REVIEW: Toyota Corolla hybrid (Saloon)

by Seán Creedon

Toyota have been producing their popular Corolla since 1966. Since then over 45 million units have been sold worldwide, making it the best-selling car in the world.

At the end of 2018 Toyota promised a ‘hybrid invasion.’ A few months back I drove the hybrid version of the RAV4 and a few weeks ago I drove the new hatchback version of the hybrid Corolla. Last week it was my turn to take the larger Saloon version of the Corolla.

Meanwhile the Toyota Camry has made a comeback and I am looking forward to a test drive in what was a very popular car with Irish motorists a few years back.

Externally the lights at the front of the saloon version of the Corolla are slightly different from the hatchback version and naturally the rear of the car is completely different.

The boot in the saloon is much larger than the hatchback. And like the hatchback version the saloon also had a space-saver spare wheel.

The saloon version of the Corolla is certainly bigger looking than the Hybrid version. I thought the Celestite Grey colour of my test car made it look like a more conservative car.

However, once I sat in I began to change my mind. The interior was gorgeous and the cream leather seats gave my Sol version a really classy look.

The interior in the saloon is very similar to the hatchback, which means that the dash area is dominated by a large touch-screen, which to be fair is very easy enough to navigate.

The new Corolla has a low centre of gravity and my wife loved it as was very easy to get in and out. And the seats were really comfortable. In the back seat there is plenty of room for three adults. And if you only have only two back seat passengers they can share the arm rest and cup-holders.

The fact that the car 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.

Two years ago, Toyota president Akio Toyoda issued a companywide decree for ‘no more boring cars’ and it looks very much like his designers have certainly listened to his order. Thanks to Toyota’s new Global Architecture (TNGA) we are now seeing some really classy cars coming from the Japanese company.

Available in 1.6 and 1.8-litre versions. Prices start at €25,685 for the Luna, which is described as the best value. Then there is the Luna Sport, which naturally is the sportiest. My test car was the Sol, which is the most stylish and starts at €31,705. Road tax is €180.

There are attractive 192 PCP offers available with prices from €215 per month for the saloon version. I liked Toyota’s advertising strap-line ‘Designed for the city, built to go further.’

In a new car every week I am always checking for the buttons to open the fuel cap and boot; in the saloon version they are located near each other at the corner of the driver’s seat.

The Corolla looked great and was very comfortable to travel in. It’s as quiet as a mouse on the road and naturally frugal. We are going to see a lot of Hybrid cars before Ireland turns fully electric. The only complaint is that Apple CarPlay is not available.