Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

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  • #141876 Reply
    Adrian

    We’ve just been given this as a courtesy car after a nasty incident in our Kuga

    M1 southbound, the fuel line broke, squirting 50 litres of diesel into the engine bay in about a minute. One minute we had a full tank, the next we were coasting to a dead stop with huge clouds of smoke coming out from under the bonnet. I dread to think of what might have happened had it been petrol. If you were held up by the recovery of a smoky Kuga last week, sorry 😞

    Anyway, we were given a 1.8 Corolla estate, in Icon Tech trim, until the Kuga is repaired and decontaminated as most of the diesel is still in the car, effectively jetwashed into every nook and cranny

    I wasn’t really expecting great things as I’m not a big fan of hybrids in general, I’d heard horror stories about their economy on the motorway, and I strongly believe that CVT gearboxes only belong on dustbin lorries and buses

    So after 1000 miles in this “thing” you’d expect we can’t wait to get rid of it, right?

    Spoiler alert: we don’t want the Kuga back!

    So, a few points in order. The styling. I’ve always liked the styling of the latest Corolla in estate form. Sure it’s bland, but then so are the stars of TOWIE and look how much adulation they get. I do think it’s a looker in its own right, and I think the only reason it doesn’t get more attention is because people think they are only bought by Uber drivers. But I like it, so there

    The seats are a bit too thinly padded and took quite a long while before I found comfort in them, but once I hit the sweet spot, I could drive it all day

    The performance of the 1.8 is a bit woeful but you don’t buy cars like this if you’re a boy racer, and there is 2.0 available with a big performance – and price- increase. But thanks to the electric motor, throttle response is instantaneous. Not like non-turbo petrol instantaneous, but literally, quantum lengths of a fraction of a second instantaneous. It leaps away from the lights for the first couple of seconds, even if the petrol unit doesn’t kick in. On the motorway there is enough oomph – just – to make overtaking easy, but it’s never going to win any prizes

    I’m this guise, Icon Tech – the second cheapest model in the Motability line up – has radar cruise control which is magic – I’ve never had a car with this before and I now consider it a deal  breaker – reversing camera and front and back parking sensors. I think it comes with park assist too but I never use it anyway. It also came with CarPlay and Android Auto. Not sure how many of these were included in the standard model, if any

    I thought given the weight of the batteries that it would either wallow or be too firm, but Toyota have hit a sweet balance. It’s not going to win any prizes for handling but it handles a helluva lot better than our Kuga, and strangely, given the Corolla vs Kuga ride height, it rides so much better too. A lot more comfy, and deals with potholes much better

    My biggest bugbear with Japanese autos is their fondness for CVT gearboxes but on this car it’s absolutely no issue. Because the car is so quiet anyway, and there is a noise reducing windscreen, there are times when I can tell the petrol engine is running only by glancing at the rev counter to be sure. It probably  helps that because the engine is switched off for significant periods of time that I’ve just learned to detach the “rubber band” feeling from the engine note

    So, the big one – fuel economy. Would taking a 1.8 hybrid in the motorway for long stretches really just be like driving a 1.8 petrol with an extra couple of passengers that you couldn’t eject?

    No. My economy, after a handful of long motorway runs and also rat run commutes, is 63 mpg. The official figure is in the high 50’s. I’m beating the official figures and I haven’t even started trying yet! Any Corolla owners here that can confirm this? Or am I getting a false reading?

    Anyway, I don’t want to carry on singing it’s praises too highly – Toyota might read this and  decide to increase their prices in Q2, when we’re due to order

    But seriously, this is a fantastic car, solid build quality, good looking, fast enough for most, economical, smooooooooth and just really easy to drive

    It has won over a hardened hybrid sceptic

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #141880 Reply
    joss
    Moderator

    Well Adrian what a nice review of an unexpected car. It must have made you feel that the Kuga breakdown was well worth it. Other wise you would not have discovered the Toyota Corollas hidden depths.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Joss
    ***🌻🌻🌻 ***
    Current car BMW X2 2.0i Sport sDrive Auto 2019 with Sport pack
    Last car Ford Focus Titanium 1.5 TDCI
    Builder of Gaming PC's

    #141887 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Great, entertaining review, Adrian. Have you done this writing lark before? Despite my fondness for small, two-door fast things, you’ve got me interested in the Corolla!

    #141888 Reply
    Menorca Mike
    Participant

    Adrian I pick up my new CHR 1.8 hybrid auto in a week it has the same engine as the Corolla when I went on 2 hour test drive before Xmas I got 73 mpg this was motorway dual carriage way in town etc I tried to keep it in eco mode I loved it that’s why I’m having one I found the CHR higher for me to get in but the Corolla was even cheaper advance payment than my CHR they both have lots of equipment as standard sat nav rear camera etc etc

    BBC Breakfast expert, Toyota CHR driver.

    #141891 Reply
    Wigwam
    Participant

    Adrian, let us know how your Kuga is when you get it back.  In my experience it’s very hard to fully get rid of the smell of fuel oil contamination especially if it’s got into the car’s interior.

    #141897 Reply
    Landyman

    Thanks for posting a great review Adrian.

    That’s another one for me to put on the short list. Like you I’m due to change Q2 and like you I have concerns about the cvt box so it’s nice to hear positive feedback.

    #141899 Reply
    YorkMan
    Participant

    I have been doing a bit of research into CVT’s lately and some of them are not as bad as they used to be – they get a bad press and some of them are quite good these days.  It’s well worth doing some readig up on automatic transmissions for a particular car and of course going for a test drive.

    #141901 Reply
    Wigwam
    Participant

    We have an old Honda Jazz with a CVT box.  As a runabout I never notice it.  Climbing a steep hill at speed it does let the engine revs rise and as the car is underpowered and noisy, it’s not too pleasant.  Before our current Motability car we had a Qashqai diesel with a CVT box. Nissan built in steps to imitate the gear ratio changes of a regular automatic, and given the car was more powerful and quieter than the Jazz it was never noticeable except sometimes being hesitant going off from a standstill.

    I think if the engine is powerful enough not to have to work hard at high revs, CVT boxes are fine for most cars.

    #141906 Reply
    Menorca Mike
    Participant

    I had always called cvt gearboxes having had dsg for 9 years but I found it very smooth indeed with a light right foot relaxed driving it’s fine

    BBC Breakfast expert, Toyota CHR driver.

    #141923 Reply
    Elliot
    Participant

    @Adrian. I can agree with you almost totally on what you say about the Corolla. The only thing I’m not with you on is the gearbox. With it being a CVT it revs like crazy and although it isn’t noisy I find it irritating. I too was getting fuel economy in the 60’s mpg with a mix of driving which I found incredible especially for an estate, and if fuel economy is important to someone when choosing a car, then they can’t go wrong with one of these. My biggest gripe was the lack of comfort with the seats and despite trying, I couldn’t find any way of avoiding a numb bum on any journey’s of more than 20 mins.

    I’m about to get a temporary company car for 3 months which is an Auris Hybrid, so it will be interesting to compare it with the Corolla.

    #141929 Reply
    Marc
    Participant

    I have a Toyota Corolla Estate 1.8 GR Sport trim as a company car, I’ve had it three months now and very pleased with it. I find the seats very comfortable but that could be because of the higher spec.

    I went out today to a job 62 miles round trip, 26 miles motorway and 5 miles urban each way. Adaptive cruise set to 70mph. I got 55.2mpg on the way out and 62.4mpg on the way back. The engine hadn’t fully cooled on my return so got better mpg, it’s my understanding that the mpg is even better in the summer months.

    #143381 Reply
    Adrian

    An update – we got the Kuga back yesterday. There is a faint whiff of “metalwork” in there, reminiscent of metalwork classes at school many years ago, but it doesn’t smell of diesel.

    The fuel pump, fuel line, undertrays and and a handful of other ancillary components all had to be replaced, and the engine bay seems to have had a steam cleaning, it certainly seems a bit cleaner than before.

    The dealer very kindly put about £2-3 of diesel in it to allow me to get to the nearest filling station 🙂

    So, after 2-3 weeks I’m sorry to have to hand the Corolla back. The seats in the Kuga are a LOT more comfy, they almost feel like armchairs in comparison, but the ease of drive and economy more than made up for it, and I’m sure a higher spec will have better seats. We’ve all but committed to a GR Sports spec estate come renewal in a few months which does have better seats but obviously haven’t been able to try. The Excel spec doesn’t seem to offer all that much more on paper and is another hefty hike in AP. We’d like the 2.0 as the 1.8 does feel slow in comparison to the Kuga, but not entirely convinced I can justify the hike given the extra power would only come into play during the occasional overtake on the M1

    Average commute to and from work in the Corolla, I managed around 62mpg, after discovering a “hack”. The Kuga? a very disappointing 37mpg, driven in exactly the same relaxed manner. My (richer than me) mate has a Mercedes s350d with almost 300bhp and weighs almost a ton more; even with a heavier foot than I have he still averages almost 50mpg

    The “hack”? Imagine this scenario – I’m convinced the battery could play a bigger part, but obviously I know the road – the car has no such knowledge. So I’m driving a steady 30mph on a long flat stretch of road, at the end of which is a long downhill stretch. Very often, the petrol unit will kick in on this flat stretch – it doesn’t know there is a nice battery charging slope ahead of it. Easing off a little doesn’t switch the petrol unit off. I found that very suddenly slipping my foot off the accelerator “tricked” the petrol unit into stopping, and suddenly reapplying the accelerator to bring me back up to the preset speed limiter doesn’t result in any loss of speed, so effectively I get an additional half a mile on the battery alone where normally the car would be slipping the petrol unit on and off. That trick alone, used on just one or two stretches, was enough to eke out the mpg from 57-58 to 62-63, a worthwhile difference. I can’t imagine it did the car any damage, I haven’t been able to find out. It is designed to switch the petrol unit on and off dozens of times per journey, after all.

    I have also read, but I don’t know if it’s true, that using the built in Sat Nav in the Volvo hybrids allows the car to know when to make greatest use of electric power for greatest efficiency, it will make more use of the battery on flat or uphill stretches if the Sat Nav indicates that a long downhill stretch is coming soon. It’d be great if the Toyota and all hybrids did this, but I wasn’t going to program all my personal addresses into a courtesy car to find out.

    Last thing – small but very annoying. The fob is absolutely ridiculous! It’s twice as big as the Ford fob, and where the Ford fob is smooth and pendant shaped, the Toyota fob is slabby and angular. it just will not fit into any pocket comfortably. Maybe the fob on keyless entry Toyotas is smaller? Does anyone know?

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