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Toyota Corolla interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Overall comfort in the Corolla is broadly quite good. It's easy to set your driving position and every model includes power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver. All key controls remain as physical buttons and knobs, making them easier to use on the move than some rivals that overuse their touchscreens.

Visibility is also generally good, with a clear view out the front and side, and minimal intrusion from the front pillars. Over-the-shoulder visibility is, like every other rival in this class, the weakest area, with a fairly thick rear pillar and steeply raked rear windscreen making it hard to gauge exactly where the back of the car is. On the plus side, a reversing camera is standard across the range, and all-round parking sensors are included on all but entry-level Icon cars.

Standard equipment

Icon trim comes generously equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, heated front seats, a reversing camera and an infotainment system that, in 2020, gained Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. You also get Toyota's safety sense package – this bundles together adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and auto headlights and high beams. Icon Tech adds built-in sat nav, all-round parking sensors and a small digital driver's display in place of the speedo.

Design trim adds 17-inch alloys, power-folding door mirrors, automatic wipers and tinted rear windows. Excel models gain larger alloys for hatchback models along with part-leather front sports seats and keyless entry. GR Sport trim is Toyota's sporty line and brings larger alloys, a meaner-looking body kit, part-leather sport seats shared with Excel trim, and a heads-up display.

You'll also find Corolla estate models in Trek spec. These cars gain off-road-inspired body styling, their own unique alloy wheel design, wood-effect interior details, and 20mm taller suspension for more ground clearance.

Infotainment and audio

While the dash-top-mounted infotainment screen makes the Corolla look a little more dated than some rivals, it includes most functions you'll use on a daily basis. Its responses are a bit sluggish, however, which makes hitting buttons on the already-cramped screen a little tricky without a very deliberate prod. The standard setup gained Apple CarPlay and Android Auto during 2020, which means you can easily use your own mapping and entertainment apps.

The screen includes physical shortcut buttons on either side, which makes jumping between functions fairly easy. Although this setup was phased out throughout 2022 in favour of a digital shortcut buttons on the touchscreen itself. From 2023, all Corollas swapped to a larger, clearer 10.5-inch touchscreen and fully digital driver's dials, which does help modernise the slightly old-school cabin.

Keen audiophiles might want to hunt down a Corolla equipped with the optional eight-speaker JBL stereo system. That said, casual listeners are unlikely to find much to fault with the standard setup.

Rear seat space

There's less space in the back of the Corolla than the most practical cars in this class. As a result, if you're going to be carrying adult passengers in the back, cars like the Skoda Octavia, SEAT Leon and Ford Focus all offer noticeably more rear legroom. Adults will fit in the Toyota's back seats, but they'll find their knees rubbing the front seat backs.

Unsurprisingly, this also translates into a less-than-ideal experience for parents travelling with children. There's not much room to wrangle bulky child seats into place, and even less space to buckle your kids into them. This is a little easier in the Corolla Touring Sports estate, however, because its longer roof means a slightly better rear seat access.

Boot space

Like the back seats, the Corolla's boot isn't its strongest area. There's enough room for a weekly shop but the narrow cargo space means carrying a pushchair or large suitcase will be more challenging. There's some handy underfloor storage on 1.8-litre models but this is taken up by a larger battery pack on 2.0-litre versions.

If you have kids or regularly carry bulkier cargo, we'd suggest checking out the Corolla Touring Sports estate. This model still can't quite compete with the best-in-class for overall capacity, but its boot is easily large enough for pushchairs, holiday clobber or even your four-legged friend.

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