Last week I was driving the best-selling car in the world, the Toyota Corolla. Toyota have been producing their famous Corolla since 1966 and some of us are old enough to remember what happened in 1966, England won the World Cup.
Despite many attempts in recent years, football has never ‘come home’ since then, but over 50 million Corollas have ‘found a home’ in the intervening 66 years.
Toyota has given their the 12th generation of the Corolla a mild revamp and last week I drove a Pearl Red hatchback automatic version with a Night Sky black roof and stylish alloys which were really attractive.
I cannot say that I was asked in various supermarket car parks what type of car I was driving, as Irish people are by now very familiar with the Toyota brand.
At the end of 2018, Toyota promised a ‘hybrid invasion’ and they have kept their word. Despite all the speculation about the country going fully electric by 2030, I think most people are happy with Hybrid for now.
The fact that the new Corolla is a self-charging hybrid, means that there will be no cost to the driver when operating in full electric mode. Maintenance costs are low and Toyota reckon that careful drivers should be able to complete up to half of their urban trips in electric mode.
What happens in the world of motoring over the next eight years will depend on what the large car manufacturers can come up with regarding self-charging or longer-life batteries.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said last year that nobody will be forced to buy an electric car and that low-cost loans and scrappage schemes will be introduced to convince drivers to switch to electric.
For the immediate future I think many motorists will avoid unnecessary ‘range anxiety’ and settle for a self-charging car like the Toyota hybrid, which has now reached its 12th generation.
Attractive on the outside and inside the dash is very well laid out. While it would be neater if the infotainment screen folded down, in reality that only happens in very few cars. I liked the fact that the radio and air condition controls are operated by an old-fashioned style button.
Leg room in the rear is tight enough. I never had three people in the back seat, but if I did it would be uncomfortable for the middle passenger as the ‘tunnel’ is very low. Children always hate sitting in the middle of the back seat as they have to put a leg on either side of the ‘tunnel’ running through cars.
The boot is a decent size with 360 litres of space, but no spare wheel. There is a ‘well’ for a spare wheel and you could of course haggle for a spare if buying new. I think having a spare wheel always makes a long journey more relaxing.
Toyota cars seem to go forever. And of course hybrids are very economical, in the Corolla it’s 4.9 litres per 100km which is very impressive. On the road you get a verbal advance warning if there is a traffic queue a kilometre ahead.
Prices start €27,930 for 1.8-litre Luna, while the Luna sport version I drove will cost you €29,545. Road tax is €145. There used to be a problem with Apple Carplay, but that has now been rectified.
A few years back Toyota president Akio Toyoda issued a companywide decree for ‘no more boring cars,’ and it looks like his designers have certainly listened to his command.