Home' Open Road North Shore : OR0717 Contents speed manual or six-speed automatic. Claimed fuel consumption
is 7.4L/100km. The engine’s power characteristics mean plenty
of response off the mark and it’s quiet at highway speeds.
Much work has been carried out to ensure the new i30 handles
our unique road conditions. A multi-link rear suspension setup
replaces the old model’s more rudimentary design, enabling
engineers to fine-tune the suspension. These improvements
mean rough sections of road don’t upset the i30 as much, while
its bump absorption and ride quality are exceptional.
As usual, the i30 offers tremendous value – alloy wheels are
standard across the range and it’s the only base model to get
sat nav as standard – however, no auto-up on the driver’s window
is a glaring oversight. Central to the new design is a large eight-
inch multimedia screen mounted high in the dash, and below are
controls for the air conditioning. Ahead of the driver are two
large, easy-to-read dials for speed and engine revs, while a
digital speedo straddles the two. Seats are finished in a nice
grade of material (higher spec versions have contrasting
stitching) and they’re on par with competitors for comfort.
Yet, once again, the i30 is missing that indefinable styling
X factor. The interior, while an improvement over its predecessor,
is charmless in the new base model, which could leave it open to
that old ‘whitegoods on wheels’ criticism.
The Corolla has been around almost as long as I have (not quite)
and with over 1.25 million sold here, Toyota knows a thing or two
about small cars. In 2015, the line-up was revamped and many
of the disappointing areas inside, such as the dash, phone
connectivity and audio, were sorted. The Corolla now offers a
pre-collision safety package, using a windscreen mounted
camera and a light detection and range sensor, for an extra $750.
There have been some mechanical improvements as well.
Engine tweaks have improved fuel consumption and revisions
to the Corolla’s suspension tune have improved ride quality
and general handling. Toyota’s capped price servicing, at $140
for the first three years, covers all models.
Prices start at $20,190 for the Ascent manual, the CVT auto
is $22,230 and the SX with the safety pack (which we tested) is
$26,750. The lone engine option is a 1.8-litre petrol, developing
103kW and 173Nm with a claimed 6.1L/100km fuel consumption.
Up against the Astra’s torquey turbo engine and the bigger 2.0 -
litre in the Subaru and i30, the Corolla doesn’t lose any ground
and the stepped CVT transmission is certainly on par with the
conventional autos in the Astra and i30. On the road, the
Corolla is well damped and surefooted.
The front seats are more comfortable than they appear, with
bolstering that keeps the occupants secure without being
restrictive. The rear seats are firmer and passengers sit up a
little higher, but there’s enough leg and foot room for adults. The
60/40 split folds almost flat, creating a more useable cargo area.
The dashboard, in particular, has benefited from a much-
needed makeover. A new seven-inch touchscreen, along with
the introduction of Toyota’s app system, brings the Corolla back
into contention with the leading players. Interior detailing has
been lifted and the instrumentation now has a blue backlighting
that’s softer on the eye. Disappointingly, it’s the only vehicle of
these four to miss out on a digital speedo. Moreover, the
touchscreen volume controls are difficult to use while driving.
From the outside, the Corolla looks smaller than the others,
especially compared to the Impreza (which is 185mm longer),
yet the tape measure inside tells a different story: millimetres
differentiate them all in leg room and luggage space.
What stands out in this comparison is how little separates the
four contenders, even in fuel consumption. On our drive loop,
the Subaru returned 6.0L/100km, the Corolla 6.2L/100km, the
Astra 6.5L/100km and the i30 7.2L/100km. But the Impreza has
a fraction more space, while an expansive windscreen and lower
waistline add to the cabin’s sense of airiness. Its overall
driveability, improved styling and attention to detail can’t be
faulted, either. Doing almost everything well is what gives the
Impreza the edge in a closely-fought comparison.
auto Power: 110kW Torque:
240Nm Fuel consumption:
Transmission: CVT Power:
103kW Torque: 173Nm
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