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CAPE TOWN – This year, Toyota celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of its most respected and best-selling products, the Corolla. To tie in with these celebrations, the company has now released the facelifted version of the 11th generation, which was originally launched in 2013.

What is new?

Most notably, the front of the car. It now features noticeable slats towards the end of the bumper which emphasise the stronger focus on the front of the car and the sharper headlights. At the rear the lights have also received a minor tweak.

The engine range is unchanged, but safety and comfort levels have been upgraded. Vehicle stability control and hill start assist control are both now standard on 1,6-litre models and up.

Minor upgrades have also been made to make the cabin even quieter, while the touchscreen/DVD infotainment system in the Prestige models has increased in size from 6,1 to 7,0 inches.

Beneath the bodywork the suspension has also been mildly tweaked for better balance and handling.

Behind the wheel

I opted for the 1,8-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine. Offered in the top-of-the-range Exclusive trim, it offers auto climate control, push start with smart key and the most extensive airbag package as well as rain sensing wipers.

Through the Cape Peninsula, the car drove exactly as we expect it to. It still offers a very well-damped ride (as do all the Corollas), while noise, vibration and harshness levels are excellently kept to a minimum. As before, the gearlever easily slips through each respective ratio.

Delivering 103 kW at 6 400 r/min and 173 N.m at 4 000 r/min, the engine is very happy higher up in the rev range. However, should you decide to potter around town, it can do that well, too. And if you drive with an unnecessary level of enthusiasm through some corners, uhm, as we did, it might surprise you with its level of commitment.

Summary

The Corolla does not offer the most exciting cabin design, and there are also no fripperies of which to speak. Although the same could be said about the exterior, it is certainly more modern in its execution than before.

However, in true Corolla tradition, the updated car is simply building on the half-century heritage of offering a sedan that will appeal to most buyers. It ticks all the main boxes, and with the reliability track record it has, it is difficult to fault.

Pricing of the full Corolla range:
1,3 Esteem: R261 300
1,3 Prestige: R281 300
1,6 Esteem: R280 200
1,4 D Esteem: R294 400
1,4 D Prestige: R307 500
1,6 Prestige: R299 900
1,6 Prestige AT: R314 000
1,8 Prestige: R313 500
1,8 Exclusive: R336 300
1,8 Exclusive AT: R349 400

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