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.the more it stays the same? Toyota's Corolla has taken a big step forward. June Neary checks it out
Added 6th December, 2019
The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is the estate version of Toyota's practical family hatchback. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.
In MK4 form, Toyota's Prius finally made real world sense. A car you can justify buying, even if you're not trying to make some kind of environmental statement. True, it isn't cheap but it's decent value for what you get, especially if you compare against comparably-specified high-efficiency diesel rivals featuring engine technology that by comparison, dates back to the Ark.
With enhanced driving dynamics, a roomier cabin and more user-friendly design, this fourth generation version dealt with many of the drawbacks which used to be part and parcel of Prius ownership. As a result, Toyota created a model that used car buyers looking for a family hatch hybrid from this period might find difficult to ignore in the gloomy times we live in. A Prius for the people then? That's about the size of it. Toyota's hybrid revolution continues to gather pace.
With the Mirai, Toyota pioneered hydrogen fuel cell motoring. Can this MK2 model further develop it? Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
In the Toyota Corolla, we have a name from the past which packages up technology from the future. Very soon, all family hatchback-class models will feature model line-ups that are primarily electrified. But Toyota has brought us that right now. In a car its volume brand competitors will have to take very seriously indeed.
If you're going the hybrid route with a car in this sector, it makes sense to buy into the brand that has most experience in producing this kind of powertrain - and that's unquestionably Toyota. But this model also has other things to recommend it, with levels of safety and media connectivity that rivals struggle to better. If you're looking for a car in this segment, a Corolla probably isn't currently on your shopping list. We think it ought to be.
In developing this car, Toyota apparently had someone in mind. Annoyingly, they even gave that person a name - 'Valentino', a trendy twenty-something type and - of course - a dedicated follower of fashion. This C-HR is certainly that and if you are too, you'll love it. If, on the other hand you're not, it might be tempting to take an instant dislike to the thing merely on the basis of its rather pretentious perspective on life. Don't do that; there's actually quite a lot to like here. The driving dynamics have been fine-tuned to a level that's unusual in a Crossover. And though it hurts us a little to say it, the people in polo necks did rather a fine job with the bizarre bodywork and the creative cabin.
In summary, as you've probably gathered, we liked this C-HR a lot more than we were expecting to, given that our test team aren't target market for the demographic it represents. Can this really be the same brand that thought an iQ or a Yaris was the height of fashion and believed Crossover buyers would like their dumpy Urban Cruiser? Forget that now. Much has changed at Toyota. If you doubt that, just go and try one of these.
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