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I am seriously considering a Corolla as my next car, a used car so it will only be 1 or 2 years old.  I have never owned a Toyota before and have never driven a hybrid although I drive automatics and I have owned a couple of Hondas with the CVT gearbox.  At my local dealership there are currently no used 1.8 litre models.  When one becomes available I intend to take it for a test drive.  Is there anything I should be aware of and what do I need to look out for?  Any advice would be appreciated. 

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If you can't do with waiting for a Corolla to turn up, the Prius gen 4 (2016 ->) has the same engine and transmission as the 1.8 Corolla, so you could judge if this is to your liking, as an idea of how the Toyota hybrid system operates in practice.

It's worth asking the salesman where to find the dash mpg reading.  Make a note of what it was reading, and then re-zero it for your test, to see what you get out of it.

The rear seat accommodation of the hatch isn't very generous (the estate is bigger - it has a longer wheelbase), so sit in there as well.

The interiors are a bit dark, especially the headlining.  Perhaps too dark for your taste?

On some trim levels there are heater vents for the rear seat passengers' feet, I think.  Is this important to you?  Does 'your' one have them (for elderly parents travelling in the back?), that is, if you are looking to buy that actual car?

On a technical note, although the car has a 'CVT' transmission, mechanically, these ones work on a completely different principle to ones you've driven previously.  You may not notice this difference much in use.  The hybrid engine has to have this 'eCVT' transmission - the engine and this specific type of CVT automatic transmission work in unison.  There are no belts or pulleys in this one, just gears and electric motors.  The conventional looking 'gear stick' can be deceptive here - previous models often had a much more futuristic 'dinky' plastic design (as the Prius still does). Apart from when applying the transmission brake, the gear selector is just operating electrical switches.

Also, it's easy to think of this car as a petrol car that can be electric (but only for a very short while, because of its small Battery capacity).  That idea can give a false impression. The electric motors boost the engine's output in lots of situations, and trying to adjust your driving so the car runs just on its electric motors does not necessarily benefit the overall economy - the car knows best here, especially if you are new to it.

I'm sure you'll get plenty of other suggestions shortly.....

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In my opinion (for what it's worth) the only similarity between the Toyota Hybrid drive and other CVT transmissions is the absence of all the 'right' noises under acceleration. It's only when you look in the rear view mirror that you realise that the car is accelerating as fast or faster than the car behind. Coming to the Corolla from a series of manual Honda Civics, I was impressed by how comfortable and easy going the car was to drive. I have just traded my 1.8 hatchback for the equivalent TS as we needed the extra space for the children's children, so there is a 69 reg with just over 10,000 miles out there somewhere. I averaged about 58mpg over those miles without really trying. Just one word of warning. The speedo over-reads  by about 4mph and it is very easy to get into pootle mode cross-country as 45-50mph seems to be the comfort spot with plenty of electric running on the flat and downhill.

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I’ve got the 1.8 hatch excel has done about 1300 miles currently getting about 50 mpg average readout showing 52.3 , I know that the readout is about 10% out as during the winter was showing 47 mpg when I brimmed it with fuel my calculations worked out to 42mpg.

only criticism I have got is the tyre noise much more than the auris this could be down to the 18” wheels and has been said on the forums previously might be the falken tyres causing it, I will see if this improves when I try some different tyres.

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A thing to be aware of is when driving a Toyota hybrid for first time, when you lift off the accelerator you will feel no engine braking.  It's something you get quickly used to. When my daughter and partner took my previous Auris hybrid TS when I changed to Corolla 1.8 TS both commented on the lack of engine braking when they first drove it. Something I forgot about and didn't mention as I'm that used to the Toyota Hybrid.

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Thanks for all your input.  Had my test drive today and was impressed.  loved the way the engine, when it runs, adapts to the circumstances e.g. throttle movement, going up hill etc without changing gear like a normal auto.  

Had a discussion about prices with the salesman.  The demonstrator was a 70 plate 1.8 Design Model with protection pack in white with 850 mile on it, first registered in December last year and was for sale  at £22450.   He also offered me a brand new Design in white for £24100 or an extra £600 for metallic paint.  I would have to tax the demonstrator if I bought it whereas tax would be included in the price if I bought a new one. so the price difference between 6 months old and new is £1510.

I am leaning towards the demonstrator as that is actually a bit more than I actually wanted to pay for a car, but the new one seems like a good deal.

I was also offered GEN-3 Glasscoat Ceramic paint protection for £149, anybody had any experience of this?

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We've had GEN-3 Glasscoat on both our 2015 and 2020 i20s. Its fine - easy to maintain, etc.

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Regarding the ceramic coating there are several steps which need to be followed even with a new car which can already be contaminated either in transit or storage. To be applied correctly the car should be degreased to remove any prior paint protection. This should be followed by two stage decontamination the first chemically with an iron fall out remover and the second with a clay bar to drag out contaminants. Depending on the severity of this process and the level of contamination it may then need machine polishing to remove marring and to correct any defects. This is followed by an isopropanol panel wipe to remove polish residues before the application and cure of the ceramic coating. This process, together with washing at various stages can take more than a day to be done diligently. £149 seems a good price if all of the above is done but if it is simply applied with minimal prep then it’s not so much of a bargain.

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14 hours ago, Trewithy said:

Thanks for all your input.  Had my test drive today and was impressed.  loved the way the engine, when it runs, adapts to the circumstances e.g. throttle movement, going up hill etc without changing gear like a normal auto.  

Had a discussion about prices with the salesman.  The demonstrator was a 70 plate 1.8 Design Model with protection pack in white with 850 mile on it, first registered in December last year and was for sale  at £22450.   He also offered me a brand new Design in white for £24100 or an extra £600 for metallic paint.  I would have to tax the demonstrator if I bought it whereas tax would be included in the price if I bought a new one. so the price difference between 6 months old and new is £1510.

I am leaning towards the demonstrator as that is actually a bit more than I actually wanted to pay for a car, but the new one seems like a good deal.

I was also offered GEN-3 Glasscoat Ceramic paint protection for £149, anybody had any experience of this?

Have you specced the car in CarWOW to see what discount dealers are prepared to go to on a new car? It costs nothing to find out and results can be used in your negotiations.

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