If you want low running costs but also want to avoid diesel, the Toyota Corolla is a stylish, comfortable, and good-to-drive hybrid for you. Let read on the following 2021 Toyota Corolla review to consider whether it is worth buying this car.
Toyota Corolla Review
1. Performance and drive
The entry-level 1.8 Petrol Hybrid 122 has a modest 120bhp, which means a relatively leisurely 10.9sec from 0-62mph. That’s noticeably slower than a Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost 125 petrol, but its acceleration is still perfectly adequate for everyday driving, including on motorways.
Fortunately, the 177bhp 2.0 Petrol Hybrid 184 is much punchier and responds far more eagerly when you squeeze its accelerator pedal.
Suspension and ride comfort
Buy yourself a Corolla because, along with the VW Golf, it’s one of the most comfortable cars in the class. It has softer suspension than, say, the Ford Focus, so it smoothes off the rough edges of road ridges better and fidgets less on patchy sections of motorway.
The trade-off is a little more body bounce along undulating roads than you get in some rivals, but if you enjoy a bit a softer edge then you may consider that a small price to pay.
Driven in a leisurely fashion, the Corolla’s handling is fine. The steering is pretty accurate and builds weight predictably and reassuringly. There’s a decent feeling of composure as well, provided you don’t expect really quick changes of direction.
When you start to push harder, though, you notice that the Corolla is less keen to tuck its nose into corners than a Focus or even a Golf, and runs out of front-end grip sooner.
Noise and vibration
One great thing about hybrids is how hushed they are when you’re just pootling around town. Because the electric motor can manage on its own in stop-start traffic, progress is virtually silent and, when the petrol engine cuts in to assist, it doesn’t spoil the peace too much.
Yet on faster roads, particularly those with inclines, the petrol engine begins to whine away noticeably. The blame for this lies with Corolla’s CVT automatic gearbox, which causes engine revs to soar abruptly during moderate to hard acceleration and stay peaky until you reach cruising speed. This issue is more pronounced in the 1.8 than the punchier 2.0-litre.
Tyre and wind noise in the 1.8-litre aren’t as well suppressed as they might be – road noise is especially noticeable with bigger 18in alloys fitted – and a Focus is much more hushed at a steady 70mph. The 2.0-litre hybrid is better, benefiting from ‘acoustic’ side glass that seals out more noise.
The Toyota Corolla’s interior is a step ahead of the one in the dowdy old Auris. Not only is the design more interesting to look at, but the materials feel better than ever.
There’s also great attention to detail – subtle polished metal lines make the cabin look upmarket and you’d never see that in a VW Golf, for example. Yes, the Corolla dashboard could do with some more color, but the current dark arrangement with subtle bright accents and plenty of piano black gives it a baby-Lexus feel that you wouldn’t expect in a Toyota.
Even entry-level Icon models feature adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights, and heated seats front and rear. You can pay extra for a ‘Tech’ version of each trim, which brings parking sensors front and rear, satellite navigation, and enhanced infotainment.
Meanwhile, Design models get a self-dimming rearview mirror and power-folding door mirrors, among other things.
Top-spec models not only get part-leather upholstery but also different sports seats that are worth getting just because they look a lot more interesting than the standard ones and give the cabin a much sportier feel.
All Toyota Corolla models get an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system positioned on top of the center console so that you barely need to move your eyes in order to glance at it.
It’s far from the sharpest screen around, but the chunky menu graphics are at least pretty easy to read when you’re driving. You get plenty of physical shortcut buttons to help you skip from one key feature to another with a minimum of button presses.
You can program an address using the on-screen keyboard or by using Toyota Corolla’s voice command system. The latter works reasonably well but it’ll only recognize whole addresses, not postcodes.
On the move, you’ll notice the frustratingly slow auto-zoom feature which might result in you frequently missing turns when entering a city or getting off the motorway.
Entry-level models get a small screen within the dials in front of the steering wheel while top-spec models get a 7-inch screen instead. It looks neat and the graphics are modern, but it doesn’t really bring any new functionality apart from sat-nav directions that, as said above, can be misleading at times.
Much more useful is the optional head-up display – it’s a godsend if you’re driving in an unfamiliar area because you don’t need to take your eyes off the road in order to see your speed, the speed limit, or your next sat-nav direction. It’s also fully configurable as well.
You get a six-speaker stereo as standard on the Corolla which isn’t particularly impressive but you can opt for a JBL updated sound system which has a clearer sound.
In conclusion, we hope that you find this 2021 Toyota Corolla review useful for your decision.