The new Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports Review

The new Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
The new Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Caroline drives the latest Toyota Corolla Touring Sports! Read on for a definitive verdict on one of Ireland's favourite hybrid cars.

The Toyota Corolla is one of Ireland’s best loved cars and is now in its 12th generation. Ever since Toyota Global President, Akio Toyoda, declared "no more boring cars!" from the brand, there has been something of a renaissance underway at Toyota.

That’s thanks to Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that is underpinning a whole new generation of models including C-HR and Prius, and in 2019, Camry, RAV4 and the new Toyota Corolla family.

The new Toyota Corolla is now available in Ireland as a saloon, hatchback and estate (‘Touring Sports’). I recently took the Corolla Touring Sports Hybrid for a test drive. Available from €28,420, the Corolla Touring Sports comes exclusively as a petrol electric, self-charging hybrid. In this new generation of Corolla it uses a revised 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain putting out 122hp.

The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is available from €28,420
The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is available from €28,420

Sporty and stylish family car

In the metal, the new Corolla really makes a style statement. The Touring Sports is particularly successful in my opinion. In fact, the hatchback, saloon and estate have all been given an individual look because the new platform gave the designers the freedom to do that.

The Touring Sports is available in the entry Luna trim and in Sol trim with a bit more gear (from €31,990). But even the entry model comes exceptionally well equipped with 16” alloys, LED headlamps/fog lamps, 8” Toyota Touch, rear view camera, dual zone climate control, and Toyota Safety Sense with adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist.

For the extra spend, Sol adds 17” alloys, a chrome window frame, rear privacy glass, rain sensor, Smart Entry & Start, navigation, textured chrome inserts to the interior, grey lower dashboard, ambient lighting, heated front seats and driver lumbar support.

The interior of the new Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
The interior of the new Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Inside the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

The design and quality of the interior of the new Toyota Corolla has improved dramatically. There are plenty of soft touch materials and a number of technology features including the digital instrument panel and central touchscreen for the infotainment, though technology buffs will be frustrated by the absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The interior of the car is nicely spacious too with decent accommodation for the compact class. The estate is the obvious choice in this new trio of Corollas if you need more space and a bigger boot. The boot aperture opens wide for easy loading with a low, flat load lip. At 598 litres, there’s also 237 litres more boot volume than in the hatchback.

Boot space in the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
Boot space in the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Driving the Corolla Touring Sports

Toyota has made much of the newly adopted Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform and rightly so. Key concerns for engineers were to make this Corolla safer and more engaging to drive than anything that has come before.

The GA-C platform promises a more rewarding driving experience thanks to a centre of gravity that is lowered by 10 mm, a multi-link rear suspension fitted as standard across the model range, and a 60% more rigid body shell through the use of high strength steel as reinforcement in key areas. According to Toyota, these contribute to better handling and stability without compromising ride and comfort, as well as reducing high frequency vibration for an increased feeling of quality.

I was immediately impressed by the smoothness and refinement of the new Toyota Corolla Touring Sports on the road. The hybrid powertrain means that the car uses a CVT automatic gearbox, but Toyota has considerably improved the refinement of the transmission and also invested in better cabin insulation.

The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is a stylish and practical estate car
The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is a stylish and practical estate car

How fuel-efficient is the new Corolla?

The Touring Sports has adequate power for driving and overtaking manoeuvres. However, as a hybrid it really needs to deliver on fuel efficiency. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 5.6 l/100 km, and I saw a return of over 60 mpg on some journeys. The hybrid system works particularly well in town and promotes a more relaxed mode of driving that helps to deliver on efficiency. Low emissions mean that motor tax is €180 per year.

There has been much anticipation for this new generation of the Corolla. But until we drive it we can never be sure if it will deliver on all that is promised. However I’m happy to report that the new Toyota Corolla has improved considerably in just about every way, and it’s also got super competitive again in the compact class.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is a very handsome vehicle and the most practical member of the new Corolla family. It's genuinely efficient, spacious and pleasant to drive making it a great family car.

No more boring cars!

The 2019 Toyota Corolla is a car transformed
The 2019 Toyota Corolla is a car transformed

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports Sol
€31,990 (from €28,420)
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol electric hybrid
122 hp
Torque: 142 Nm
11.1 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Fuel economy:
4.5 – 5.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
Motor tax: 
€180 per year


The Toyota Land Cruiser Business

Toyota Land Cruiser Business Model Relaunched

The Toyota Land Cruiser Business five seat model is now available to order in Ireland.

After leaving the market in 2018 due to taxation changes, Toyota Ireland has reintroduced the model to the market.

The Land Cruiser Business is available from €56,907 excluding VAT and is classified in the N1 segment.

The Land Cruiser Business will be arriving in Ireland in July for first customer deliveries.

Toyota Ireland expect demand to be high. Initial supply will be limited so customers are encouraged to place their orders early.

Commenting on the return of the Land Cruiser Business  model, Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland said:

“The Toyota Land Cruiser is a legendary car in the Toyota line-up, known for its powerful performance and ability to tackle any terrain. It’s been a firm favourite of our Irish customers and we’re delighted to reintroduce the Business model at a competitive price point. As the only five-seater model in the N1 segment it’s a fantastic offering for customers.”

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Toyota dealers now

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Toyota dealers now
The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Toyota dealers now

The Toyota RAV4 was the original ‘Sports Utility Vehicle’ (SUV). Now in its fifth generation, Toyota has reinvented the RAV4 upon the exciting new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture). The new RAV4 is arriving in Ireland at a time when Toyota Ireland is predicting that in 2019, 80% of their new car sales will be hybrid. The brand has already said that they will no longer sell diesel cars. The new RAV4 will be sold in Ireland exclusively as a petrol electric, self-charging hybrid. Caroline travelled to the Catalonia region of Spain to put the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to the test on and off road!


TNGA has given Toyota designers more freedom to design a stylish vehicle. The new Toyota RAV4 now has a more individual look for the segment. It is an altogether leaner and more angular SUV than the model it replaces, with more than a hint of the utilitarian design of the larger Land Cruiser. In Ireland, 17” alloys and LED headlamps come as standard, while Sport models are available with a bi-tone paint option.


The Toyota RAV4 has a new interior with a focus on improved quality and design. The dashboard has an attractive, clean horizontal design with soft touch materials and satin chrome features to add interest. Dials and switches are easy to operate, with a 7" or 8” touchscreen in the centre of the dash. The RAV4 is missing some of the outright glam and plushness of the interior of the smaller Toyota C-HR compact crossover. But in fairness, the plainer cabin of the RAV4 makes more sense with the tougher, utilitarian look of the outside of the vehicle.

The interior of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The interior of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid


The wheelbase has been increased by 30 mm to create more interior space in the new RAV4. This is a five seat SUV with competitive accommodation for this class of vehicle. There's about 40 mm extra width for rear seat passengers and more spacious rear footwells. The opening angle of the rear doors has also been improved to make it easier to access child seats and get in and out. Boot space is up 41 litres to 542 litres with a wide opening making it a practical space to work with. There is a height-adjustable, two-level deck board that can be reversed when dirty items need to be carried.


In Ireland the new RAV4 goes on sale exclusively as a self-charging hybrid. In some markets the new Toyota RAV4 is also offered with a 2.0-litre petrol. The 2019 RAV4 has a new, improved 2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain. There’s more power and greater efficiency. Front wheel drive models now have 218hp, while all wheel drive models have 222hp. The manufacturer quotes fuel consumption of 4.5l/100km on the NEDC 2 cycle and 5.6l/100km under new WLTP. Power is put to the road through a CVT automatic gearbox.

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid goes on sale in Ireland priced from €35,900
The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid goes on sale in Ireland priced from €35,900

On the road

The new RAV4 has a more rigid body and lower centre of gravity with every component now lighter and located lower down in the vehicle for improved comfort and driving dynamics. The response from the electric power steering has also been improved by moving the assist motor from the column to the rack. There's a better driving position and on the road, the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid immediately feels more fluid and engaging. The car handles confidently through corners with more natural and progressive steering. Refinement in town is excellent, with the hybrid operating in near silence. During our test drive, the new RAV4 was comfortable and stable over a variety of road surfaces, though on the motorway we did notice some wind noise from around the mirrors.

Toyota engineers have worked to reduce noise from the CVT gearbox in this new generation of RAV4. However to this reviewer the noise from the CVT gearbox is still a bit of a bugbear, especially when you try to gather speed quickly. Fuel consumption averaged out at about 7.0l/100km during my test drive across town, motorway and country.

We also had the opportunity to test the new Toyota RAV4 AWD model quite extensively off-road. It coped well with steep inclines and declines (without a hill descent control) and slippy, muddy conditions.

The new RAV4 has more interior space than the outgoing model and a larger boot
The new RAV4 has more interior space than the outgoing model and a larger boot


Toyota Ireland is selling the new RAV4 in five grades: Aura, Luna, Sol, Sport and Platinum. Standard features on Aura models (from €35,900) will include 17” alloys, LED lights front and rear, dual exhaust tailpipes, black roof rails, electric parking brake, automatic lights, 7” multimedia system, dual zone climate control with rear vents, folding mirrors, driving mode selector and rear view camera. Toyota Safety Sense 2 is also standard, adding safety equipment such as automatic high beam, driver attention alert, eCall emergency call system, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, road sign assist and lane trace assist.

The Luna model (from €37,590) will add dark grey painted upper front grille, silver front underrun, chrome interior trim, auto wipers, power tailgate, Smart Entry & Start, 8” multimedia system, front fog lamps, and front and rear parking sensors.

The Sol (from €39,590) adds 18” alloys, rear privacy glass, heated front seats, leather upholstery and satellite navigation.

Sport (from €40,990) adds 18” machine-finished alloy wheels, bitone roof, projector LED headlamps, painted lower bumpers and mouldings, painted front fog lamp surrounds, unique sport leather upholstery, black headlining, driver’s electric seat adjustment and lumbar support, and paddle gear shift.

Platinum (pricing tbc) features include 18” alloy wheels, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, chrome outer door handles, leather seats, grey headlining, memory driver seat adjustment, luggage net and heated steering wheel.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is built on a new platform and uses a 2.5-litre self charging hybrid powertrain
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is built on a new platform and uses a 2.5-litre self-charging hybrid powertrain


The new RAV4 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €35,900. Luna is available from €37,590. Sol is available from €39,590. Sport is available from €40,990. Pricing for the Platinum model is to be confirmed. Prices quoted here are for FWD models. We have no confirmation on pricing yet for AWD models. It will be announced closer to when first AWD models arrive in April.


The Toyota RAV4 has many rivals including the Honda CR-V Hybrid, Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5, Renault Koleos, Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq.


The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid arrives in Ireland at a time when car buyers are beginning to look beyond diesel, while Toyota Ireland continues to back hybrid across their range of passenger cars and SUVs. For this new generation, the Toyota RAV4 has been completely reimagined. This new RAV4 makes a much stronger statement, backed up by improved interior quality, the latest technology and safety features, an improved hybrid powertrain and a more enjoyable drive. The new RAV4 Hybrid does not come to market cheap, but is a much improved vehicle and an interesting step away from the classic diesel SUV.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Irish Toyota dealerships now.

Caroline Kidd

toyota prius review ireland

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Review

Toyota has enhanced the Prius Hybrid range in Ireland with the addition of a new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

While the concept of using a petrol engine assisted by an electric motor to boost efficiency and lower CO2 emissions is the same, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid gives customers the option of driving their Prius on pure electric power for a range of up to 50km.

Buyers can charge their Prius like an electric vehicle, meaning that for drivers travelling short distances regularly and access to the facilities to charge the car, they could be dipping into that tank of fuel very little.

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid uses the same 1.8-litre petrol as the regular Prius Hybrid with a lithium ion battery located under the rear load space. The two models can be distinguished by different light clusters front and rear, and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is also slightly longer than a regular Prius. The car is futuristic looking but that rear can look ungainly from some angles.

Getting into the Prius can be a bit of a surprise as the dashboard layout is anything but conventional. The large digital screen to your left displays your speed and other information regarding the hybrid system. It also shows you 'scores' related to how eco-friendly your driving is and encourages you to do better!

While the Toyota Prius Hybrid starts from €31,450, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is significantly more expensive at €37,125. Equipment from base includes four electric windows, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and start, 15" alloys, touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, Pre Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Road Sign Assist and rear view camera.

There is also a Solar grade (from €39,550) that includes a solar roof that helps to recharge the battery (!) and a Luxury grade (from €40,390) that includes front and rear parking sensors, JBL premium sound system and parking assist.

There are a few caveats to this car however aside from the steeper list price. The larger battery means that boot space has been reduced to a shallow 360 litres and there are only two seats in the back: the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is a strict four seater.

In terms of charging the car it's very simple. There is an additional flap on the side of the car and a cable included to charge your car at a public charging point or at home using a wall mounted charger. Charging takes about 2 hours and you can drive the car as a pure electric vehicle for up to 50kms, especially useful if you are an urban driver with a short commute.

Elsewhere, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is a large, comfortable car that is super smooth to drive. The car is heavier than the regular Prius so it doesn't feel as nippy or agile in corners, but the car's most redeeming features are its refinement and fuel sipping character. The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid has extremely low emissions of 22g CO2 per kilometre, while fuel consumption is a claimed 1litre/100km. In real life terms when drawing power from both the petrol engine and the electric motor, it's easy to achieve upwards of 70mpg from this car - no mean feat for a large car like this!

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is an impressively refined and relaxing hybrid to drive but it's not without it's drawbacks, namely the price premium over a regular Prius hybrid and the reduced boot space and rear seating. Yes this car has the potential to be cheaper to run - with the right lifestyle you could effectively run it cheaply as an electric vehicle with a petrol tank as back up on longer journeys. The Toyota Prius is a fine, economical car in its own right; the addition of a plug adds a new dimension to Prius.

Model tested: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid PHV Luxury
Price: €40,390 (Starts at €37,125)
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol/electric hybrid
Power: 122hp
0-100km/h:  11.1 seconds
Top speed: 162km/h
Claimed Economy: 1/100km
CO2 emissions:  22g/km
Motor tax: €170 per year

Caroline Kidd

The popular Toyota Yaris is also available as a hybrid

Toyota Yaris Review (2017)

At Toyota, hybrid power has spread in recent years beyond the Prius to SUVs like the Toyota C-HR and RAV4, and the Toyota Yaris supermini.

With pricing starting from €19,575, the Toyota Yaris Hybrid is an entry point into hybrid motoring. For 2017, Toyota has revised the whole of the Yaris range, with updated styling, interior revisions, new equipment and a new 1.5-litre petrol engine. Toyota has used this update to also work on the refinement of the Yaris Hybrid, so it was worth a closer look.

Part of the brief for this facelift was to make the Yaris a little more dynamic looking. The test car’s grey brown colour finish was probably not the best showcase for a car trying to impart a sporty image, but the nose and rear have been significantly revised. Two new colours have been added to the range – Hydro Blue and Tokyo Red – while higher trimmed models have a chrome insert on the lower side doors and a black rear pillar finish.

2017 Toyota Yaris review ireland
Interior of the 2017 Toyota Yaris

Inside new Yaris, there is now more choice in terms of interior finish, with new, co-ordinated upholstery and trim colour options. The dials and switches are all large and easy to read, and there are some soft touch materials among the harder plastics of the cabin. All but the entry model have the ‘Toyota Touch® 2’ touchscreen infotainment system. Interior space is good for this size of car with good headroom all round and plenty of legroom too, while the 286 litre boot has quite a high load lip but otherwise does the job.

The 3-door Toyota Yaris range kicks off at €15,950 for a 1.0-litre petrol, while the 5-door range starts at €16,950. There are five trim levels: Terra (from €15,950), Luna (from €17,575), Sol (from €19,450), Aura (from €19,575, hybrid only) and Luna Sport (€22,750).

Mid-range Luna models have a good mix of equipment including 15” alloys, touchscreen with Bluetooth, front fog lamps, rear view camera, leather steering wheel and a 4.2 inch information screen for the driver.  Automatic High Beam and Pre Collision System are standard on all grades, while Lane Departure Alert and Road Sign Assist are standard on Luna, Luna Sport and Sol.

2017 Toyota Yaris review ireland
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid has a low emissions powertrain

Engine options for the 2017 Toyota Yaris range include a 1.0-litre petrol engine, a new 1.5-litre petrol, 1.4-litre diesel and a hybrid. According to Toyota Ireland, hybrid currently accounts for more than 35% of Yaris sales in Ireland, so this is a genuine option for Toyota buyers. The Yaris Hybrid uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, with a CVT automatic gearbox.

Efficiency is a key priority for hybrid buyers and the Yaris Hybrid has emissions of just 82g C02 so motor tax is €170 per year. In real life driving, upwards of 50mpg is easily achievable, and the car is exceptionally efficient in low speed town and city driving, switching seamlessly between silent electric power and engine power as appropriate.

The Yaris Hybrid rides and handles pretty well too and Toyota has reengineered the Hybrid for quieter performance. Under light to moderate acceleration, it is very smooth and quiet but hit the accelerator hard to pick up speed quickly out of town for example, and the engine will hold onto the revs onto you reach your desired speed in the familiar manner of a CVT gearbox.

2017 Toyota Yaris review ireland
The Toyota Yaris is available from €15,950, with hybrids starting from €19,575

The Yaris Hybrid carries a premium over the smaller petrol models in the Yaris range, but it’s a properly frugal small car and is especially worth considering for urban motorists. Toyota has updated the styling and the interior, but the Yaris is still lacking that touch of desirability that Nissan for example has added to their radical new Micra. Yet the Yaris is spacious, comfortable and perfectly functional so it won’t be toppled from its position as one of Ireland’s favourite superminis any time soon!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Sol
€21,600 (Yaris from €15,950)
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Torque: 111Nm
11.8 seconds
Top speed: 165km/h
Claimed Economy: 
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax: 
€170 per year

If you are looking for a hybrid car for the city, you might also like this view of the Kia Niro.

Toyota C-HR review ireland

Toyota C-HR Review (2017)

Toyota is hardly a brand that’s been known for avant-garde design in recent years. But with their new crossover, the Toyota C-HR, the rule book has been thrown out and replaced with a little of that edgy style that makes the cars from sister brand Lexus so distinct.

The Toyota C-HR (Coupe High Rider) is the most adventurous-looking Toyota we’ve seen in years and the car’s coupe-like features are testament to the designers’ desire to create a stand-out style for Toyota among mid-sized crossovers.

Inside, Toyota has created a cool, contemporary interior with swathes of piano black, plenty of soft touch materials and diamond-shaped detail dotted throughout. It is one of the most stylish Toyota interiors to date. The large 8” touchscreen in the centre is particularly impressive.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The interior of the Toyota C-HR

With pricing starting at €26,895, the Toyota C-HR is priced in Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai territory. Remember Toyota also has the larger RAV4 family SUV in their range, but C-HR is the cooler sibling. It will fit three in the back and the middle seat is comfortable enough. Headroom is also good. The only issue is that it's a bit dark back there because of the high, tapered-off window line. The boot is 370 litres, so about as big as your average family hatchback, and practical for everyday use.

There are three trim levels for new C-HR offered in Ireland – Luna, Luna Sport and Sol – and the car is well equipped from base with 17” alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps, Toyota Touch 2 with rear view monitor, Pre-Collision System (including Pedestrian Recognition), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering control, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist.

Luna Sport adds 18” alloys, bi-tone roof, rear privacy glass, heated seats and a smart entry system. Top of the range Sol models add part leather upholstery, satellite navigation and park assist.

Buyers can choose from a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with a manual gearbox or the 1.8-litre petrol hybrid model that incorporates an automatic transmission. There is no four wheel drive option or diesel. Prices start at €26,895 for the 1.2 petrol in Luna trim, €29,950 for Luna Sport and €30,950 for Sol. Hybrids start from €29,350.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol or as a hybrid

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol produces 116hp with CO2 emissions from 135g/km. The C-HR hybrid has the latest-generation hybrid power plant of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, producing 120hp with CO2 emissions as low as 86g/km and a claimed fuel consumption of 74mpg.

My test car had the 1.2-litre petrol engine and the engine gives good performance with 0 to 100kmh achieved in 10.9 seconds. The car returned close to 40mpg for me over a week of driving. The turbo provides good flexibility but there is still a little working of the gearbox needed in the higher gears to make decent progress.

The C-HR is smooth and agile to drive with light controls. There is good grip and the car holds the road well. There is not much feedback to the steering, but there is enough resistance to get around corners with confidence and overall, the C-HR is a fun and agile crossover to drive. Comfort and refinement are excellent with just a little road noise on the motorway.

With the new C-HR, Toyota has done a great job to create a stylish product with real emotional appeal, and the quality and design of the interior makes this new crossover feel more than just a mass-produced, mid-priced compact SUV. That cool design has a few compromises however so it won’t be the most family-friendly crossover out there, but it’s a smooth and agile drive, and relishes urban life.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available from €26,895

Model tested: Toyota C-HR 1.2T Sol
€30,950 (Range starts at €26,895)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Torque: 185Nm
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a quirky crossover you might also like this review of the Suzuki Vitara.

2017 Toyota Corolla Ireland Review

Toyota Corolla Review (2017)

The Toyota Corolla is one of the old perennials of the motoring world. It’s been around for over 50 years and 44 million have been sold worldwide. In Ireland, we love the Corolla: it’s consistently one of the top 10 bestselling models here.

Just what is it about this rather innocuous four door saloon that has made it so popular and immune from changes in consumer buying habits? Even the SUV can’t kill off the Corolla.

What's new for the Corolla in 2017?

We will get back to that but first let’s look at what’s new with this 2017 model. The exterior styling has been freshened up at the front and the back but most people will still recognise this car as the Corolla that launched in 2013. There are new LED headlamps at the front and a revised front bumper with a large lower grille. At the back there are new LED light clusters and new chrome trim that gives the rear a look of more width.

Inside the dashboard layout has also been revised. It’s easy to navigate and a centrally mounted 7” touchscreen adds modernity, standard on all but the base model. There is a good mix of materials with some soft padding along the dashboard, but hard plastics feature a lot. Still the quality is good and there is little to complain about behind the wheel.

2017 Toyota Corolla Ireland Review
The interior of the 2017 Toyota Corolla

Is the Toyota Corolla good value?

The space in the car is excellent, and rear passengers are exceptionally well catered for with lots of legroom. There is no high transmission tunnel, which has really optimised space for the middle seat passenger and that makes the Corolla perfect for carrying three in the back. The boot is 452 litres, and though naturally the saloon boot style makes access more difficult, the opening is still quite wide and practical for a saloon.

The Toyota Corolla is well-priced, with the range starting at €21,995. In Ireland there are three trims – Terra, Luna and Sol – with standard features including cruise control, air con, Bluetooth and 16” steel wheels. Luna models (from €23,365) add the Toyota Safety Sense suite of safety equipment including a pre-collision system with pedestrian recognition, lane departure alert and road sign assist, as well as the Toyota Touch 2 infotainment system, rear view camera, auto lights and 16” alloy wheels. Sol models (from €26,750) add climate control, heated front seats, rear privacy glass and 17” alloys.

2017 Toyota Corolla Ireland Review
The Toyota is a good value, large family car

There are manual and automatic gearboxes, and a choice of 1.3- or 1.6-litre petrols, and a 1.4-litre diesel. The 1.4-litre diesel has just 90hp but offers ample power for the Corolla and is especially efficient, returning as high as 67mpg for me on some trips. The diesel gurgles away but it never gets too loud in the cabin. Elsewhere, the Corolla is a relaxing drive. The steering is light and the handling is not sporty but it is more than adequate. The long wheelbase makes the car very comfortable, especially on the motorway, though rougher surfaces do make themselves known in the cabin and there is some road noise.

The verdict on the new Toyota Corolla

It’s easy to understand the success of the Toyota Corolla because it’s a great sized car, reasonably priced and it’s solid to drive. The Corolla is not the sort of car you desire but it will be a great friend that won’t let you down.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Corolla 1.4D-4D Sol
€26,750 (Range starts at €21,995)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo diesel
Torque: 205Nm
12.5 seconds
Top speed: 180km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€190 per year

If you are looking for a spacious, good value family car, you might also like this review of the Skoda Octavia.

To find out more visit

toyota prius review ireland

Toyota Prius Review

The Toyota Prius made history when it was first launched back in 1997 as the world’s first hybrid car. Toyota’s pioneering technology combined a petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a low emission vehicle that had the potential to return excellent fuel efficiency.

The beauty of the Prius was that competitive pricing meant this was the car for everyone, not just a trophy piece of cutting-edge technology for the rich and famous. Ironically it became something of a statement for those very people, not for its exclusivity, but for what it stood for, the eco-credentials that it turns out, you just can’t put a price on in Hollywood.

The Prius didn’t look sexy but even before we knew what ‘normcore’ was the Prius was just cool because it was so ordinary, green and clean. The Prius was the world’s most famous environmentally friendly car before the tech bods starting building cars.

Toyota has bounced back for the fourth generation of the Prius with something that looks very interesting. The styling of the new Prius is inspired by Toyota’s Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car and it really is a talking point. Yet somehow the styling suits the pioneering character of this car – the technology underneath may be less groundbreaking than it was back in the late 1990s but in the company of this new sharp, avant-garde Prius, you feel a little bit like you’re already two steps ahead of everyone else.

The headline economy data is also worth talking about. Each new generation of the Prius has delivered improvements in fuel economy, emissions and efficiency. In the new Prius, fuel efficiency is up to a claimed 94mpg and CO2 is down to 70g/km.

Inside, it’s like sitting into a concept car for the first time, but unlike something you might find on a stand in Geneva, New York or Paris, everything here is completely usable and functional. The interior works together so well once you get over the shock of the centrally dash mounted driver information screen and handbrake that’s released by a pedal in the footwell.

Instead you have a small compact steering wheel and the car on test had a head-up display with important vehicle information like your speed displayed in the driver's direct line of vision. It’s futuristic but beautifully clean and simple, and the material quality nods to the premium, not the cheap and nasty. Just to the left in your field of vision is a digital speedometer, and other information displayed about your fuel consumption, range, and a power meter.

The Prius again takes the shape of a practical five door hatchback. In the back you will fit three adults and a low transmission tunnel means the middle passenger has a nice flat space to put their feet. Boot space is up to a generous 502 litres thanks to a smaller hybrid battery located beneath the rear seats and a new rear suspension set-up.

The Prius sits on a new generation of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain. The new platform has a lower centre of gravity for better handling and stability. The Prius feels agile on the road. The steering is light when you want it around town but it weights up nicely in the corners so you can place the car accurately on the road, and there is no problem nipping in and out of corners on a tight country road.

The most pleasing thing about the way the Prius drives is just how smooth, silent and effortless it is on the move. Underneath there’s a conventional 1.8-litre petrol engine and together with the electric motor the system produces 122bhp. That sounds like quite a modest amount of power for a large car but 0-100kmh is just 10.6 seconds.  You get a boost of torque from the electric motor so the Prius pulls away swiftly from a standstill, and even once cruising, there is always more power to tap into.

The Prius features a CVT automatic gearbox as standard and it mostly performs well, unless you should hit the accelerator very hard to pick up speed quickly where it does get noisy, sounding like it’s holding onto the gear without changing, but this is quite characteristic of these gearboxes.  The car switches between electric and hybrid power independent of any driver input and the process is completely silent and seamless. As you pull off and around town under 30kmh you’ll notice the car runs on pure electric power favourably, which we know is good for your wallet too.

toyota prius ireland review
Toyota Prius: The new model will return up to 94mpg

And what of that economy? On some trips I saw as high as 74mpg, though my average for the week with the car was 67mpg. Not bad considering this is a large car with an automatic gearbox, and that also included some motorway runs.  With a number of gauges and meters to measure how economical you are driving, the car actually encourages you to drive in a more eco-friendly way.

The new Prius range starts at €31,450 in Ireland, rising to €33,550 for the Luxury trim. Standard equipment includes LED lights, 15” alloys, Bluetooth, 'Toyota Touch 2' multimedia system with touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering control, road sign assist, and rear view camera. Luxury models add 17” alloys, keyless entry and start, wireless mobile phone charger, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, head-up display, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

Toyota has made a valiant effort with this new Prius and it really does feel like a step forward in the right direction for hybrid power. This car could prove to be very economical to run while still enjoying the benefits of a large petrol car with an automatic gearbox – the smoothness of the drive and the blissful noise-free cabin. The styling of this new car will be divisive, maybe just too unusual for some, but at least in the cabin, the futuristic design makes absolute sense and the number of high tech features on this car as standard makes the Prius seem like very good value.

toyota prius review ireland
Toyota Prius: It's time to rethink how you like your hatchbacks

Since the Toyota Prius was first launched, hybrid technology has moved from the fringes to being a more mainstream choice. Yet in Ireland, large cars like the Prius are typically diesel powered…I think a drive in the Prius will make you rethink how you like your big cars.

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Toyota Prius Luxury
€33,550 (Range starts at €31,450)
1.8-litre four cylinder petrol and electric motor
 10.6 seconds
CO2 Emissions:
Motor Tax:
€170 per year