Toyota Corolla Touring Sports review

Category: Estate car

The Corolla Touring Sports is an efficient and well-equipped estate car

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports front cornering
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports front cornering
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior dashboard
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports boot
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior driver display
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports right driving
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports rear driving
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports front cornering
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports driving downhill
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports headlights detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports rear lights detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports alloy wheel detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports kickplate detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior front seats
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior back seats
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior steering wheel
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior infotainment
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports front cornering
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior dashboard
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports boot
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior driver display
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports right driving
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports rear driving
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports front cornering
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports driving downhill
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports headlights detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports rear lights detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports alloy wheel detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports kickplate detail
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior front seats
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior back seats
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior steering wheel
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior infotainment
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Diesel estates were once the go-to vehicles for families wanting a relatively frugal car with lots of space. Now, though – with diesel losing favour – this Toyota Corolla Touring Sports and other self-charging petrol hybrids are growing in popularity.

So, what is a self-charging hybrid exactly? Well, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have big enough batteries to drive on electric power over a good distance, they also require plugging in to recharge if you want the best fuel economy.

In contrast, the Corolla Touring Sports – like the Toyota Corolla it's based on – constantly tops up a smaller hybrid battery as it drives along. That means you can’t drive on electric power alone for any significant distance, but you can still get some impressive fuel economy figures without the need to plug it in.

Is that enough to give the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports the edge over the best estate cars out there, including the sharp-handling Ford Focus Estate and the very capacious Skoda Octavia Estate? Read on to find out…

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports rear cornering

Overview

The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is a unique and rather convincing proposition, offering exceptionally low running costs, great residual values and plenty of standard equipment. Its boot isn’t quite as large as those found in conventional rivals, but it’s not far off. We recommend the 1.8-litre engine with Icon trim.

  • Impressively low CO2 emissions on hybrids
  • Comfortable ride
  • Great reliability record
  • More wind and road noise than in rivals
  • So-so infotainment system
  • 12.3in digital instrument cluster could be easier to use
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Our Pick

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Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The entry-level engine for the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is a 1.8-litre hybrid petrol that delivers 138bhp, for a 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds. That's noticeably quicker than the 123bhp 1.0-litre Ford Focus Estate (Ecoboost 125), which takes 10.5 seconds to do the same sprint.

The 1.8 has more than enough performance for everyday driving and getting up to motorway speeds when it’s just you in the car. The only time you might need a bit more oomph is when you want to overtake on a country road or if the car full of people and luggage.

For that, you’ll probably want the other engine option, the 2.0-litre hybrid petrol. With 193bhp, it feels far punchier than the 1.8 when you hit the throttle and reduces the 0-62mph sprint to 7.7 seconds (faster than the 155 mHEV Focus). It's a versatile engine that’ll ensure the Touring Sports never struggles in any situation.

Suspension and ride comfort

The Corolla Touring Sports is effectively the Goldilocks of estate cars when it comes to ride quality, striking an almost perfect balance between suppleness and control. Let us explain... 

By being firmer than the Skoda Octavia Estate but softer than the Focus Estate, the Touring Sports has enough compliance to take the worst out of big bumps and potholes yet never feels floaty over sudden crests.

The ride even remains brilliantly composed over the sort of scarred and patched-up surfaces you find in most towns and cities.

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Handling

When driven in a leisurely fashion, the Touring Sports handles well enough. The steering is fairly accurate and builds weight in a predictable and reassuring fashion. There’s a decent feeling of composure, as long as you don't expect really quick changes of direction.

When you start to push harder, you notice that the car is less keen to tuck its nose in to corners than the Focus Estate or even the Octavia Estate, and runs out of front-end grip sooner than either. Put simply, if you want a car that’ll have you grinning on a challenging road, there are better options.

One of Touring Sports' trims is called GR Sport, but while it references the Toyota performance brand, it's not performance version – just a trim level that adds styling tweaks and some extra equipment.

Noise and vibration

One great thing about hybrid cars is how hushed they can be when you’re just pootling around town. The electric motor can manage on its own in stop-start traffic, progress is virtually silent and the petrol engine doesn’t spoil the peace too much when it does cut in to provide assistance.

On faster and inclined roads, the Corolla Touring Sports’ petrol engine begins to growl away. The blame lies with its CVT automatic gearbox which causes the engine revs to soar until you ease off – the revised engines have reduced the noise, but it’s still there for short periods.

Tyre and wind noise are not as well suppressed as they might be, with more sound coming from the larger boot than you'll hear with the Toyota Corolla hatchback. The 2.0-litre hybrid is better than the 1.8 at isolating you from the outside world, thanks to its "acoustic" side glass.

Driving overview

Strengths Comfortable ride; good performance; refined around town

Weaknesses More wind and road noise than rivals

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior dashboard

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

The driver's seat in the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports offers a decent amount of support and a reasonably generous range of movement, including height and powered lumbar adjustment (for the driver) on all trims. You shouldn't have any problems getting comfy.

There are annoyances, though. Most cars have a wheel (or electric controls) for fine-tuning the backrest angle, but the Touring Sports has a lever with limited settings. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height, but its extension in and out isn't as extensive as in some rivals, including the Ford Focus Estate. 

There are big, easy-to-use buttons and dials for the air-conditioning system, and the 12.3in digital driver's display is easy to read. It’s just as configurable as the Skoda Octavia Estate’s digital dashboard, but requires a lot more button pressing to switch between the various media, trip and hybrid system displays, so it's fiddlier to use when you're driving.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

The Corolla Touring Sports gives you a good view of the road ahead and out of the side windows at junctions.

Relatively chunky rear pillars mean over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t as good as in the Octavia Estate, but that doesn’t present too much of a problem because every version comes with front and rear parking sensors, as well as a rear-view camera.

Powerful LED headlights are fitted as standard across the range and are a boon at night. In most rivals, you’ll usually need to pay extra or upgrade to a posh trim level for comparable technology.

Sat nav and infotainment

The Touring Sports has a 10.5in infotainment touchscreen positioned high up on the dashboard, where it’s really easy to see. Better still, the screen responds quickly to your inputs when you start prodding around.

On the minus side, the screen resolution isn't hugely impressive and the graphics for the built-in sat-nav (standard with on all trim levels) are rather basic. What’s more, while the operating system is slightly more intuitive than the Octavia Estate’s, it can’t match the best systems, including the ones in the Audi A4 Avant and the BMW 3 Series Touring.

Thankfully, all Corolla Touring Sports come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring so you can bypass the Toyota software and use apps from your phone on the infotainment screen. You also get DAB radio and Bluetooth, while the standard six-speaker stereo is clear and punchy.

Quality

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for feeling slightly underwhelmed by the Touring Sports’ interior. The design is restrained, conventional and – dare we say it? – even slightly old-fashioned.

However, when you start touching things, you soon realise that Toyota has used high-quality materials that are screwed together in a way that puts most estate cars – including the Ford Focus Estate and the Peugeot 308 SW – to shame. It's no A4 Avant or 3 Series Touring, but those are much more expensive premium models.

Interior overview

Strengths Great interior quality; comfortable driving position; good visibility

Weaknesses Infotainment system could be better

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports boot

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

There's plenty of space in the front of the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, and tall drivers will fit in fine.

The front seats slide back a long way, and while some estate cars have a bit more head room, you shouldn't feel hemmed in. The interior is wide enough to keep some space between you and a front-seat passenger.

You get plenty of storage too, including a generous glovebox, various trays and cubbies dotted about, and the obligatory twin cupholders in the centre console. Our only slight demerit is that the door pockets are a bit stingy, but that’s splitting hairs.

Rear space

The Touring Sports is usefully more spacious in the rear than the Toyota Corolla hatchback. In fact, there’s fractionally more leg room than you’ll find in a Skoda Octavia Estate. Head room is slightly tighter, but six-footers should still be able to fit with relative ease.

There’s plenty of space for three children to sit side by side and the central tunnel is much smaller than the one in the Octavia Estate. That makes things a whole lot more comfortable for the middle passenger because they don’t have to place their feet either side of the hump.

A central armrest with two cupholders is standard on all models, and the rear door pockets are a decent size. There are two adjustable air vents for people in the back seats (you don’t get those in the hatchback).

Seat folding and flexibility

The rear seats don’t recline or do anything else particularly clever, but in fairness, nor do those in the Touring Sports’ rivals.

Still, the seat backs do split 60/40 split and fold down, and the process is straightforward: you simply tug the levers next to the rear head restraints or use the lever pulls on either side of the boot wall. Some estate cars, including the Peugeot 308 SW, enable you to drop the seats in a more versatile 40/20/40 split. 

Like the hatchback, the Corolla Touring Sports doesn't have a ski hatch for poking long items through into the rear seating area.

Boot space

As with the Corolla hatchback, the Touring Sports' boot size depends on which of the two engines you choose, but either version is big enough for a couple of pushchairs or a decent haul of shopping.

The 1.8-litre model can muster 596 litres of carrying capacity with the seats up, while the 2.0-litre model cuts it to 581 litres. That's because the bigger engine doesn’t leave enough space for the hybrid battery under the bonnet, so it lurks under a cover on the right side of the boot floor. For reference, the Octavia Estate can take a whopping 640 litres.

The boot in the Corolla Touring Sports is a practical square shape, and has an adjustable floor to help you make the most of the space on offer. There's also a long light strip that illuminates the load area at night.

Practicality overview

Strengths Plenty of front and rear space; decent-sized boot

Weaknesses Some rivals have more versatile rear seats

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports interior driver display

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

If there’s one thing that makes the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports really compelling, it’s as a company car.

You see, every version has low CO2 emissions, and the 1.8-litre hybrid model emits as little as 101g/km, which puts it in one of the lowest benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bands in the estate car class. Likewise, the more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid emits 100 to 108g/km (depending on the exact spec). 

Official fuel economy figures for the hybrid models are among the best in the class too, with both engines managing more than 60mpg. Generally speaking, hybrid cars tend to be at their most economical around town, while diesels provide better economy on motorways.

We reckon the Touring Sports also makes plenty of sense to private buyers. True, it’s more expensive to buy outright than the Ford Focus Estate and the Skoda Octavia Estate, but you can get some great Toyota Corolla Touring Sports deals to help make up the difference. 

Plus, it’s predicted to have better resale values than most of its rivals (the Focus Estate and Octavia included), and that helps make PCP finance payments surprisingly affordable.

Equipment, options and extras

There are four trim levels for the Corolla Touring Sports – Icon, Design, Excel and GR Sport. All come well-equipped, but our pick is entry-level Icon.

Icon comes with dusk-sensing headlights, dual-zone air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, 16in alloy wheels, parking sensors, a reversing camera and touchscreen infotainment.

Design trim won’t cost you much more, and gets you larger 17in wheels, keyless entry, automatic windscreen wipers, privacy glass and heated wing mirrors.

Sporty looking GR Sport trim adds some styling tweaks and 18in wheels, while top-spec Excel models get lots of toys, including adaptive high-beam headlights, a head-up display and extra safety kit. They’re both quite expensive though.

Reliability

Toyota has long had a great track record when it comes to reliability, and its performance in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey shows nothing has changed. It took second place after its luxury brand Lexus in first out of 32 car makers listed.

The Corolla Sports Tourer didn't feature in the survey but the Corolla hatchback finished near the top of the family car category, so the estate should serve you well.

On the off chance that things do go wrong, you get a 10-year/100,000-mile if you service the vehicle at a Toyota dealer every year. That’s longer cover than other estate cars. The Kia Ceed Sportswagon comes closest, with its seven-year warranty.

Safety and security

The Corolla Touring Sports received the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was tested in 2019.

The Octavia was tested more recently, under more stringent testing, so we can’t compare its score directly, but the Focus was tested in the same year. That rival matches the Corolla’s rating, but ultimately scored slightly higher when it came to protecting adult and child occupants.

Regardless of trim level, every Corolla Touring Sports is fitted with plenty of active safety aids to help you avoid a collision in the first place, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition and automatic high-beam assistance. Top-spec Excel adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

All versions of the Corolla come with an alarm and an immobiliser.

Costs overview

Strengths Plenty of standard equipment; strong reliability; low CO2 emissions

Weaknesses More expensive than rivals to buy outright

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FAQs

  • As a cash purchase, the Corolla Touring Sports costs slightly more than the Ford Focus Estate and the Skoda Octavia Estate. You can check the latest prices using our New Car Deals pages.

  • Every Corolla Touring Sports comes with a self-charging hybrid engine, which is really efficient. In fact, regardless of whether you go for the 1.8 or 2.0-litre version, it’ll officially manage more than 60mpg.

  • The Corolla Touring Sports is 4.7m long, 1.8m wide and 1.5m tall. That makes it around the same length as the Skoda Octavia Estate but not quite as tall or wide.

At a glance
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Target Price from £29,437
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RRP price range £31,830 - £38,650
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)hybrid
MPG range across all versions 58.9 - 64.2
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,517 / £1,921
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £3,034 / £3,842
Available colours