The new Toyota Corolla Saloon
The new Toyota Corolla Saloon

Caroline drives the new Toyota Corolla Saloon!

It’s fair to say that the Toyota Corolla Saloon is one of Ireland’s best loved cars. But even legends like the Corolla saloon have to move with the times. Indeed, there’s something of a revolution going on at Toyota since Toyota Global President, Akio Toyoda, declared “no more boring cars!” from the brand. At that means you too, Corolla!

The revolution is partly down to Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that is underpinning a whole new generation of models including the RAV4, Camry and Corolla.

There’s also been a little housekeeping going on at Toyota. The Toyota Auris name has now been discontinued. Instead a new family of compact models – a hatchback, estate and saloon – will all wear the Corolla badge.

The new Corolla Saloon also debuts a hybrid powertrain for the first time, which is good news for Irish buyers. Toyota’s 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain has been significantly revised and improved to make for a smoother and more efficient drive.

The Toyota Corolla Saloon is available from €25,685
The Toyota Corolla Saloon is available from €25,685

What’s new for the Toyota Corolla Saloon?

In looks alone, this new Corolla Saloon is a handsome beast with a wide and low stance. At the front the styling is a small bit different to the hatchback and estate with a unique LED light signature, while around the rear it’s as sharp as a Samurai sword!

Inside the Toyota Corolla has an all new interior with improvements in design, quality and technology. There are plenty of soft touch materials and a number of technology features including the digital instrument panel and central touchscreen for the infotainment. However the absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from the main touchscreen is a bit disappointing.

The new Toyota Corolla Saloon is priced from €25,685 with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, while the hybrid is available from €26,820. There are four trim levels – Aura, Luna, Luna Sport and Sol – with standard equipment including 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.

My test car was a Luna Sport Hybrid with a list price of €29,995. Equipment included 17” alloys, 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 boon for the Corolla Saloon is that it sits on a longer wheelbase than the hatchback. That means that it is generously sized in the rear for carrying passengers. The car feels spacious and airy for its class. At 471 litres, the boot is only outsized by the Corolla Touring Sports and the opening is wide enough for a saloon also making the space more usable.

The interior of the new Toyota Corolla Saloon
The interior of the new Toyota Corolla Saloon

Driving the new Toyota Corolla Saloon

On the road the longer wheelbase also pays dividends for comfort. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Corolla Saloon is very comfortable and relaxing to drive. The hybrid powertrain has 122hp and offers smooth power delivery and decent acceleration. Give it too much throttle and the CVT gearbox does protest with more transmission whine, but at a relaxed pace, this car just wafts along effortlessly. It handles and steers with ease also. Over a few days of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 4.9l/100km while motor tax is €180 per year.

The new Toyota Corolla Saloon is the more classic and traditional member of the new Corolla family, but it feels much more modern and sophisticated than the car it replaces. A sharp new look for the outside and a new interior bring the Corolla Saloon into a new era, but the traditional Corolla values of comfort and space remain.

The Corolla Saloon is the one for ‘big car’ comfort and refinement, now with hybrid power and efficiency!

The Toyota Corolla Saloon scores for comfort and space
The Toyota Corolla Saloon scores for comfort and space

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Corolla Saloon Hybrid Luna Sport
Price:
€29,995 (range from €25,685)
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
122 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Fuel economy:
4.3 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
98 g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year