the C-HR, its dynamic to drive, packed with tech and as safe as they come.
First impressions are vital and the Corolla certainly ticks all the right boxes with sporty streamlining, a large blacked-out grille, sweeping LED light clusters with smart daytime running lights, a sloping roofline, dark tinted privacy glass, twin tailpipes and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Moving inside, the interior is modern, clutter-free and deceptively spacious. Creature comforts are plentiful and include an eight-inch high-definition infotainment screen with navigation, voice assisted six-speaker audio system, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, intelligent park assist and lots more besides.
The part-leather upholstery looks upmarket and the seats, which can be heated, offer excellent levels of comfort even on longer journeys. You do sit quite low to the ground, but the all-round visibility is excellent.
The Corolla, in GR Sport guise, was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid engine delivering 181bhp and this was mated to a CVT transmission and it could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 8.1 seconds and topped out at 112mph. According to figures under WLTP testing, the Corolla can deliver a combined 51.3-53.3mpg with carbon emissions of 121g/km.
When it comes to performance and handling, the Corolla is a delight to drive with nice sharp responses. It is grippy through the country lanes with no sign of body sway and can cruise at 70mph on motorways.
There are drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport that alter the car's responses and in Sport mode the instrumentation gets a nice red glow too.
As with all CVTs, if the car is driven with a very heavy right boot, then the transmission will get a tad vocal, but in all honesty, the Corolla offers ample zip and acceleration without being too aggressive.
All controls, dials and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of access and I liked the separate panel for anything concerning climate control. It's far less distracting than having to navigate round a drop-down, touchscreen menu simply to increase the cabin temperature.
Space within the Corolla is decent enough with room for a couple of adults in the back or a trio of youngsters. Narrow rear windows and the sloping roofline will feel a little claustrophobic to taller passengers and the knee room can be compromised if the front seats are pushed back too far. But this is the norm for vehicles in this sporty segment.
The boot is well-sized and can swallow 581 litres of kit which increases further with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat and there are a number of handy storage options throughout the car too, including door bins, a glovebox, trays, cup holders, a central cubby box and seat back pockets.
Another huge selling point for the Corolla is its extensive range of safety equipment with Toyota Safety Sense as standard. This introduces a pre-collision system, full-range adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, lane departure alert, lane trace assist, sway warning and road sign assist.
In addition, the car has Isofix child seat fixtures, traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, tyre pressure warning and a full suite of airbags.