► Mildly beefed-up Corolla estate
► Choice of two petrol hybrids
► Focus Active and Xceed rival
This car really doesn’t need to exist. It’s a very faintly SUV-styled version of the Corolla estate, with the most meagre of changes. There are no discernible practical benefits, and a clear disadvantage.
Don’t think of it as a junior Audi Allroad, Mercedes All-Terrain or Volvo Cross Country – they are all estates that gain a modest but real amount of extra off-road ability and ruggedness. Rather, this is in the tradition of the Skoda Roomster Scout, which was like a Roomster but uglier and more expensive.
Read our Toyota Corolla Touring Sports review
What makes it a Trek?
It rides 2cm higher. It has lightly revised bodywork, for a hint of extra protection on the wheelarches and under the nose and tail, a honeycomb front grille and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the fabric upholstery is different from other versions, and there’s a very subtle bit of wood-effect trim on the dash.
Trek is available only with the estate (Touring Sports, in Toyota-speak) body style.
What’s the engine line-up?
There’s a choice of two engines for the Trek, both petrol-electric ‘self-charging’ (i.e.: not plug-in) hybrids, both of them already available in the regular Corolla Touring Sports.
Our test car’s 1.8 makes 120bhp, and there’s a 2.0-litre offering a further 62bhp. Both come with a CVT transmission driving the front wheels.
The Trek comes with a solid but not extravagant level of kit. Everything that’s there works fine, and the combination of touchscreen and physical buttons makes the infotainment easy to operate. LED headlamps are standard, as is rear tinted glass.
How does it drive?
Not as well as the non-Trek, unfortunately. It’s a small difference, but real. That extra ride height translates into extra wobbliness on undulating roads. The suspension still smooths out most surfaces, but the damping calibration seems to have got worse.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual. It’s a very agreeable car to cruise around in, although the CVT gearbox doesn’t respond well to any attempts to make haste. But, generally, our test car’s 1.8 engine is good: economical, lively enough, and smooth in its transitions between petrol, electric and dual-power running.
Toyota Corolla Trek: verdict
As with the Focus Active, the changes over the regular estate have not improved the car. You end up with something that’s towards the higher end of the Corolla estate price scale, but with inferior ride and questionable looks.
It would be a shame if this were to detract from the non-Trek estate, which is a very good all-rounder (albeit not one with much to offer the driving enthusiast); it’s perhaps not too fanciful to think that it’s the sort of thing Saab would be making if it were still in business. Just get a normal estate.
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