How good is Corolla


Toyota has built the Corolla 46 million times. An incredible number. It even surpasses the Golf by far. Although the Japanese are not entirely correct in their point of view. While the Golf has remained true to its technical layout (transverse engine, front-wheel drive) over the decades, Toyota has completely turned the tables. The first generations of the Corolla had their engine installed lengthways at the front. And the rear wheels were driven. From that point of view, the 46 million are not entirely fair.

But no matter, the Corolla is an extremely successful global car and can also be found in the remotest corners of the world. In the meantime we have reached the 12th generation, which was supposed to be called Auris until a few months ago. You remember? In 2007, Toyota switched the so far in Germany largest and most expensive poster campaignjust to get this name into the consciousness of the population. It was of little use. The Auris was not really successful. So now the return to the Corolla model name.


Toyota offers its compact model in three versions: five-door (hatchback), touring sports (station wagon) and sedan. While the five-door and station wagon have the same face, the sedan differs slightly from this. The Touring Sports is the longest at 4.65 meters, followed by the sedan at 4.63 meters and the hatchback at 4.37 meters. In other words: even the five-door is still ten centimeters longer than a Golf.

With the new TNGA platform, the designers managed to put the Corolla a little deeper and wider than the Auris. Both benefit the proportions. The TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) also has a positive influence on comfort and driving behavior. The Corolla is stiffer than before and looks very solid. This is confirmed by the first driving impressions. This is also evident at higher speeds "Japanese Golf" remarkably quiet, rolls smoothly and is pleasantly comfortable to drive.


It's a bold statement. Toyota is now also saying “Diesel? No thanks". On the one hand, it would not have been financially worthwhile to switch on the diesel engine (supplier was BMW) Euro 6d temp to convert because the demand for this engine was too low anyway. On the other hand, more and more companies and fleet customers have preferred the hybrid to a diesel and even a conventional gasoline engine.

No brand in the world is more associated with the term hybrid than Toyota. The Japanese carmaker has put this drive on the road a million times over and now sells more electrified than conventional models in Germany. For the first time there are even two different hybrids for the Corolla. The entry-level version is a 122-hp variant with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, as is also installed in the Prius. Consumption should be just 3.3 liters per 100 kilometers. To also sporty eco-customers To treat yourself to a bit of driving fun, the top engine version also includes a two-liter electric combination with 180 hp under the Corolla hood. Standard consumption: 3.7 l / 100 km. In addition to the five-door version, the performance hybrid can also be ordered for the station wagon (Touring Sports). The Corolla sedan is left out here. They are only available with the weaker hybrid.

How hard Toyota is pushing the gas with hybrid drives is also shown by the slimmed-down range of conventional engines. The only choice is a 1.2-liter four-cylinder with 114 hp. It replaces the former 1.33 liter with 99 hp.


In the cockpit, Toyota dispenses with any kind of frills and gimmicky. Objectivity dominates. The central element is the 8-inch touchscreen, but its operation sometimes requires precise knowledge of the logic of the developer. Often you get stuck with intuition. And whether a tachometer really makes sense in a hybrid vehicle today remains to be seen. Likewise, that Toyota offers different driving modes. What is the "Sport +" option good for? A hybrid Corolla does not want to be a Golf GTI. Rather a quiet and comfortable car, with a maximum of safety.

This is where the TNGA platform comes into play again. It made it possible to give the Corolla the entire Toyota range of electronic assistance systems. The latest version of the standard Safety Sense safety system now detects vehicles in front at 180 km / h, cyclists in light and pedestrians in the dark. The Corolla can overtake autonomously, keeps the lane by itself and reads traffic signs. The latter now also includes stop and entrance signs, the beginning and end of motorways, urban and residential areas and the end of all route bans.


Even if the Corolla developers have made every effort to put a professionally thought-out car on the wheels, the hybrid drive in connection with a planetary gear has technical limits. The "rubber band effect" when accelerating is no longer as pronounced as it used to be, but it has not completely disappeared. So you prefer to leave it with a quieter driving style, which anyway has a better effect on the nerves and consumption.


The five-door and Touring Sports are built in England, the sedan comes from Turkey. The station wagon was even developed exclusively in Europe and is only sold here. Toyota believes around 45 percent of Corolla customers will opt for the five-door, 41 percent for the station wagon and the rest for the sedan. We noticed this deficiency: the iPhone cannot be connected to the car via AppleCarPlay. Toyota wants to offer this feature at the end of the year. However, it cannot be retrofitted.


Overall, the Corolla delivers a convincing performance. It offers enough space, is quiet and comfortable to drive. With a cautious driving style, very low consumption can be achieved. The quality of the materials and the workmanship are right. Naturally, the best package is offered by the station wagon, which swallows up to 1,606 liters of luggage and is therefore a competent replacement for the Avensis station wagon that is no longer in production. You should definitely treat yourself to the more powerful hybrid version.


Text: Michael Specht

Photo: Toyota