Mild tweaks to Toy­ota’s ev­ery­man sedan high­lights the car’s 50th an­niver­sary


THIS year, Toy­ota cel­e­brates the 50th an­niver­sary of one of its most re­spected and best­selling prod­ucts: the Corolla. To tie in with th­ese cel­e­bra­tions, the com­pany has now re­leased the facelifted ver­sion of the 11th gen­er­a­tion that was orig­i­nally launched in 2013.

Vis­ually, you’ll find the most sig­nif­i­cant up­dates at the front of the car, which now fea­tures prom­i­nent slats at each end of the bumper. They give the nose a stronger iden­tity and also af­ford sharper visual fo­cus to the head­lamps. The rear lights, mean­while, have re­ceived their own set of en­hance­ments.

The Corolla does not of­fer the most ex­cit­ing cabin de­sign, opt­ing for func­tion­al­ism over frip­peries. Mi­nor up­grades have been made to lessen noise in­tru­sion and it is cer­tainly more mod­ern in its ex­e­cu­tion than be­fore. The touch­screen for the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in the Pres­tige mod­els has in­creased in size from 6,1 to 7,0 inches.

The en­gine range is un­changed, but safety and com­fort lev­els have been en­hanced, with ve­hi­cle-sta­bil­ity and hill­start-as­sist con­trol now both stan­dard on 1,6-litre mod­els and up. Be­neath the body­work, the sus­pen­sion has also been mildly tweaked for bet­ter bal­ance and over­all han­dling abil­ity.

If fuel con­sump­tion is at the top of your agenda, the 1,4-litre tur­bod­iesel is the model to con­sider. Al­though it doesn’t of­fer all the com­fort and safety fea­tures of the more ex­pen­sive 1,8 Ex­clu­sive, you’ll ben­e­fit at the pumps. Dur­ing the launch route, and with a rel­a­tively en­thua­sis­tic right foot, the Corolla av­er­aged 5,7 L/100 km. Pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with this en­gine has shown high fours is a pos­si­bil­ity.

De­liv­er­ing just 66 kw at 3 800 r/min, but a health­ier 205 N.m be­tween 1 800 and 2 800 r/min, the en­gine is at its best be­tween 2 000 and 4 000 r/min, where it de­liv­ers punchy per­for­mance while stay­ing ac­cept­ably quiet.

Through­out our drive along the Cape Penin­sula, the car dis­played per­son­al­ity traits we’re fa­mil­iar with in the Corolla; it still of­fers a well-damped ride, while noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness lev­els are kept to a min­i­mum. As be­fore, the gear­lever eas­ily slips through each ra­tio.

In true Corolla tra­di­tion, the up­dated car again builds on a half-cen­tury her­itage of of­fer­ing a prod­uct that will ap­peal to most fam­ily buy­ers. It ticks all the main boxes, and with the re­li­a­bil­ity track record it has, it is dif­fi­cult to fault.

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