Toyota Corolla interior
The Toyota Corolla’s interior looks exciting and is easy to use, but the infotainment system is a tad clunky to use.
The Toyota Corolla’s interior is a step ahead of the one in the dowdy old Auris. Not only is the design more interesting to look at, but the materials feel better than ever. It’s hard to fault the build quality, too – the Corolla feels well made and you won’t find any loose trim like you might in a Citroen.
There’s also great attention to detail – subtle polished metal lines make the cabin look upmarket and you’d never see that in a VW Golf, for example. Yes, the Corolla dashboard could do with some more colour, but the current dark arrangement with subtle bright accents and plenty of piano black gives it a baby-Lexus feel that you wouldn’t expect in a Toyota.
Admittedly, you have to go for the top-spec Toyota Corolla to get the best interior, but even entry-level models get a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob.
Top-spec models not only get part-leather upholstery but also different sport seats that are worth getting just because they look a lot more interesting than the standard ones and give the cabin a much sportier feel.
There are plenty of soft materials in the new Corolla’s cabin and its design is interesting too.
All Toyota Corolla models get an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system positioned on top of the centre console so that you barely need to move your eyes in order to glance at it.
It’s far from the sharpest screen around, but the chunky menu graphics are at least pretty easy to read when you’re driving. You get plenty of physical shortcut buttons to help you skip from one key feature to another with the minimum of button presses.
You can’t get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the new Corolla yet so the optional factory sat-nav is the only way to go if you want guidance. The system is the Toyota Touch 2 and you’ll have no trouble figuring out its menus even if the graphics are considerably dated.
You can program an address using the on-screen keyboard or by using the Toyota Corolla’s voice command system. The latter works reasonably well but it’ll only recognise whole addresses, not postcodes. Once you’ve entered your destination, the system takes a little while to program a route, especially if you want to add one or more waypoints.
On the move, you’ll notice the frustratingly slow auto-zoom feature which might result in you frequently missing turns when entering a city or getting off the motorway. It doesn’t help that the arrow directions often don’t correlate with what the road ahead is actually doing.
Entry-level models get a small screen within the dials in front of the steering wheel while top-spec models get a 7-inch screen instead. It looks neat and the graphics are modern, but it doesn’t really bring any new functionality apart from sat-nav directions that, as said above, can be misleading at times.
Much more useful is the optional head-up display – it’s a godsend if you’re driving in an unfamiliar area because you don’t need to take your eyes off the road in order to see your speed, the speed limit or your next sat-nav direction. It’s also fully configurable as well.
You get a six-speaker stereo as standard on the Corolla which isn’t particularly impressive but you can opt for a JBL updated sound system which has a clearer sound. That being said, the Bose system you can have in a Mazda 3 is still a bit better.