by Seán Creedon

Toyota have been producing their popular Corolla since 1966. Since then over 40 million units have been sold worldwide.

The first edition never went on sale in Ireland; we had to wait until 1973 for the second edition, but over the past 46 years over 200,000 units have been sold here.

Now Toyota has produced a hybrid version of their best selling Corolla, which should be popular with Corolla fans in Ireland and Toyota are also confident that it will attract many former Auris owners and maybe some former Avensis customers also.  

Toyota have been building cars in Europe since 1971 and now with nine manufacturing plants 8 of 10 Toyota cars sold in Europe are also built here.

At the end of 2018 Toyota promised a ‘hybrid invasion.’ A few weeks back I drove the hybrid version of the RAV4 and the eagerly awaited new Camry is due very soon.

You will see a lot of white Toyota Prius cars on the road, many of them being used as taxis. My Corolla hatchback test car also came in white with a black roof.

When I was collecting the test car from Toyota’s headquarters on Killeen Road, I noticed a lovely red and black version parked there also.

Bi-tone colour schemes

In total there are four bi-tone colour schemes available. They combine the body colour with a metallic black finish to the roof, front and rear pillars and the door mirrors.

Inside the decor is very bright and as with most cars the dash area is dominated by a large touch-screen, which to be fair is very easy 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. The boot is a decent size and you get a ‘space saver’ spare wheel.

The fact that the new 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.

‘No more boring cars’

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.

Prices start at €24,380 for the 1.2-litre petrol, while the petrol self-charging 1.8-litre hybrid starts at €26,370. There is also a 2.0-litre hybrid. Road tax is €180.

As usual with Toyota there are four trims: Aura, Luna, Luna Sport, which I drove and top of the range Sol.

There are attractive 192 PCP offers available with prices starting from €210 per month, for 36 months, for the entry level Luna model.

It looked good in the driveway and was very comfortable to travel in. It’s as quiet as a mouse on the road and naturally frugal. The only complaint is that there is no Android or Apple CarPlay available.