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Tow bar and roof bars for Corolla hatch


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Hi all,

New member here.  Not yet a Corolla owner, but giving it some serious thought.

Probably looking at the Corolla hatch, 1.8 in Excel trim (although my heart is pushing for the 2.0 !!) - comments welcome!!

The one thing that's holding me back a little bit is the storage capacity being a lot less than I'm used to - particularly if I go for the 2.0 with that Battery in the back.

Rather than go for a car bigger than I really need (i.e. the Touring Sports) for just the few days in a year where we need the extra capacity (camping trips etc), I've been looking at roof bars (to carry a top box) and potentially a removable tow bar to fit a bike rack (and maybe to pull a small trailer for trips to the tip if required - although I understand about the 750 kg limit to tow with the hybrid engine).

I therefore wanted to see if any current owners could share their experience on the two topics (and my apologies if this is already covered elsewhere in the forum in previous discussions, but I couldn't see anything - although the search on this forum seems to be a little flaky for me - probably something with my PC  - feel free to point me in the right direction if this is already covered).

On the subject of roof bars, my understanding is that you can't get roof rails fitted on the hatch (only the Tourer) to attach bars to.  However you can get roof bars for the hatch that fit directly onto the roof through the doorways.  Does anyone have any experience with these - are they OK?  Any concerns regarding loading capacity, ease of use or (more importantly) potential for damage to the bodywork where they fit on?

On the subject of tow bars, this looks like a good option to mount a bike rack on (I understand they won't mount on the hatch itself).  Main concern is the cost to supply and fit (quoted 1000 pounds for the dealer to fit before delivery).  Looking at the internet it looks like I could get them fitted by a third party for about half that but I wonder if it's worth it (maybe warranty issues as well?).  So I wanted to ask if anyone had any experience with a tow bar on a Corolla - either dealer fitted or third party fitting - any recommendations?

Also on the two bar - any observations on the towing limit of 750 kg?  Is this optimistic / pessimistic / about right?  Appreciate I'm not going to be using it for towing a caravan, but hopefully it would be adequate for smaller loads such as a little trailer or a small dinghy.

 

Apologies for the super long email for a first post (probably not best etiquette !!) and, as I say, if this is already covered in older discussions, it would be great if someone could point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance for any pointers based on your experience.

All the best,

Phil

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I bought the TS because you can only spec a tow bar for the saloon or TS, it's not an option for the hatchback.  The 750kg towing limit is the legal max, which would kill any economy, but I only use it for my eBike carrier and it has just under a 10mpg hit on economy when loaded.  The tow ball pressure limit is 75Kg so suits the 15Kg carrier with 2 bikes on it.  Mine was dealer fit.

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Thanks Rambler, much appreciated.

I was initially told that the tow bar was not an option for the hatch, but they backtracked on that after speaking to the parts department and it is now back on the table (although maybe they are not right?).

Do you mind if I asked how much you paid for the dealer fit of the tow bar - £1000 seems rather steep to me, but maybe it's the going rate.

 

Thanks again.

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Hi and welcome.
I can recommend to you a second look on the tourer over the hatchback. They look very similar outside with only length difference but inside is where the bigger difference actually is. The hatchback is nice car however rear leg room is very limited plus the sloping roof lining and dark colour does not make it very comfortable for rear passengers plus the small boot., not a family car for sure., where the estate has larger leg and head room plus a huge boot. I like the hatch how it looks but if I am buying one will rather go for estate or saloon just because of the space inside and boot. Efficiency like I believe they are very similar, for accessories you can browse here: https://toyotadirectparts.co.uk/parts/category/toyota-corolla/corolla-mk12-2019-present/accessories-corolla-mk12-2019-present/. 👍

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I did a lot of investigating because the configurator gave the impression it could be specced.  The dealer thought it could be specced.  Toyota came back with the answer regarding saloon and TS only.  It cost £415.83 (not sure if that was ex vat) for the detachable tow bar with horizontal electrics fitted as an option when bought new.  Retrofit is, I believe, more expensive.  3rd party will be cheaper but be wary of hatchet jobs.

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Article on towbars from Toyota UK Mag - https://mag.toyota.co.uk/toyota-hybrid-towing-questions/

There is a question they answered re why one cannot use the online configurator to include a towbar - it is because towbars are dealer fit not factory fit.

Witter and Westfalia list two towbars for the hatchback, but both are out of stock. PF Jones list several.

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Many thanks indeed for the further replies on this topic.

Tony - Thanks for the thoughts on the tourer, this is on my radar.  However my reasons for preferring the hatch was that 80% of the time it will just be me in the car on my own driving for work, maybe another 15% just me and my wife up front (we don't have kids) and then 5% of the time is when it would get loaded up for a holiday or camping or with bikes.  That's why I was thinking of not getting something any bigger than necessary for day to day (like the Tourer), but to have the accessories to increase the storage (through a topbox and bike rack) when needed.  However I don't discount the tourer and will give it some further thought.  Plus thanks for the catalogue link, I'd not seen that and it's very useful.

Rambler - Thanks for the follow up - that's certainly a lot cheaper than I was quoted (whether it's with or without VAT).  I'm certainly aware of the concern about third party hatchet jobs and my preference is for a dealer fit - although not at any price !

FrostyBalls (love the name !) - Thanks for the link to the article, I'll take a careful look - but you're right there do seem to be plenty on the internet who say it is possible, but as Rambler says the information on this from Toyota appears often contradictory !

 

Thanks again to all !

 

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I’ve used Thule roof bars (and a box) on my Golf R before the Corolla. It took a bit of time to get them fitted, but they were great - very sturdy. I’d recommend the Wing Bars from Thule as they minimise the wind noise & whistles you can get. 
 

can’t see any issues with them on the Corolla Hatch, although you may wish to buy some cheap clear vinyl self adhesive to protect the paintwork where the feet touch the roof. I bought some on eBay (Rhino Hide I think) which did the job. I think it was £5 for a few metres in a small roll. 

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Thanks Gray86; that's reassuring.

Out of interest, on your Golf, did you fit them and leave them or take them off and on as you needed them?  Just wondering what most would do - is it a fit and leave on job or can they easily be taken off and on again.

I guess that's (another) advantage of the Tourer in that you get the rails which the bars can be easily attached to.

 

Thanks again.

 

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The expense of the Toyota system comes in the form of the 13 pin tow bar wiring required for the bike carrier electrics. With it being a genuine loom kit it is expensive, and the cabling runs IN the car from front to rear so becomes labour intensive. Bar, bike rack, elecs and fitting is always circa £900 ish depending on your dealers labour rate.

Other suppliers will be running wires under the car and cutting wires using scotch locks, as you say, a hatchet job, thats why they can do them much cheaper, as well as their lower cost base

 

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Thanks Parts-King.  Although regarding the price, as far as I am aware the £1000 is just for the tow bar (you mention bar, bike rack, elecs and fitting), so I understand I would need to buy the bike rack on top of that.

Thanks for the details regarding the wiring, that's good to know and further strengthens the desire to get this done properly at the dealer (but, as I say, not at any price).

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No. Nonsense, the bar £337, Elecs £110, Bike carrier £257, plus fitting and VAT

 

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Thanks again Parts-King.  Although to be clear, the £1000 quotation does include the bar but not the bike rack (but does include all the fitting costs and the electrics).

So if your experience is ca £900 with £257 of that being the bike rack, I should be looking at about £650 without the bike rack (but with all the fitting and electrics).  So £1000 is still well on the high side !

It's the labour charge which drives it up I think (half a day job has been mentioned). 

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I have a TS with a factory fitted detachable bar with 13pin electrics, cost was £415.83 plus vat that was last September. Also car is rated for towing 450kg unbaked 750kg braked. The towbar was listed under factory fitextra options, which I thought was good value. 

Just checked on Toyota's Web site price is now £509.00 including vat as optional extra new order. 

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1 hour ago, Revolver said:

I have a TS with a factory fitted detachable bar with 13pin electrics, cost was £415.83 plus vat that was last September. Also car is rated for towing 450kg unbaked 750kg braked. The towbar was listed under factory fitextra options, which I thought was good value. 

Just checked on Toyota's Web site price is now £509.00 including vat as optional extra new order. 

I thought it was excellent value as well and my order was placed back in January 2020. 

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1 hour ago, Revolver said:

I have a TS with a factory fitted detachable bar with 13pin electrics, cost was £415.83 plus vat that was last September. Also car is rated for towing 450kg unbaked 750kg braked. The towbar was listed under factory fitextra options, which I thought was good value. 

Just checked on Toyota's Web site price is now £509.00 including vat as optional extra new order. 

That is standard fare for factory orders, much cheaper to fit in a factory environment that it is at dealer level 

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Thanks Revolver.

That's a much better price and I've just found it on the Toyota website too on the "build your car" for £509 as you say.  However (unless I've missed it), this is only for the TS and it doesn't appear in the same place for the hatch.

Possibly this is (as others have said) because the tow bar is available as a factory fit for the TS, but is a dealer fit for the hatch.  Not sure why that would be (makes no sense to me !), but I guess dealer service shop hourly rates are never going to be good value.

Maybe again pushes me further towards the TS (but then if I get the TS I probably don't need the tow bar so much !!).

Thanks again for the comment. 

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1 hour ago, PhilB63 said:

Thanks Revolver.

That's a much better price and I've just found it on the Toyota website too on the "build your car" for £509 as you say.  However (unless I've missed it), this is only for the TS and it doesn't appear in the same place for the hatch.

Possibly this is (as others have said) because the tow bar is available as a factory fit for the TS, but is a dealer fit for the hatch.  Not sure why that would be (makes no sense to me !), but I guess dealer service shop hourly rates are never going to be good value.

Maybe again pushes me further towards the TS (but then if I get the TS I probably don't need the tow bar so much !!).

Thanks again for the comment. 

That’s the whole point of getting TS as you will have so much space inside no need extra attachments to the car plus you can sleep literally inside while camping, just lock the bikes outside to one of the wheels. My parents has a Passat estate and do camping every summer, fishing at the lakes for two nights every month, no tents no worries 😉. Toyota Corolla Trek comes to my mind when talking about car and bikes. , slightly higher too so easy to get of the road and find a good spot for biking 🚴 👍🚙, just thought 💭 

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/content/longterm-reviews/living-with-a-toyota-corolla-touring-sports-trek

 

 

 

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My thoughts, just on the HB 2 ltr. I am single, and the car is fine for me. My previous car was a SAAB 93 Turbo, also classed as a "small family car". But in comparison to the Corolla, it was massive, with a large boot, and loads of space with the back seat down. I did not appreciate how big it was until I bought the Corolla, also billed as a small family car.

The Corolla 2 ltr has a tiny boot. When I put a shopping bag in the boot, the bag actually displaces the rear "shelf" as the boot floor level is so high due to the 12 volt Battery underneath the floor. The 1.8 does give you a lower floor level, so you can get more in.

When I went down to Devon for Christmas (Christmas before last, of course!) with just me in the car and my luggage and presents etc, the car was full, with the back seats down. The SAAB I never managed to fill to capacity. 

It's fine or me, but if I had a partner I would definitely have chosen the TS, or the Trek, although the Trek was not available when I ordered. The TS looks pretty smart in my opinion.

 

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When Toyota GB launched the Corolla, they said they were targeting couples with the hatchback, families with the Touring Sport, and Execs with the Turkish built saloon.

Also with the demise of the Avensis they targeted that sector with a combination of the Corolla Touring Sport and saloon, the Prius (all three sharing the same size wheelbase as the Avensis),with the Camry coming in as a top end.

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Hatchbacks for two people are actually fine. 
 I managed to move my house twice with Auris hatchback similar size and shape to Corolla, 2m long mattresses, IKEA daybed and wardrobe, won’t believe how much space inside a small car. . I even think two mountain bikes can fit inside if you remove the front wheels and pedals., which is an easy job on most bicycles., I have done that too. The biggest problem with hatchback is that you can either choose to carry passengers or cargo but never together. Last summer we went to Milton Keynes for e scooter riding around the lakes 4 of us with 4 scooters and 2 Toyotas Auris, if it was a Corolla TS could done it all together. 
The 2.0 hatchback is better for loading large items as it’s got flat boot floor and perfectly levelled  to slide, where 1.8 has a gap that you have to fill with something first. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, PhilB63 said:

Thanks Gray86; that's reassuring.

Out of interest, on your Golf, did you fit them and leave them or take them off and on as you needed them?  Just wondering what most would do - is it a fit and leave on job or can they easily be taken off and on again.

I guess that's (another) advantage of the Tourer in that you get the rails which the bars can be easily attached to.

 

Thanks again.

 

I took them off when I wasn’t using them as it’s extra drag, noise and got in the way a bit when washing. 
 

I put a little mark with a permanent marker inside the door aperture by the seal to show where the centre of the bar should be - so you don’t have to keep measuring where to put the rear one. That made them much quicker to install each time 

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Thanks Gray 86 and thanks again to all for your helpful replies yesterday.

We have a lot to think about (and to negotiate !) and I'll let you know what is decided (and if we find out any further information on these topics).

Hopefully I'll be back on this forum in the future as an actual Corolla owner !!

In the meantime, any further comments would be welcome.  We're going to sleep on the decision over the weekend (after hopefully getting a revised quotation from the dealer today) and then probably make the call on Monday.

Thanks again to all,

Phil

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1 hour ago, PhilB63 said:

Thanks Gray 86 and thanks again to all for your helpful replies yesterday.

We have a lot to think about (and to negotiate !) and I'll let you know what is decided (and if we find out any further information on these topics).

Hopefully I'll be back on this forum in the future as an actual Corolla owner !!

In the meantime, any further comments would be welcome.  We're going to sleep on the decision over the weekend (after hopefully getting a revised quotation from the dealer today) and then probably make the call on Monday.

Thanks again to all,

Phil

I have a tow bar fitted to my Prius and it took them 5 hours as it required a sub frame addition on that model. Was advised by dealer that if it is fitted as a manufacturer option it is cheaper as the subframe is added as the car is constructed rather than removing the whole back end.  I tow a camper with the Prius and only lose about 10mpg.

As to the roof bars. I have the Toyota supplied aero bar style. There is a specific clip on system and it only takes litererally minutes to fit and take off. The car has location holes and the bars have pins so you get it in the right position every time.  I have tried a generic Thule system and it is so much more a faff. 

take the “nose weight” figure as a guide on how much you can load on the bike rack this is how much down pressure there is on your rear suspension. Yours is 75kg. 

https://mag.toyota.co.uk/toyota-towing-capacities/

It does look like both the roof bars and tow bar are only available as options on the TS though  

 

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Thanks Paul; very useful.

Great picture with the camper and I'll certainly not be looking to pull anything heavier than that (and it looks like the towing capacities of the Prius and the Corolla are similar).

Good tip on the roof bars - sounds like the Toyota ones are the way to go.

Thanks again, Phil

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