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To celebrate 50 years of Corolla heritage, Toyota is kicking off the year with a sleeker model to augment its iconic status.
Now well into its eleventh generation, Toyota has had plenty of time to perfect the Corolla recipe. It remains the world’s best-selling nameplate and is still one of the most popular vehicles in the brand’s line-up.
In the 40 years that Corolla has been part of South African life more than a million units have been produced and sold locally.
In development of the 11 generations, Toyota has always remained true to its original principles of building a car of superior quality, enduring durability and indisputable reliability.
From the beginning the Corolla was designed to have wide appeal. As a people’s car it was affordable and, as a family car, it offered generous amounts of space while displaying higher build quality and a considerable number of equipment features.
Upgrades to the 11th generation Corolla include exterior front and rear-end refreshments and enhanced interior modifications to give it a classier feel.
The upper grille is flanked by redesigned headlamp clusters, while the front bumper has been revised to incorporate a second, lower grille. This design is further accentuated by LEDs on the Exclusive models. The bonnet has been raised and the bumper corners have been deeply sculpted to enhance the Corolla’s 3D effect.
Rear styling of 1,8-litre models has been enhanced through incorporation of LED tail lamp clusters and redesigned chrome garnish to emphasise the vehicle’s width.
Inside, the instrument panel has been updated with a layered structure that hides joints, along with an improved climate control panel and circular air vents. In Prestige models the size of the Audio Touch Screen has been increased from 6,1 to 7 inches.
In the interests of safety, both VSC and HAC are now standard on models of 1,6-litre capacity and above.
The 2017 Corolla continues to deliver competent performance and good economy, which translates into attractive cost-of-ownership benefits. The engine line-up remains unchanged, featuring a choice of a 1,4-litre D-4D turbodiesel and three petrol engines; a 1,3-litre, a 1,6-litre and the 1,8-litre. All engines feature Dual VVT-I and are fitted with six-speed manual transmissions.
The 1,3-litre petrol engine generates 73kW at 6000rpm and 128Nm at 3800rpm while using a claimed 6,0 litres/100km in the combined cycle.
The 1,6-litre develops 90kW at 6000rpm and 154Nm at 5200rpm. Fuel economy is said to be a frugal 6,6 litres/100km.
The 1.8-litre boasts 103kW at 6400rpm and 173Nm at 4000rpm, it is said to use only 7,0litres/100km
The 1.4-litre D-4D diesel engine benefits from optimised combustion chamber dimensions and enhanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation to produce 66kW and 205Nm between 1800 and 2800rpm. It is said to return a fuel consumption figure of 4,5 litres/100 kilometres.
The 1,6- and 1,8-litre engines can also be equipped with a Multidrive S automatic (CVT) transmission. Revised tuning of the CVT transmission delivers shifts that are quicker, crisper and smoother with better matching to engine speed. The CVT also helps to generate suitable engine braking when downshifting, including deceleration control.
The front MacPherson strut and rear torsion-beam suspension system have been fitted with larger diameter shock absorbers to enhance damping force for an improved balance between ride, comfort and handling stability.
The Corolla might not be the cheapest or most dynamic of vehicles on the market today, but over the last 50 years the model has always been a safe bet and the updated model reinforces the point.
Corollas have an enviable record for reliability and have always retained their value well when the time does come to trade them in for a newer model – which is often another Corolla.
It is these attributes that have made the car a firm South African favourite that will continue to win hearts long after its 50th birthday cake has been eaten.