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BabyDrive Verdict

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The Toyota Corolla Hybrid uses both the electric motor and traditional engine, and having recently driven the Toyota Camry Hybrid I was eager to see how good the much smaller Corolla is as a BabyDrive!!

Having learnt from driving the Toyota Camry Hybrid how quiet hybrids are when they start, I was still shocked by the Corolla!

Driving back from car pick ups my husband and I swap cars half way, so we get to test both cars on the motorway drive. I started off in the Skoda Karoq, we pull over, hop out and exchange oppinions and swap cars. Hubby gets in the Skoda Karoq and I get in the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Hubby starts to pull away but I can not get the Camry to turn on … starting to panic that I would be stuck half way home, with a car I can't start I began beeping the horn, waving my arms and shouting for him to stop! He put down his window, smiled and said, “It's a hybrid, it's silent and it's already turned on.” And then drove off laughing!!

I may sound like an idiot but every person that drove in the both the hybrid Toyota Corolla and Camry with me was visibly shocked by how quiet it was and was surprised when pulled off for the same reason. Even Hudson our excellent videographer got a shock when filming because it was just not what we are all used to, but it is the sound, or lack of, of the future… and I LOVE it!

The petrol engine didn't kick in until I was doing about 40km/h or if I was accelerating quickly at lower speeds. So you could do a lot of pootling around town or school runs without really using any fuel. I drove my daughter around the block to sleep and sat with just the battery motor running while she slept without using fuel! You will literally save yourself money and the planet using this car! The transition between the battery motor and petrol engine is not as smooth in the Corolla as it was in the Camry but is not as disturbing as the auto engine cut out on a regular car.

There is a great visual in the media screen that shows you the power going to and from the battery and engine, so you can see what you are using while you are driving or stopped which I found fascinating.

The Camry's media system has more modern looking graphics than in most Toyotas but it still did not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and was quite basic and difficult to use. It also didn't have sat-nav built in.

In the back of the Corolla, space is very tight! There are Isofix points in the two outer seats, within plastic guides, and top tethers in the back of all three seat backs. They were quite simple to connect and disconnect and easy to reach through the boot. I found it really difficult to even get the child seats through the back door openings and when I did I could only fit two child seats in the back, I found there wasn't enough space for a third child seat.

The Corolla is a small car and with rear-facing child seats installed, the legroom was tight. We found a 180cm passenger could not fit in front of a rear facing child seat, and I found there was 22cm of knee room. This also affected getting bub in and out of the car and I found swinging a big toddler into a forward facing child seat difficult as the door opening size and room to bend down and get her in was just too compact. It could also be the case for posting bub into a rear facing seat too.

Storage in the Corolla was minimal throughout, which you expect to find in such a compact little car, in the rear doors there were no door bins just a cup holder and little handle well. I did find the cup holders rather handy for bub's sippy cup!

The rest of the storage is small but there are two practically sized cup holders in the front and back, the glovebox is usable and the central console box is a bit small, there is a tiny shelf for your phone and sunglasses in front of the gear lever too as there is no glasses case in the ceiling and I found the front door bins will only hold a 600ml bottle.

In the boot of the Corolla, space was limited too. I found I could only fit a single or compact stroller in there, and that the tandem and double strollers wouldn't fit.

When empty, I could get 9 shopping bags in there. To put it into perspective, that is two less than the Mazda3, one less than the Kia Cerato Sport and Hyundai i30 which are all comparable in size but not hybrids so come nowhere near in terms of fuel efficiency.

The boot floor has a soft covering and is flat, suitable for an emergency nappy change.

I found the Toyota Corolla Hybrid a nippy little car to drive, it is quiet, smooth and comfortable but most of all I was fascinated by the hybrid motor! It is such a nice feeling to not be burning money or polluting the environment when driving my daughter to sleep and sitting while she sleeps for an hour and I have the engine running and the air-conditioning on.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2018 and has seven airbags as standard.

BabyDrive Indepth

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