Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Corolla Splashing out Sensible with Hint of Luxury; Ultima Adds a Little More Luxury to Its Fine Tradition of Value and Dependability

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Corolla Splashing out Sensible with Hint of Luxury; Ultima Adds a Little More Luxury to Its Fine Tradition of Value and Dependability

Article excerpt

WHEEL NUT

Vani Naidoo

TOYOTA has always found a place of fondness in Australian hearts, a 50-year association cementing the manufacturer's position in our automotive industry.

The love affair started in an era when reliability and good solid bones were prized above fancy glitterati and those roots have stood the test of time.

So well, that despite Toyota's worldwide recall of more than 10 million vehicles in the past year, sales figures have increased by more than a quarter.

That is undeniable testimony to brand power and Toyota's ability to identify a target market and play to it.

The latest upgrade to the Corolla Ultima range comes in response to technology savvy consumers demanding more for their dollar.

Toyota has responded with a splash of luxury and generous inclusions that it hopes will make loyal followers out of a new generation of car buyers.

Comfort

Plush leather seats and soft touch plastics set the tone for the improved interior. The functional and aesthetically pleasing instrument panel is given added interest by funky orange accent lighting.

In true Toyota fashion, even the secondary controls are close at hand, ensuring navigation is a breeze.

The seats are comfortable, but perhaps could lose a little more of that benchy feel and while the Ultima gains in width, the back seat should remain very much the preserve of children.

Boot space is impressive while storage pockets are well-placed, but minimal.

On the road

While the Ultima is the only Corolla to get a 2.0-litre engine, it only really equates to a 2% increase in power and an 8% improvement in torque.

Throw in the four-speed auto (rivals have five or more ratios) and it is easy to see why it may lag the competition in the power stakes.

That said, it still delivers a solid drive. Engine noise is minimal and it is smooth going on good roads.

Take off speed is excellent, handling is good and the steering pretty responsive.

What do you get? …

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