With the Corolla being at its twelfth generation, Toyota needs to keep fresh and keep bringing their A-game to the stage. Did they nail it? Or will the Toyota Corolla die a silent death?

Top sales

The story of the Corolla started in 1966 and by 1974, it was the best-selling car worldwide. In 2016, Toyota had sold 44 million Corollas since its start. FYI, “Corolla” is Latin for “small crown”. The twelfth gen Corolla was introduced in 2018 and now it’s time for Team CJ to see if it’s any good.

So is it any good?

Yes, it is! It’s even so good that this car could be a great starting grid for a fullsize “Hot Hybrid Hatchback”. The chassis is so well balanced and can deal with a lot more power before it would fail. It’s focused and comfortable at the same time. Combined with a direct steering, could you ask for more in this segment?

We could ask for a better (other) gearbox and some more power. The gearbox is an E-CVT, maybe our least favorite gearbox … EVER! Don’t get us wrong though. For cruising around, that E-CVT does the job and does it pretty well. It is comfy trough its gears but when you floor it, the engine whines and the car doesn’t really go anywhere fast, and that’s a shame for that awesome chassis. The 180 hp and 190 Nm of torque -created by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder combined with an electric engine- pulls the Corolla to 100 km/h in 7,9 seconds while the top speed is 180 km/h. Again pity, if you know how good the chassis is.

Probably one of the most important reasons to buy the Corolla is its fuel-economy and CO2-figure. With a CO2 of 89g/km and a fuel-efficiency of 3,6l/100km, the Toyota Corolla is at the top in its class. I could average a 4,9l/100km and that number really depends on what kind of traffic you are stuck in on a daily base. For the daily commute, I don’t need to use the highway and the car can recover a lot of energy thanks to breaking. Cruise control on 120 km/h and go with the flow will give you a higher figure. To give a fuel consumption figure for, let us say 70 km/h, is pretty impossible. The car can drive as hybrid, fully electric or full petrol (and charging the battery) at that speed and they give very different end results.

A little tip from the CJ-crew: a manual gearbox and around 50 more horsepower and 50 Nm of torque would bring you a spot in our ‘favorite cars’ list.

Funky new Corolla

A massive leap for the exterior of the new Toyota Corolla. The Corolla gets corners, angles and edges that will invite new clientage to Toyota. In our week with the Corolla, we haven’t had one bad remark on the new Toyota Corolla from bystanders or friends, and that’s rather rare (we have special friends). It’s unanimous: the Toyota Corolla is one good looking car.

Everything starts at the beginning, and here it’s sleek nose. Thanks to the GR Sport, the car looks even meaner than in the normal trim. The gorgeous spear-shaped headlights, with inserted day running lights- fit perfectly in the sharply drawn front bumper. Ascending lines at the side contribute to the “hot hatch“-feeling and certainly with the 2-tone bodypaint and the 2-tone rims. Again Toyota, well done.

And then the back. The taillights: Yes, the “GR-Sport“-logo: Yes, the rear bumper with the bold line on to the booth lit: Yes, but those fake exhaust-decoration-thingies: No, HELL NO! That’s one thing the car really doesn’t need and it draws the most attention.

6 drivingmodes to choose from

On the inside, there is a lot to like and just a few things that got us like “Wait, what?!“. First the things we didn’t like that much, being the 6(!) driving choices (just to much, it’s okay to have 3), the flappy pedals at the steering wheel (it’s an E-CVT!) and the old looking navigation system. Now onto the good stuff.

Getting into the car with keyless entry and resting your bum on the awesome looking, and immensely supportive, and comfy seats is something Toyota nailed. Feeling the correct size leather steering wheel with beautiful red stitching, and knowing it will handle as good as it looks. Try to forget those shifting pedals though.

Some people will whine about the infotainment system is on top of the dashboard like an iPad, but to be honest. I like it. It also works without being overdramatic and over-complicated, the way a non-tech guy like me wants to see it. Probably it’s too simple for the digital-children, who want to connect their smartphones to the car to get the navigation from Waze. Don’t worry, you can do that too.


Looking for a new hatchback? Or maybe a wagon in this segment? You need to go check out the new Toyota Corolla. The interesting design and driving pleasure should be enough to overshadow the few downsides. Not able to convince the wife? Keep pointing out that it’s a hybrid, that often scores even more points.