Toyota Corolla Wagon 2012 Review

Toyota Corolla Wagon 2012 Review

In human terms, the Corolla’s oldest traceable ancestors would be living in the mid 1700s. In car terms, things move more quickly and 1966 saw the birth of the first Corolla. This new version is the eleventh generation that aims to continue to provide practical, no frills motoring.

It comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine which needs to be worked hard to get it moving. You can get it in manual (recommended if you want to drive it) or CVT (recommended if you get stuck in rush hour frequently). You will get better economy from the

CVT (5.1l/100km vs 5.7l/100km according to Toyota).

There’s a new grille with chrome accents and halogen headlights, plus a spoiler at the rear. The Corolla’s design is tidy and inoffensive.

The exterior dimensions have remained the same for this generation, but interior space has improved. In fact, the rear legroom (as you will see in the photos) is very impressive with the front seat set up for a 6-footer.

The 60/40 split folding rear seats recline for passenger comfort and when folded down provide a large cargo area of 872 litres. Convenient handles in the rear enable you to drop the seats quickly from the boot. There are also a couple of 5kg bag hooks in the boot – useful to keep bags from sliding around.

The stereo’s specification has been upgraded and supports Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB input and auxiliary jacks, and you can control your iPod. As an example, you can leave your iPhone in your pocket and still stream its music to the radio, or you can plug it in for greater control.

The speakers sound a little thin so you will undoubtedly EQ up the bass. Unlike most cars these days, there are no audio controls on the steering wheel or on stalks behind the wheel – you actually have to reach and touch the radio!

The interior is budget, but comfortable. A faux carbon-fibre-patterned plastic adorns parts of the dashboard and doors which makes it a tad more interesting. The instruments are large and easy to read.

The driving experience is suited perfectly to the overall aim of this vehicle: a comfortable fleet car that won’t get heads turning and won’t give you any dramas. There’s not enough power from the engine (80kW and 138Nm) to get you excited, the tyres are narrow (175/65R15) therefore your cornering isn’t filled with g-forces, and the suspension and seat work together in beautiful harmony to give you fairly soft ride.

Standard safety features include traction control, vehicle stability control and six airbags.

It’s much more difficult to write a review about a car like the Corolla than it is about something that’s polarizing, like the Land Rover Defender we had previously. The Corolla Wagon goes about its business without any fuss. It doesn’t wow you, it doesn’t disappoint you, it doesn’t break the bank in fuel use, and it comes with a 36-month 100,000km warranty (not that it’s likely to break down). It’s deathly boring, but absolutely perfect for the job.

Price: $30,490


  • Economy fleet vehicle
  • Lots of rear leg room
  • Practical configuration
  • Good fuel economy


  • A bit bland

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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