TOYOTA COROLLA ASCENT
Almost two years since the hatch went on sale, it’s joined by the sedan. The base model manual Ascent is $250 cheaper than the outgoing model and Toyota claims $2000 in extra value. Standard are 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, reversing camera and parking sensors. Servicing is capped at $130 a throw for three years.
The new sedan is 80mm longer than the previous model — at 4620mm, it’s hard to call it a small car. The extra 100mm of wheelbase means more cabin space and rear legroom is exceptional. Boot space is also great at 470L. The cockpit is conservative and refined, much like the exterior.
Toyota carries over the 1.8-litre four-cylinder (103kW/173Nm) from the previous Corolla. By trimming 25kg and improving aerodynamics, the maker claims 7.0L/100km of 91 RON for the six-speed manual.It matches the Mazda’s front strut suspension but has torsion beam rear.
This 11th-generation Corolla gets five stars from ANCAP crash test rating. Looking after you is ABS, stability and traction control, plus seven airbags including a new hip and lower chest bag. The spare is fullsize. Good on Toyota for making the reversing camera standard, too.
DRIVING 3 STARS
Corollas are like toasters — easy to use and reliable. No one talks about a toaster’s performance but the truth is the Corolla’s old engine could do with more oomph and the torsion beam bum brings out the bumps in a road. The driving position feels high and upright while the large seats don’t offer much support in the corners. Functional but far from fun.