By Bill McCarthy
Estate cars or tourers have evolved from large barges to the sleek and stylish.
They marry coupe-like styling, with little compromise on interior space, with eye-catching profiles.
Recently upgraded, it seems hard to believe Corolla, in one form or another, has been around since 1966 and has been the best-selling car in the world.
So incremental change has been the key to its success.
It now features the new Toyota Smart Connect+ multimedia system, new trims, colours and a special new version of the Corolla Trek Touring Sports, a pumped-up more muscular version of the estate.
It looks good with a swooping, coupe-like profile and large low set grille complemented by slim headlight clusters.
The rear features a more steeply raked rear screen and on this model, twin exhaust pipes.
The interior features the upgraded Toyota Smart Connect+ which provides much faster response and provides new functions and operates 2.4 times faster than the previous system.
It is operated via the eight-inch central touchscreen to give instant access to a series of smart connected services, including cloud-based navigation with continuous, “always on” traffic information.
The “Hey Toyota” voice control requests can operate the multimedia and navigation.
Software updates are made seamlessly, over the air and easy smartphone integration is provided via Apple CarPlay, with wireless connection, and (with a wired connection) Android Auto.
All specs come with automatic rear camera, LED headlights, heated front seats with this range topper all kinds of bells and whistles like 18-inch alloy wheels Bi-LED headlights and part-leather seat upholstery.
The soft touch finish, satin chrome trim and piano black finish give the car premium feel and is a comfortable place to be.
Boot capacity is 581-litres with the seats in place, which expands dramatically in true estate fashion with the rear seats folded.
The one touch remote lever folds the rear seats to create a fully flat floor, while side wall storage pockets behind the rear wheel housings add extra capacity.
Experts in hybrid technology with the introduction of the Prius, the two litre petrol engine/electric motor hybrid setup delivers good pace and economy delivered via a CVT transmission.
Engine and motor combine to deliver 180bhp, which propels the car to 60mph in around eight seconds with claimed economy of between 50 and 60mpg.
Ride and handling are good for a big car, with the ride firm feeling composed and capable of dealing comfortably with all but the worst surfaces.
Toyota has stuck with self-charging hybrids, which means there is no need to worry over finding charging points.
They complement other plug-in and full electric models with all offering the benefit of lower taxation and benefit-in-kind taxation.
All Toyotas offers extensive safety kit and the Corolla offers driver and front passenger front and side airbags, driver’s knee airbags and full-length curtain shield airbags.
Other features include Pre-Collision System, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and Road Sign Assist, which recognises road signs and commands and displays them on the central display.
Toyota Corolla Sports Tourer Excel 2.0 hybrid
Mechanical: 180bhp, 1,987cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via a CVT automatic gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
Combined mpg: 50-53
Insurance group: 18E-21E
CO2 emissions: 118g/km
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles