PetrolBlog has spent a great deal of time this year driving about in jacked-up 4×4 estate cars. It would be fair to say that – given the choice between an SUV or a 4×4 estate – we’d opt for the latter. There’s something delightfully old school about them – a kind of country gentleman estate car. Of the new metal on sale, current favourites include the Subaru Outback, Volvo XC70 and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Tourer.
Stay tuned for reviews on the XC70 and Insignia, coming soon.
But of course, these circa £30k mud-plugging, antique-carrying are completely out of reach for the majority of PetrolBlog readers. With winter 2013/2014 fast approaching, we need something altogether more PetrolBloggy. Something a great deal cheaper.
So step forward – in a cloud of blue smoke and green grass cuttings – the delightful, the oft-forgotten, Toyota Corolla 4WD Estate. Seriously, what’s not to like about this retro 4×4 estate?
For sure, it’s unlikely to deliver the same amount of presence in the Waitrose parent and child bay as say an Audi Allroad or Volvo XC70, but just think, you could own the entire Corolla for little more than the price of a full set of mud and snow tyres on your heavily-depreciating image-booster.
It’s almost as though the designers deliberately set out to ensure the front-end looked entirely different to the back. Now we know where the Skoda Roomster took its inspiration.
It gets better, as this particular Toyota Corolla 4WD Estate is finished in a trendy light metallic green colour, the kind of which is likely to warrant an extra £500 on your £30k 4×4 estate.
OK – cards on the table – the Toyota Corolla 4WD Estate is unlikely to offer the same levels of off-road ability as the aforementioned new cars, but how many owners really need to tear across ploughed fields and heavily-rutted tracks? And for slippery surfaces and wet field shenanigans, not only will the Corolla be just fine, it will also be an absolute riot.
The 1.6-litre 16v engine is good for 95bhp – or at least it was when it left its original Toyota dealer in 1987 – and it’s the same unit you would have found in the Carina or the top-spec Corolla. The truth is, the engine wasn’t best suited to hauling a tall and relatively heavy 4WD about, and a 0-60mph time of 12.1 seconds would hardly set the pulse racing. Although you may have already been knocked unconscious by the Corolla’s sleek and aerodynamic styling…
Still – at least the small-by-today’s-standards 1.6-litre engine would result in some impressive fuel economy figures, right? Wrong. At best, you could only expect the low to mid 20s. It’s little wonder that anyone who truly wanted a 4×4 estate bought a Subaru and anyone who didn’t, opted for either a Shuttle, Space Wagon or Prairie.
Unashamedly unfashionable when new and now well beyond the ‘Banger Years’, this Toyota Corolla is a proper PetrolBlog hero. And with just 96,000 miles on the clock and in seemingly very good condition, surely it’s worthy of your attention? About £1,500 should secure it. Head to Yorkshire and bring home a real 4×4 this Christmas.
You know it makes sense.
Images © Car & Classic and Toyota.