Toyota Corolla 1,8-litre Exclusive Multidrive S

Toyota recently launched the 11th version of its Corolla (we’ve only received the last seven) onto the local market. Here are our thoughts on the 1,8-litre Exclusive Multidrive S (aka CVT).

Longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, the new Toyota Corolla incorporates the Toyota brand’s new design direction. The squared-off corners and elongated three-box profile are typically Corolla, but the newcomer has a much more dynamic front end – the bars of the grille extend into the oversized LED-adorned trapezoidal headlamp clusters to give the saloon a broad, thrusting nose. The flanks sport character lines that emphasise the Corolla’s rear arches and the kicked-up leading edge of the side glass. At the back, protruding wraparound tail-lamp clusters and a chrome bar contribute to a wedge-like rear three-quarter profile.

The most notable aspect of the Corolla’s interior is the generous amount of rear legroom that if offers. Also, despite the cliff-like facia architecture of the Auris that has been carried over, the interior looks upmarket thanks to the piano-black finish to the infotainment system, a soft-touch dashboard and sophisticated dark grey accents.

Under the bonnet lies a 103 kW, 1,8 litre engine with 173 N.m of torque. The performance is best described as acceptable and easy with smooth power delivery and a gradual increase in speed. Overtaking manoeuvres would have to be well-timed as the engine feels rather lifeless. It’s mated with a CVT ‘box that is smooth acting and will aid in fuel consumption. The usual CVT drone is there, but it’s not too bad when simply cruising around town.

The Corolla has good road noise suppression and an absorbent overall ride quality. Dynamically, while it won’t thrill the senses, it’s not as dull and humdrum as I expected it to be. There’s a decent amount of feel to the steering as well as little body roll. Toyota claims that weight reduction, clever suspension geometry and improvements to steering responsiveness have all helped in this area.

This particular model comes with all the safety, comfort and convenience spec that Toyota could throw at it, including ABS with EBD and brake assist, six airbags, leather upholstery, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and an audio system that can play CDs, DVDs, USB devices and a Bluetooth connection.

Overall, the new Corolla is massively different to the old one on almost every level. But it had to be. Since the launch of the outgoing generation, the Koreans have come in and impressed the masses with their cars that not only offer the practically and family appeal that buyers in this segment demand, but also given them cars that look good and that come with added bells and whistles. So, the question really is whether or not the new Corolla can claw back some of its lost ground. My answer is … perhaps. It has what it takes to keep the loyal Toyota supporters and it has the potential to win over some others. Honestly, it will still outsell the Koreans and I think the new one is a solid product, but I don’t think the Corolla will ever be the darling of the C-segment sedan market again. Too much has happened in the car market and South African buyers are very much aware that there is more on offer out there. That says more about the South African public than the Corolla, though.

Toyota Corolla 1,8-litre Exclusive Multidrive S
Engine: 1,8-litre, 4-cylinder petrol
Transmission: CVT
Power: 103 kW @ 6 400 r/min
Torque: 173 N.m @ 4 000 r/min
0-100 km/h: 10,2 seconds
Fuel consumption: 6,4 litres/100 km
CO2: 152 g/km
Top speed: 195 km/h
Price: R283 900
Service plan: 5 years/90 000 km
Service intervals: 15 000 km
*Manufacturer’s claim

You can read a driving impression on the diesel model here and look out for road test on the 1,6-litre Corolla in the March issue of CAR, on sale 24 February.

  • Miguel

    Impressive looking! Just love it!

  • Knormoer

    Life is too short to drive a boring car.

    • Miguel

      …like a VW polo or Golf. You´ve got the point.

      • Knormoer

        None of those are direct competitors. But while you mentioned them. Golf? Isn’t that the current world and European car of the year? Oh and let’s not forget about the Japanese car of the year title. That is the first time ever that a non Japanese car took that title. Impressive don’t you think?

        Oh and the Polo driver can at least bask in the knowledge that his wheels were used by VW to enter the WRC championship and dominate in their very first year of competition, taking both the drivers and manufacturers title by a country mile. And after 2 events this year a repeat performance seems to be on the cards.

        GTI vs TRD. When last did we see a decent TRD model on our roads?

        Try Jetta for boring and I might even agree with you.

        • Miguel

          Have you heard about the huge VW scandal in Germany or do you live in the jungle among lions and rhinos??

          • Knormoer

            Of course I have. That is not a VW scandall but ADAC (
            Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club) We may have a few rhinos and lions left in the country but jungle? Nope the closest we get to jungle is called the bush here. You are more likely to find a tiger in the jungle than a lion.

            So how about that Japanese coty? Was that also influenced by ADAC?

          • Miguel

            There´s a difference: The VW Golf IV reached 4 stars in 1998 European crash test… the 2000 Toyota Camry and Corolla 5 stars! About the jungle; yes, I find everyday lots of tigers and also lions and above all monkeys, thinking that VW made better cars than other marques… poor animals!!!!

          • Confido

            Good grief! What are you smoking? Your arguments are totaly of topic and frankly rather childish. 1998 Golfs and 2000 Camrys? Jungles? I also had a look at the so called Yellow Angel hoo ha and there is no evidence thar VW was involved. They even offered to return the award. If I remember correctly your own words at the launch of the Golf7 was: ‘Must be good, but not for me’. Like a bad politician you avoided the issue and spinned another story to try and get out of the hole your arguments landed you in.

            I am not misled or impressed. So how about congratulations on those Car of the year titles then?

          • Knormoer

            Confido do not allow Miguel to get under your skin. He is known on this forum for quite a while now and has been unmasked as a pathological liar and basic village idiot on various occasions.

            Some of his best performances:

            For months he posted doctored sales figures from countries all over the world. At closer inspection it was revealed that all of those had the VW figures removed or replaced by other manufacturers.

            At some stage he claimed to be “an docter”, weeks later a teacher and within a month a motoring journalist.

            The cars in his imaginary garage can fill a small motoring museum. I personally invited him to join the Gauteng branch of the MX-5 club when he claimed to be driving one of those. His wive is driving a Toyota Etios Liva. He is actually living in Portugal. When he made that claim he did not realise that the hatcback version is not known as a Liva in SA and that some people knew that he was not a local. (Etios is not sold in Europe)

            As long as you enjoy a good banter and is prepared for a trip to his dream world it can be fun to take him down a peg or two

  • teofli

    The front looks like a Honda Ballade and the rear looks like the earlier version of the Hyundai Eantra. It is nevertheless a slight departure from the current model. I think they should have been more adventurous as the did with the Auris.