Toyota Corolla Commercial long-term test – Final Report

Date: Friday, October 13, 2023   |   Author: Steve Banner

The positives far outweighed the negatives during the Corolla Commercial’s stint on the What Van? fleet.

Final Report

After more than 4,000 miles, the time has come for me to bid a genuinely fond farewell to Toyota’s Corolla Commercial; and while it is by no means perfect, the negatives are without doubt more than outweighed by its plus points.

The big negative is the absence of reversing sensors, despite the presence of a rear-view camera. You need both given that the image provided by the camera can sometimes lack clarity depending on the prevailing conditions, yet you are expected to pay extra for the former.

Include them in the standard specification please, Toyota.

Nor was I happy about the absence of a spare wheel given the disgraceful state of the UK’s highway network and the damage potholes can do to tyres; damage that would on occasions defeat even the most effective inflator/sealer.

Now for the positives. A self-charging petrol-electric hybrid, Corolla Commercial is impressively frugal, rides and handles well for the most part, and while in-cab noise could be better-suppressed, it cannot be counted as a major issue.

There is plenty of performance on tap if you opt for the Sport driving mode, but you won’t be a slowcoach if you remain in Normal mode. The Eco mode is fine too if you are not in a hurry, and lightly laden. 

Corolla Commercial LTT Copy

Use the B setting on the lever that controls the single-speed Continuously Variable Transmission, and you can take maximum advantage of the regeneration system. It recoups energy that would otherwise be lost when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal and slow down, and pumps it into the hybrid’s lithium-ion battery.

In-cab specification levels are high – we’re suckers for heated seats – and while the lack of reversing sensors jars, the presence of plenty of other safety systems can only be applauded. They include the Pre-Collision System, which triggers the brakes automatically if the driver ignores an alert that they are about to collide with something.

My favourite among them is Road Sign Assist. It flags a warning should you break the speed limit on the stretch of road you are on, which will hopefully prompt you to slow down.

I’m delighted to see that Toyota does not expect drivers to use the touchscreen sitting in the middle of the dashboard for everything. You control the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning with good old-fashioned buttons and knobs.

Admittedly, the load area is not enormous and payload capacity is limited, but the vehicle can easily cope with a couple of big boxes of tools, and a lot more besides. With a rear hatch and a door on each side, the cargo bay is easy to access, and a steel half-height bulkhead topped by a mesh grille ensures that anything not secured to the six tie-down points does not end up in the cab. 

Perhaps the vehicle’s biggest plus point, so far as some prospective users are concerned, is that it looks far more like a car than a van. As a consequence, it will not stick out like the proverbial sore thumb on a suburban drive, and that’s sure to be applauded by the status-conscious.

End-of-term report

Safety = 3/5

Plenty of on-board devices but making reversing sensors optional doesn’t make sense.

Options list = 4/5

It’s short, but then again the van’s specification is high.

Driving = 4/5

Rides and handles well, noise isn’t a serious issue, and performance isn’t lacking; especially if you select the Sport driving mode. Fuel economy is impressive.

Load bay = 4/5

Not vast, and payload capacity isn’t huge, but it’s accessible from three sides and can swallow more stuff than you might expect at first glance. 

Cabin = 4/5

Comfortable working environment with plenty of kit and you don’t have to rely on the touchscreen to operate everything; a plus-point so far as I’m concerned.  

Build quality = 4/5

Top-notch. It’s built at the Toyota plant at Burnaston in Derbyshire, and to a high standard.  

Overall score: 77%

Toyota Corolla Commercial 

Mileage 4,028

Official combined fuel economy (WLTP) 55.6mpg 

Our average consumption 59.4mpg

Price (ex VAT) £23,553

Warranty 10yrs/100,000 miles

Service intervals 1yr/10,000 miles

Load length 1,558mm

Load width (min/max) 952mm/1,430mm

Load bay height 682mm

Load volume 1.3m3

Gross payload 425kg

Engine size/power 1,798cc, 120hp  

CO2 115g/km



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