By BRENWIN NAIDU
It may not be the most glamorous vehicle out there and it probably won’t elicit envy from your friends, but the Toyota Corolla has a reputation few can match.
And it really doesn’t matter what mere commentators like myself might say about this car – because the name speaks for itself: when Corolla is mentioned you’re going to associate it with images of unwavering reliabilty and faithful service for hundreds and thousands of kilometres. If what you’re after is a car that will get you from A to B to Z with no fuss, this is what you buy – plain and simple.
In South Africa, we’re fond of the Corolla. Just ask one of your family members and you’re bound to hear a great story involving a Corolla. I vividly remember my uncle’s blue 1998 130 model. When he sold it some time ago, in favour of something a bit more modern, the odometer read somewhere around 450 000 kilometres. But Corolla fanatics will be quick to interject here – pointing out that one of these cars would probably be capable of covering way more than that.
The present generation Toyota Corolla recently received a host of little tweaks here and there, giving it a fresher face as it goes on into the second decade of the new millenium. This is part of Toyota’s “Kaizen” philosphy – with perpetual evolution and improvement in design at the core of the Kaizen ethos.
At the very top of the hierarchy, you’ve got the 2.0D Exclusive model – which is powered by a diesel engine as the “D” denotes and this one carries a price-tag of R282,000. Then, in the middle, you can take the 1.6 Advanced derivative priced at R222,800. And for those who want some of that Corolla robustness and reliability on a budget, there is the 1.3 Impact, which is propelled by Toyota’s four-cylinder Optimal Drive power-plant. This comes in at a reasonable R177,700.
You could label the 1.3 model as the “green” choice in the Corolla range: its Optimal Drive engine technology aims to give as much as possible, from as little as possible. The frugality of this motor was proven when an average fuel consumption figure of 5.27 litres/100 km was achieved by journalists at the launch of this model. This fuel-saving virtue certainly demonstrates the viabilty of smaller engines in larger-bodied vehicles.
Changes that go across the model range include a totally revised front-end – with a new grille, front bumper and lights. The rear also receives new light cluster units. Inside, the Corolla now accomodates iPods, USB and other portable audio devices. In addition to this, there is a new steering wheel with a square-bottom – much like you would find on some of the sporty Audi models.
All Corollas come with a 100 000km/three-year warranty. And in the unlikely event your Corolla will leave you stuck, a roadside assistance programme is also offered.