Meet the world’s most famous Sedan

Andrew Muzamhindo

The first Corolla (Korora in Japanese) generation was introduced in 1966 with the new 1100 cc K pushrod engine. Some 54 years later, it has gone on to become the world’s most famous Sedan

With more than 46 million Toyota Corollas sold globally since its introduction, it would be difficult to find a driver who did not recognise the name. Everyone, it seems, has a Corolla story. Many, though are going to be doing double takes when they see the re-imagined and reconfigured 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan. And that is exactly the point.

Despite some wait since the launch of the hatch, the new Corolla sedan has arrived in some parts of the world. We expect it in Zimbabwe sometime this year.
Toyota shook up the midsize sedan ranks with the new-generation Camry, and now the compact sedan segment is in for a jolt with the 2020 Corolla sedan. From every angle, the new Corolla sedan looks lower and leaner, tauter and tighter. Powerful fender flares and generously curved fender top surfaces accent its sculpted, athletic core.

The design team called its working concept “shooting robust,” because they were shooting for a robust, confidence-inspiring stance. Yet, they had to maintain ample space for practical, real-world use. That is why people buy sedans, after all.

The new Corolla sedan measures 4630 mm from nose to tail — a substantial 255 mm longer than the hatch and 10mm up on the outgoing sedan, despite styling which gives it a more compact look.

It adopts the Toyota new generation architecture as used by the hatch, C-HR and Prius, but the wheelbase remains the same as the previous sedan at 2700mm, which is 60mm longer than the hatch.

At the rear, the boot is another key dimension shared with the previous-gen sedan at 470L – a step up of between 137L and 257L more (depending on the variant) over the hatch.

The driver gets a decent range of adjustment, including seat height, but the front passenger misses out and it leaves the left-front seat feeling a little lofty for some. Instruments are a touch more basic on the base model, and paired with a urethane steering wheel.

On the mid-grade SX and flagship ZR there’s ‘premium’ fake leather on the wheel and gear knob, plus a more informative 7.0-inch display in the middle of the gauge cluster.

In the rear, the leg room is more generous, and while it is hardly limo-like, there is enough space to fit behind a tall driver.Put someone more moderately sized up front and the rear is quite easy to fit into. You do have to duck a little to avoid a head strike, but it hardly has a contortionist move to have to make.

The new three-model range now offers petrol power across the board, or a hybrid option on the Ascent Sport and SX, with the top-tier ZR missing out.
The petrol CVT has real smarts, launches cleanly and avoids the slurring, slow reactions of older CVT autos. The hybrid achieves a similar feel, but uses extra electric torque when more punch is required, and does so very effectively.

If you are one of the few remaining manual drivers, you will like the clean shift feel and light clutch of the manual. It is nicer than your average low-price runabout needs to be, and shows Toyota is still prepared to put the work in, even on a variant with a tiny sales forecast.

The result is a new small sedan that drives a lot like a Corolla. It goes without saying, really. Ultimately, it is a very good thing; the new Corolla is a much better car than it really needs to be.

Crucially, all variants come with safety kit including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection (day and night) and cyclist detection (day), seven airbags, lane-departure alert with steering assist, road sign recognition, active cornering assist, two ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat mounts, and a reverse camera.

Automatics feature lane-trace control for more accurate lane centering and all-speed cruise control. The manual Ascent Sport has ‘high-speed’ adaptive cruise (from 30km/h and up) and misses out on trace control.

The SX and ZR also pick up blind-spot monitoring.The Corolla sedan continues that legacy, effectively and convincingly, while at the same time addressing packaging issues found in hatch models. For families, first-car buyers, fleets or empty-nesters, there’s now a Corolla to suit just about all tastes – not just because it’s a Corolla, but because it’s a good Corolla.
Engine Configuration: 1.8
Engine Type: Petrol
Drive Type: 2WD
Transmission: Automatic
Power: 104 kW (141 hp)
andrew@muzamhindo.com

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