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The Top Gear car review: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
For:Comfy, cheap to run, some neat touches
Against:There are bigger estates. And more fun ones...
What is it?
It’s a car with a mildly clunky name. The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is a fancy name for the Corolla estate. It replaces the Auris and returns the Corolla name to Europe after a 13-year break. In fact, the Touring Sports has been made specifically for Europe and is built in Britain.
It shares its oily bits with the latest Corolla hatchback and saloon, with the longer wheelbase of the latter yielding a bit more room in the back. While not as striking as the regular five-door, it’s a more interesting looking car than its predecessor and should inject a small amount of glamour into airport runs and drunken taxi rides home.
We jest, of course, but only partially; with a heavy bias towards hybrid power, expect to ride in these a lot if you use a certain ride-hailing app in the coming years.
The range’s starting point is a 114bhp 1.2-litre petrol turbo, but it’ll make up a mere tenth of sales. More than half sold will be a 122bhp 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid, with a smaller portion of buyers choosing a 178bhp 2.0-litre version with more speed and bigger battery capacity. And thus less boot space. In keeping with current trends, there are no diesels.
For what it’s worth in such a sensible car, Toyota claims it’s sharper to drive than ever, with a lower seating position and wider tracks helping spread out the weight distribution and make you more inclined to drive it with a bit of vigour. Probably not when the boot’s chockfull of groceries/flat-pack furniture/animals, we’d suggest.
Upgrading from hatchback to estate costs £1,270 - upping the entry price to £22,570 - the premium buying the obvious extra metal as well as some thoughtful touches: repositioned rear suspension components increase the width of the load bay, while the boot floor has two levels, the separating mat possessing carpeted and waterproofed sides so you can flip it around depending on what you’re carrying, be it fancy bags or sopping wet dogs (or muddy bicycles for the lifestyle points).
There is also extra sound insulation to account for the larger expanse of space and – apparently – “the world’s first LED load compartment lights”. Don’t you hide your excitement.