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Car of the Year Awards 2024: Estate Car of the Year

While estates lack the fashionable status of SUVs, they’re more practical. But an estate also needs to be a pleasure to spend time in, and easy to live with beyond the simple virtue of space...

WINNER: Estate Car of the Year

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 1.8 Hybrid Icon

COTY 2024 logo with Motoreasy

After reading about the theory of evolution in Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, Herbert Spencer coined the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’, when talking about natural selection. And just like the many species of animals we have today, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate has come out on top in its evolutionary battle.

You see, while a diesel estate car used to be the best choice for a family looking for a spacious and efficient vehicle, the hybrid Corolla Touring Sports is a better option these days.

In our recommended form, the Corolla’s 1.8-litre petrol engine is supported by a battery and electric motor, allowing it to travel on electric power alone at times but without the need for you to plug it in to recharge.

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports driving side

As a result, the Touring Sports is incredibly efficient and can officially average 62.7mpg – more than any Ford Focus Estate and a match for the Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI. That efficiency, along with Toyota’s fantastic reliability record, makes it easy to recommend the Corolla Touring Sports to private buyers.

Meanwhile, company car buyers will like that CO2 emissions are kept to a minimum by the hybrid system, helping to lower the amount they’ll pay each month in benefit-in-kind tax. An added bonus is that, combined, the electric motor and engine put 138bhp at your disposal – enough to get you up to motorway speeds with ease, even when the car is heavily loaded with passengers and luggage. But if you do want more poke, a 193bhp 2.0-litre hybrid is also available.

The Corolla Touring Sports really impresses for ride comfort, too, striking a fine balance between suppleness and control. It’s firmer than the Octavia Estate, ensuring that it remains composed along undulating roads, but it’s also softer than the Focus Estate, so it takes the sting out of potholes with ease. Even over the heavily scarred roads you’re likely to encounter in town centres, the Touring Sports copes well.

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports boot

None of this would matter if practicality disappointed, but there’s actually fractionally more rear leg room than you get in the Octavia Estate. And while luggage space varies slightly depending on which engine you go for, if you stick with the 1.8-litre version, you get a large, square boot with 596 litres of space and a low, flat floor, making it capable of lugging more cargo than the Focus Estate.

True, the Octavia Estate has an even more cavernous load bay, but neither that car nor any other estate can balance practicality, comfort, price and efficiency as well as the Corolla Touring Sports.

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