Hit the brakes
Toyota has updated its top-selling car but safety tech remains optional
AUTONOMOUS emergency braking is the big ticket item in Toyota’s mid-life makeover of Australia’s most popular passenger car. The updates to the Corolla sedan coincide with the 50th anniversary of the iconic nameplate and include the expected tweaks to the exterior and interior, along with price rises of $500-$930.
The auto-braking is bundled with lane departure warning and automatic high beams and is standard on the rangetopping ZR variant and a $750 option on the mid-spec SX. It is a more significant $1500 hit on the entry-level Ascent because Toyota has included alloy wheels in the pack.
The automatic braking technology is standard across the range on the rival Mazda3, but still optional or not available on other small cars.
Ascent buyers won’t have to spend extra to get a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen and the base car also picks up a 3Dstyled instrument cluster and a 4.2-inch colour driver’s display. The infotainment software includes access to internet services such as Pandora radio.
Satnav is now included in the SX versions and the Corolla ZR picks up LED headlamps.
All variants now flash the hazard lights to alert other vehicles there’s some serious deceleration occurring. The suspension, continuously variable transmission and the engine have been recalibrated for the occasion, though Toyota is claiming improved driveability rather than increases in power or economy.
Larger front shock absorbers are said to deliver a better balance between comfort and handling and the suspension mounting points have been stiffened to reduce flex.
The CVT has been remapped to speed up “gear shifts” and increase engine braking when slowing down. Slide the lever into Sports mode and the Corolla sedan is less prone to change cogs when cornering. The CVT is the default transmission in the ZR and a $2250 add-on to the Ascent and SX.
Toyota also claims more linear acceleration with a more direct reaction between pushing down on the accelerator and firing up the engine/transmission response.
Exterior changes include revised headlamps a bigger air intake on the front bumper,
alon along with ih LED tail lamps and some chrome bling at the rear. The dash now uses a layered look to help hide joins and is made of thicker material to improve sound insulation. Toyota spokesman Stephen Coughlan says the
Cor Corollall h hatch will also pick up the safety gear but isn’t in line for a facelift.
“The hatch launched a little prior to the current generation sedan and underwent a similar update in 2015,” Coughlan says.
Capped price servicing remains at $140 a visit.