Hit the brakes

Toy­ota has up­dated its top-sell­ing car but safety tech re­mains op­tional

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - NEWS - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

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

Coroll Corolla 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.

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