Super Street - - Contents - WORDS & PHO­TOS Sam Du

The Toy­ota Corolla hasn’t been an ex­cit­ing car to drive since, oh, the ’80s! The front en­gine, rear-wheel-drive Corolla we know as the AE86 or Hachi-roku, was one of the most pop­u­lar rides among Ja­panese car en­thu­si­asts for its high-revvin’ en­gine, light weight, 50/50 weight dis­tri­bu­tion, and tun­ing po­ten­tial. Its fan­dom grew with its role in the Ini­tial D se­ries, plus the hun­dreds of ex­am­ples seen com­pet­ing in not just pro­fes­sional drift­ing, but also rally and club rac­ing. The spirit of the AE86 was re­born in the Scion Fr-s/toy­ota 86; how­ever, for the last thirty-some years, the Corolla badge has lived on with bor­ing cars your aun­ties would drive ev­ery day to work. Toy­ota aims to change this stigma with its lat­est hatch­back of­fer­ing, and we’re go­ing to be one of the first to build one as a project car!


The Corolla is the suc­ces­sor to the Scion im/corolla im, and we can’t help but feel its de­sign is a step in the right di­rec­tion. It fea­tures more mod­ern, ath­letic, bolder styling cues. Some of our fa­vorite fea­tures are the sleek LED head­lights and tail­lights, large front grille, and slightly pro­nounced wheel arches. At some an­gles, it kind of re­minded us of a Mazda3, but over­all it looks more sporty than or­di­nary, it’s keepin’ up with the times, and it should ap­peal to a younger, fun-seek­ing au­di­ence—not just your aun­ties.

You’re not go­ing to get the rear-wheel plat­form you wanted, but that doesn’t mean this new Corolla is a com­plete fail. It’s up 31 hp and 25 lb-ft of torque from the pre­vi­ous model to 168 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. This is thanks to a new fuel-in­jected 2.0L in­line-four 16-valve known as the M20A-FKS. Toy­ota tells us im­prove­ments were made all around from a longer stroke, high 13:1 com­pres­sion, freer-flowing ports, and in­creased valve lift. Most mod­els will come with a new CVT, but def­i­nitely drive the lighter six-speed if you get the chance to take one for a spin (yes, man­ual is still of­fered!). It can be quite peppy to drive in the city.

Han­dling is where Toy­ota’s lat­est lineup tends to shine, from the C-HR to the Camry. The Corolla fol­lows suit and feels like it’s more than ca­pa­ble of tack­ling cor­ners. It em­ploys Toy­ota’s lat­est TNGA C plat­form, mean­ing the over­all struc­ture equates to 60 per­cent more tor­sional rigid­ity than the pre­vi­ous Corolla im. There’s also a new multi-link sus­pen­sion in the rear, in­creas­ing steer­ing feel and han­dling per­for­mance. Just like the 86, the Corolla still might lack the power you want out of the box, but the han­dling is above aver­age for an en­try-level car.

While it might not swipe you off your feet with per­for­mance, the Corolla re­tains the Corolla at­tributes you’re used to, such as be­ing fuel ef­fi­cient (up to 42 mpg on the high­way in the SE trim), af­ford­able (MSRP $19,990-$24,090), and safe (stan­dard Toy­ota Safety Sense 2.0).


We picked up an Ox­ide Bronze XSE model, ba­si­cally the top-ofthe-line edi­tion, which comes with things like 18-inch wheels, rear spoiler, power driver seat, and leather-trimmed in­te­rior. Two days af­ter tak­ing de­liv­ery, we al­ready had the car at Auto Tuned in­stalling the first set of RS-R coilovers. What’s planned next in­cludes RAYS wheels (duh!), Cor­beau seats, big brakes, and Tom’s Rac­ing lip kit and ex­haust from Ja­pan. We’re still fi­nal­iz­ing all the de­tails, as the Corolla was first to mar­ket in the U.S. and there sim­ply isn’t much af­ter­mar­ket sup­port for it yet. But with the help of artist Jon Sibal, maybe this ren­der­ing can be­gin to make you be­liev­ers of the new Corolla Hatch­back.

››Overnight parts from Ja­pan, lit­er­ally! This is the first set of coilovers RS-R de­vel­oped for the U.s.-spec Corolla, and it rides like a dream!

››At first, we weren’t sure about the Bronze Ox­ide paint, but when we low­ered the hatch­back on our 18-inch fac­tory XSE wheels, it’s ac­tu­ally not too shabby!

››Al­ready un­der the knife at Auto Tuned for the coilover in­stall.

››Our goal is to make this look like some­thing you’d find on the floors of Tokyo Auto Salon us­ing au­then­tic JDM parts such as the Tom’s Rac­ing lip kit and Volk Rac­ing Te37saga wheels. Shoutout to @jon­si­bal for help­ing us out with this sick ren­der­ing!

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