Living with – a Toyota Corolla

Russell Campbell
October 08, 2019

The Toyota Corolla is one of the best family cars on sale, so we took one on long term test to see what it’s actually like to live with.

At carwow we’re lucky enough to get to drive some seriously fast cars that are bonkers fun but also largely pointless when you live in central London, which is why I’m particularly excited about our latest long-termer – the new Toyota Corolla.

If a car was custom built for London I reckon you’d finish off with something close to the Corolla. For a start, it’s ultra-modern looks means it stands out in a sea of other cars – even with our car’s conservative Sterling Silver paint – thanks to its beak-like front end and origami lines.

The modern skin also hides high-tech internals. Our car is the 2.0-litre hybrid – you can also choose from a hybrid 1.8 petrol or conventional 1.2-litre petrol – that always returns more than 50mpg in town driving. It’s not exempt from paying London’s congestion charge but it is capable of running on clean and silent electric power for a few miles so you still feel like you’re doing your bit.

Our Corolla Excel comes with 18-inch alloys as standard, sat-nav via a seven-inch display, auto lights and wipers, dimming rear-view mirror, partial leather seats keyless entry and ambient lighting.

It’s what comes as standard across the range that’s the real headline-grabber though because all Corolla’s get Toyota’s Safety Sense System suite of autonomous aids as standard. 

As a result, carwow’s new Corolla features auto brake that can detect cars and pedestrians, lane assist that can steer the car down any road with a centre white line, auto headlights and adaptive cruise control that can brake and accelerate the car. Factor in a traffic sign recognition system that can read and display road signs on the car’s dashboard and the combined kit means the Toyota’s extremely safe.

What else have we learnt in our month with the Toyota? 

Well, while it might not ooze with the perceived quality of a Volkswagen, the Toyota’s doors close with a solid thunk and there’s no rattle or squeaks as we got in our old Audi Q3. 

A long trip up to the Cotswolds also confirmed that it’s an extremely relaxed cruiser not only because the car does most of the driving for you but because at 70mph on the motorway the CVT gearbox ensures the engine’s barely ticking over.

And what don’t we like? Well, it’s got to be the infotainment system. Not everyone’s keen on how its screen protrudes from the dashboard and I’m not too keen on its blocky graphics and lack of intuitiveness. On top of that, it seems to return to its default settings every time you restart the car. Safe to say, it’s not the best system. Fingers crossed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are added soon.

All in, though, me and the Corolla have got off to a good start and we’re looking forward to getting to know the car over the next few months. 

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