Bucking the trend
It’s the world’s best-selling car for a reason...
Well over 45 million Toyota Corollas have been sold around the world since it was first launched in 1966/67, making it the best-selling car range in the world, which it has been since 1997. It has long been a firm favourite in South Africa too, where over 1 million units have been sold. If you do the maths you will discover that a Corolla has been built every 36 seconds for the past 50 years, which is an incredible accomplishment.
While the major buying trend these days is definitely towards SUVs, every time I drive a good sedan I am struck by how practical they are, but also how nice they are to drive in every-day life.
Take the Corolla as an example. The eleventh generation was launched locally in 2017 to mark 50 years of the badge, and is to be replaced here in 2020, but it remains a fantastic car – as it must be to sell in the numbers that it does.
There are a few engine options in the range, starting with the 1.3-lite petrol engine that features Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (Dual VVT-i) and generates 73kW at 6000rpm and maximum torque of 128Nm at 3800rpm. In terms of fuel consumption, this peppy little unit uses just 6l/100km.
For fans of oil-burners, a single 1.4-litre turbodiesel option is included in the range, and the big attraction of this model is the stellar fuel consumption of just 4.5l/100km, while it still boasts credible performance with 66kW of power and a healthy 205Nm of torque.
The mid-range models make use a 1.6-litre petrol engine, also with Dual VVT-I technology, and developing power of 90kW and 154Nm of torque at 5200rpm. Claimed fuel consumption is 6.6l/100km, and the 1.6 can be had in either 6-speed manual or with a Multidrive S automatic (CVT) transmission.
At the top of the Corolla range is a 1.8-litre Dual VVT-I petrol engine that produces 103kW and 173Nm, but still uses just 6.4l/100km. It can be had with either the 6-speed manual gearbox or the CVT transmission, which is the more fuel efficient of the two.
To cater for everyone from the business owner to fleet operators, car hire companies and private buyers who want a little bit extra in terms of luxury, the Corolla is available in three specification grade: Esteem (1.3, 1.6 and 1.4D, all in manual), Prestige (with all engines, but only the 1.6 with CVT) and the Exclusive, which is only available with the 1.8 petrol engine.
Esteem features things like ABS braking, LED daytime running lights, air-con, electric windows, and front and side airbags. The 1.6 models get Vehicle Stability Control and Hillstart Assist Control, as well as a 7-inch touchscreen display. Prestige models up the ante a little with leather upholstery and 16-inch alloy rims, while the 1.6 and 1l8 models also get cruise control.
The aptly named Exclusive models are exhaustively equipped, with nice-to-haves like automatic climate control, push start and smart entry, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, extra airbags (knee and curtain) and more. In short, there’s not much they don’t have.
The Toyota Corolla proves that there is still a place for a good sedan in today’s SUV-mad world, especially when it ticks as many boxes as the Corolla does: interior space, boot space, comfort and decent performance. In addition, these are all supplemented by something that very few SUVs can promise: affordable cost of ownership.
The Toyota Corolla is priced from R288 800 and goes up to R384 900. A 6-service /90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty are both standard.
Ultimate family sedan
Affordable and reliable fleet vehicle
Wide range of model options