Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

As Hyundai and oth­ers do bat­tle at the su­per-sharp $20,000 price point, Toy­ota aims to lure buy­ers up to $23,990 drive-away for a Corolla auto with some ex­tra fruit. Over the stan­dard model the As­cent Sport comes with 16-inch al­loys, fog lights, pri­vacy glass and a leather steer­ing wheel and gear shift lever. Capped price ser­vic­ing over three years is $840, among the cheap­est in the busi­ness. War­ranty is three years/100,000km. A mi­nor makeover last year added a sleeker head­light and bumper de­sign and new tail-lights. But the big news is the in­te­rior — the more mod­ern dash­board has a large touch­screen dis­play (al­though, as with the Suzuki, no vol­ume dial). Cabin and cargo space are smaller than in the Suzuki but this model Corolla has a full-size (steel) spare ver­sus the Vitara’s space-saver. The 1.8-litre four-cylin­der (103kW/173Nm) is matched to a CVT with seven pre­sets. It’s spritely enough for most peo­ple’s needs and has more oomph than the Suzuki. It uses a lit­tle more fuel though (6.7L/100km says the la­bel, ex­pect 11.0L around town) but, as with the Vitara, it takes reg­u­lar un­leaded. Seven airbags — also in­clud­ing one for the driver’s knee — and fives­tar safety rat­ing. The rear cam­era is one of the sharpest and clear­est around (Holden, Jeep and Honda, for ex­am­ple, have milky dis­plays and are heav­ily pix­e­lated at night), al­though the guid­ing lines don’t turn with the steer­ing (as with the Suzuki). The up­dated Corolla drives bet­ter than when this gen­er­a­tion ar­rived in 2012. It shifts smoothly, steers nicely and the brakes have a re­as­sur­ing bite. It trails the Suzuki in cabin space and lacks its taller view. That may not seem a fair com­par­i­son but the re­al­ity is buy­ers are cross-shop­ping th­ese types of cars.

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