Nearly new buying guide: Toyota Corolla

Nearly new buying guide: Toyota Corolla

An appealing GR Sport trim was added in 2020. This brings bespoke, aggressive styling with changes to the front grille and foglights, 18in wheels and a silver insert for the lower rear bumper. Front sports seats, a head-up display and additional active safety systems are also present. Sadly, though, the ‘Sport’ in its name doesn’t mean any extra power or agility.

Toyota’s track record for reliability extends to the Corolla. The model achieved an excellent 97.6% What Car? reliability score for hybrids up to five years old, finishing ahead of the BMW 3 Series, Kia Niro and Mitsubishi Outlander. Toyota itself ranked joint fifth out 30 brands.

And in the unlikely event of something going wrong, you should be protected by Toyota’s Relax scheme, which offers cover for up to 10 years (if you continue to get the car serviced by a franchised dealer after the usual three-year warranty ends). In addition, hybrids get a separate 100,000-mile battery warranty.

To top it all off, the Corolla scored a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. All this for a starting price of just £14,500 for the 1.2, £18,000 for the 1.8 and £19,000 for the 2.0.

Buyer beware

The Corolla has had one recall since its launch, because the emergency calling system might not have been activated. A total of 3484 cars were affected and repairs involve a simple inspection by a Toyota dealer to activate the system. Check that this work has been done on any potential purchases.

Some engines are limited to certain specification levels. The cheapest Icon and Icon Tech pairing can have the 1.2-litre petrol engine or the 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain, while the 2.0-litre hybrid is available with Design spec and above. Excel cars are hybrid only.

Need to know

Boot size depends on both the engine and the bodystyle. Choosing the 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain means reduced practicality to accommodate the larger battery. Hatchbacks offer 361 litres, reduced to 313 litres in 2.0-litre Corollas. Touring Sports estates are unsurprisingly the most spacious, with 598 litres or 581 litres for the 2.0-litre. Either way, the Ford Focus Estate’s boot is bigger, at 608 litres. The Corolla Saloon’s, meanwhile, measures 470 litres – far bigger than the Audi A3 Saloon’s 425-litre offering but you can’t fold the rear seats down for additional space.