The Toyota Corolla (hatchback model and sedan combined) has been the best selling car in Australia for many years running, until 2016 when the popularity of utes flourished and the Hilux and Ranger revved their ways into the pole positions.
So I was keen to see if the old style, low-slung sedan was a practical and enjoyable BabyDrive or if I too have moved with the times and been fully converted by the trend for the higher driving positions and the convenience of hip level boots of the SUV and ute markets!
Hmmmmm… The Toyota Corolla! It was not going to win me over!!! If I hadn’t been a designer in my previous life I may not have been so offended by Toyota’s use of fonts! And if I hadn’t grown up in the 80s I may not have shuddered every time I used the shiny silver plastic gear stick that was a definite replica of my first computer joystick!!
The Corolla feels very cheap and basic, and it is. But it’s not basic in a well-designed minimalist way like, for example, an Apple product with a beautifully minimal look that actually takes more design to look so simple and well thought-out. It is basic in a ‘We’ll have one of each of the cheapest car interior parts please and cobble them together' kind of way. As if Toyota just ordered one of the cheapest of everything (including buttons with bad fonts!!) and put them all together in a car!
With that said, it all cobbles together to make a practical, very spacious and inexpensive car, that give it its due has been the best seller in Australia for many many years!
The size of the boot alone wins it serious BabyDrive merit points!! As we could get two strollers in the boot with our shopping!! Alone the boot will hold 16 shopping bags. The Steelecraft Holiday 2 umbrella stroller fitted with nine shopping bags.
The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle fitted with six shopping bags but you couldn't put a dog in the boot as the parcel shelf is fixed in place.
Storage inside the car is not quite so practical. There are two cup holders in the front and back that will hold a reusable and disposable coffee cup. But the rear one has a poorly positioned lid that will knock the lid off your coffee cup and spill it!
The door bins are quite small; they will hold an iPad or wallet but only a 600ml water bottle will fit, but not my large refillable water bottle. The central console storage box is quite small but the glove box is a nice big size.
There is a storage well in front of the gear lever too, which is good for your phone as there is a USB socket there too.
There is a glasses case in the ceiling and lit vanity mirrors in both front visors.
In the back there are map pockets in the back of both front seats that are big enough to hold an iPad, which is great!
There is a lot of leg room in the Corolla. We managed to install three child seats: A Mountain Buggy Protect infant capsule and Infasecure Kompressor 4 (both rear-facing) in the outer seats and an Infasecure Foldaway booster seat in the middle with enough legroom in front for a 184cm driver.
There are two ISO Fix points, one in each of the outer rear seats, and three top tether points situated in the parcel shelf behind each rear headrest.
The media screen felt out of date and not logical to use and it doesn't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. I found the Corolla was quite a vocal car that beeped and chimed with a lot of baby waking alarms!
The Toytota Corolla has a five-star ANCAP safety rating and seven airbags as standard.