Toyota Corolla Review & Prices

If you want low running costs but also want to avoid a diesel, the Toyota Corolla is a stylish, comfortable and good-to-drive hybrid. However, it can’t match alternatives for space

Buy or lease the Toyota Corolla at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £30,505 - £36,945 Avg. Carwow saving £3,005 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£27,845
Monthly
£326*
Used
£13,999
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wowscore
8/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Cheap to run
  • Good quality inside
  • Enjoyable to drive

What's not so good

  • Drony automatic gearbox
  • Rear space for adults
  • More expensive than alternatives
At a glance
Model
Corolla
Body type
Hatchbacks
Available fuel types
Hybrid, Petrol
Acceleration (0-60 mph)
7.4 - 10.9 s
Number of seats
5
Boot, seats up
313 - 361 litres - 3 Suitcases
Exterior dimensions (L x W x H)
4,370mm x 1,790mm x 1,460mm
CO₂ emissions
This refers to how much carbon dioxide a vehicle emits per kilometre – the lower the number, the less polluting the car.
98 - 143 g/km
Fuel economy
This measures how much fuel a car uses, according to official tests. It's measured in miles per gallon (MPG) and a higher number means the car is more fuel efficient.
44.8 - 64.2 mpg
Insurance group
A car's insurance group indicates how cheap or expensive it will be to insure – higher numbers will mean more expensive insurance.
21E, 18E, 22E, 17E, 14E, 20E, 15E
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Find out more about the Toyota Corolla

Is the Toyota Corolla a good car?

It would be so easy to see the Toyota Corolla as one of those old bands coming back for another tour, despite no one asking them to. But that’d be a mistake, because while the Corolla badge disappeared in 2007 before reappearing in the UK in early 2019, it is now attached to a hybrid car that is entirely in tune with the modern world.

Nevertheless, the Corolla does have a tough gig, lining up against established cars such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Skoda Octavia.

The Toyota Corolla stands out for other reasons, too, because it looks fantastic on the outside, while it also has one of the plushest interiors. Of course, the higher up the model range you go the better it gets, but the overall design of the cabin even in basic models is much more interesting than in a Ford Focus.

It’s hard to miss that standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system high on the dashboard, too, and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted it doesn’t really matter that sat-nav isn’t included as standard on the cheaper models. It is a bright and logical system, but its responsiveness lets it down compared with the system in a Golf.

The Corolla’s front seats are very comfortable with plenty of adjustment and if you go for Excel trim you get sports seats, upholstered in leather, that are supportive and look superb with their polished metal inserts. Sadly, space in the back is considerably tighter, as two six-foot adults will fit but won’t enjoy the sloping rear roofline, while the narrow door opening makes manoeuvring a child seat inside tricky.

The Corolla finally looks exciting which, paired with its comfy interior and the promise of legendary reliability, makes it a good buy

And, compared with alternatives, the Corolla’s boot is shallow and doesn’t have as many practical features such as hooks and nets. Like those you’d find in a Skoda Octavia’s boot, for example.

You have the choice of two hybrid engines: either a 1.8 or 2.0-litre petrol. Both engines have low emissions making them cheap to run, although the cheaper-to-buy 1.8 is the go-to choice. Each gets an automatic gearbox that’s smooth when pootling in town, but the way it holds the revs high when accelerating is annoying.

Whichever engine you go for you’ll enjoy driving the Toyota Corolla. It steers precisely, doesn’t lean too much in corners and remains comfortable over bumps at all speeds. Its hybrid engines run silently on electricity in town, but are great companions on the motorway, too, because wind and road noise are kept outside. Toyota also includes a system that will accelerate, brake and keep you in your lane automatically on every Corolla.

All-in-all, then, the Toyota Corolla makes a very strong case for itself. It isn’t the most spacious family hatchback around and there are better infotainment systems, but it looks great, is comfortable yet fun to drive and comes with lots of kit for a keen price.

If you’re sold, then head over to our Toyota Corolla deals page to find the very best prices. Be sure to also check out the latest used Corollas and other used Toyotas for sale at our trusted dealers, and if you need to sell your car as well, carwow can help with that, too.

How much is the Toyota Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla has a RRP range of £30,505 to £36,945. However, with Carwow you can save on average £3,005. Prices start at £27,845 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £326. The price of a used Toyota Corolla on Carwow starts at £13,999.

Our most popular versions of the Toyota Corolla are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.8 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT £27,845 Compare offers

The Toyota Corolla looks expensive when compared to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but the price doesn’t seem so bad when you consider its clever hybrid technology and generous equipment list – the Corolla comes as standard with autonomous driving aids, heated seats and a reversing camera which are optional on its aforementioned alternatives.

Performance and drive comfort

The Toyota Corolla is easy and economical to drive in town, relaxing on the motorway and fun in corners, if only the CVT gearbox didn’t drone when accelerating

In town

The Toyota does most of its town driving on pure electric power which makes it quiet and very relaxing, the engine only engaging when you need a sudden burst of speed or if the battery’s getting low on charge. You might find Toyota's regenerative brakes a little bit grabby but in all other respects, the hybrid system works well. 

To complement the car’s relaxing hybrid power, you get suspension that is unfazed by bumps and surface changes, a tight turning circle and an automatic gearbox that is responsive, but also smooth. 

The Toyota’s auto doesn’t jerk at low speeds like a Volkswagen Golf’s gearbox, so it’s easy to manoeuvre the Corolla smoothly, although you will have to deal with some hefty front and rear blind spots when you’re squeezing into a parking space. It’s not helped by the grainy display of the reversing camera – a Golf’s camera looks a million times better. 

All but basic Icon versions of the Corolla also get automatic parking that can select a suitable space and reverse the car in and back out of it automatically, controlling the steering while you operate the accelerator and brake. 

On the motorway

The Corolla’s firm seats are comfortable on a long drive and there’s not much wind or road noise to upset you. Having said that, the Toyota’s CVT gearbox holds the engine’s revs steady when you’re accelerating which causes a constant drone until you drop back into a cruise. 

You’ll forgive it, though, because the Toyota comes with a range of autonomous driving aids that mean it can accelerate, brake and steer itself on the motorway so long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel. It takes the edge off long journeys. 

On a twisty road

The Toyota’s biggest surprise – especially if you’ve ever driven the stodgy Auris that it replaced – is that it’s good to drive on country roads. It steers sharply, stays flat and grips well in corners. It’s not quite as much fun as the Ford Focus, but if you enjoy driving, you can enjoy driving the Toyota Corolla.

Space and practicality

The Toyota Corolla has a great driving position, but other cars this size have more rear-seat space and bigger boots

You get plenty of adjustment for your driver’s seat in the Toyota – it adjusts for height, has electrical lumbar adjustment and slides far back on its runners. Plus the backrests are moved forwards and backwards by pulling a lever which is less tricky to operate than the knob you get in some alternatives. The steering wheel also adjusts for height and reach.

GR Sport versions of the Corolla get more supportive front seats, while top-of-the-range Excel models get a leather interior. 

In terms of storage, you get two cup holders in the centre console, small storage space under the front-centre armrest with a 12V socket and front door bins that’ll just about fit a big bottle of water. Having said that, the mobile phone tray on the centre console is only big enough for small phones. 

Space in the back seats

The Toyota Corolla isn’t your best option if you’re looking for a family car with a great back seat. For a kickoff, its back doors don’t open very wide so access is restricted and once you get sat in the back, you’ll find there’s noticeably less knee room than in a Skoda Octavia or a Volkswagen Golf. It also feels a little dark in the back thanks to the small rear windows and the Toyota’s black plastic trims. 

Need to carry three people at once? Well, there will be space for everyone's feet but while the middle seat itself is quite comfortable, there’s not much space for your hips if you’re wedged between two others. The outer passengers will also find their heads being rammed into the roof.

What do you get in the way of handy features? Not much. There’s no rear seat air vent, no charging sockets and no proper door bins, although there are a couple of cupholders moulded into the backseat centre armrest and you get pockets on the backs of the front seats.

Fitting a child seat? Well, those small doors make it hard to manoeuvre into position, although it’s easy to line the seat up with the Toyota’s ISOFIX points.

Boot space

The Toyota Corolla’s 361-litre boot is smaller than in cars like the Volkswagen Golf (381 litres), Honda Civic (404 litres) and Skoda Octavia (600 litres), plus it’s not that well designed with a large load lip and a bumper that gets in your way when you’re lifting luggage. 

The load-lip issues can be solved by specifying a space wheel, which then raises the floor so it is in line with the boot’s opening – without it, you get a huge ridge in the floor with the back seats folded away. That’s a shame because in this format the Corolla can carry an adult bike with both its wheels attached or a surprising number of boxes. 

In terms of features, the Toyota has hooks for shopping bags and tie-down hooks for luggage.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Toyota Corolla’s interior feels posh for the most part but is a tad less intuitive to use than some alternatives and the infotainment is laggy

The Toyota Corolla has a smart interior to match its interesting exterior. Quality is pretty good, most of the interior plastics are soft and squidgy and areas of the cabin like the centre console feel very solid. The steering wheel is leather-trimmed and the stalks behind it are nicely damped, the ventilation system’s knobs have a nice action, and you get flashes of chrome and contrast stitching depending on the model.

It’s not perfect, though, there’s a hard patch of plastic between the steering wheel and your door and the front centre armrest is a hard-and-unyielding contrast to the padded door armrest. 

The Toyota’s layout isn’t as intuitive as a Volkswagen Golf either. You get driving controls on the centre console, but also in a row of buttons by the steering wheel. The headlight controls are also split between this row of buttons and a stalk behind the steering wheel. 

Something else you’ll not be keen on is the low resolution of the Toyota Corolla’s display, although at least it is colourful. The system’s menus are laid out clearly and the banks of shortcut buttons on either side of the display make it easy to bounce between submenus.

What’s not so easy is using the touchscreen. It’s not very responsive, with noticeable lag between making gesture commands and anything happening – even route calculation takes longer than you would expect. The voice activation system also has limited functionality and can’t understand colloquial speech like the system in the Volkswagen Golf.

On the upside, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are now fitted as standard so you can use your phone’s excellent voice activation system on the car’s big screen. 

The Corolla also gets a digital instrument binnacle as standard which is clear and easy to read but doesn’t have the extensive list of functions you get with the system fitted to the Volkswagen Golf.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Toyota Corolla is available with two petrol-electric hybrid engines.

The basic motor is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder producing 122hp to get you from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 111mph. It’ll return an official fuel economy figure of more than 60mpg and because it has low CO2 emissions (as little as 102g/km) first year road tax starts from £170. 

Want more performance? Then you’ll need the 2.0-litre four-cylinder which produces 184hp to get you from 0-62mph in a more spritely 7.9 seconds, although top speed remains the same at 111mph. It gets fuel economy of around 55mpg and road tax costs £190 for the car’s first year on the road. 

Safety and security

The Toyota Corolla scored five stars for safety when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2019. It comes as standard with automatic emergency brakes that detect pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles, lane assist which steers the car in lane and speed assist that can detect speed limits and ensure your Corolla abides by them. All models also come with an alarm that includes a motion and glass-break sensor and an anti-tamper alarm.

Reliability and problems

Toyota has a well-deserved reputation for reliability and you wouldn’t expect that to change with the Corolla, which will benefit from the company’s expertise in building hybrid engines. Having said that, the Corolla’s subject to a variety of recalls covering things like premature fuel-pump wear, faulty panoramic roof and incorrectly torqued bolts. All Corollas come with a three-year warranty that extends up to 10 years/100,000 miles so long as your car is serviced annually at a Toyota dealer.

Buy or lease the Toyota Corolla at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £30,505 - £36,945 Avg. Carwow saving £3,005 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£27,845
Monthly
£326*
Used
£13,999
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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