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Old 22nd September 2008, 03:08   #1
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Default Toyota Corolla 2008 Reviewed

Ever since their launch when anyone was asked about their choice of a compact/sub-compact family car, the small crown – Corolla from Toyota would be the unmistakable answer. Since the past 40 years, they have sold so many different models in the world. In 1997, they actually won the highest selling model in the world. It is also a known fact that a Corolla is gone in 40 seconds i.e. sold every 40 seconds across the globe.

The E140—150 series, the present Corollas are marketed as an improvement of the old Corollas. In terms of looks, it looks new, yes it does – sort of. I mean, compared to their earlier Asian die-cast model of a Fabia, this one is “kinda” new. For around $21,000 they give you almost all the goodies expected except for cruise and stability control. I would like to think, they forgot about it when they installed central locking, keyless entry, 6-speaker mp3 system with a jack to dock your mp3 player, tilt steering, ABS, EBD and brake assist, 60/40 split fold seats and engine immobiliser. The car is comfy too and the buttons to access the goodies are well-placed. If you spend an extra $1500, you can get the Cruise pack - cruise control and leather upholstery AND the Enhanced safety pack – full-curtain and driver knee air bags. Still, they should have included the stability control. Now, that doesn’t entirely support Toyota’s claim to be the most safe Japanese car money can buy.

The different variants available have flashier interiors. No, do not expect anything spectacular. It annoys me when it is “quite evident” that Toyota put up a flashy glowing sticker around the needles making it the speedometer and tachometer. Now, that isn’t Star Trek but your juniors would be “Wowing” about the same.

There was another annoying thing. But, first let me ask you readers something. Has Toyota committed something wrong or hurt anyone’s feelings in the recent past? I mean, yes a few petrol heads are irritated due to the environmentalist speculations – Buy a Prius, save your money, save the planet. I completely agree with saving the planet. But, saving the money? It costs more than a regular car. Well, as a result of some criticism, we think it seems Toyota is trying to stay low. They did not mention themselves as Toyota on the speedo of their own car - Corolla. Instead, they use some 8 digit code filled with letters and numbers that made no sense to me.

Anyway, let’s talk about the drive, shall we? The 1.8litre, 4-cylinder petrol VVT-I engine strokes out 136hp which makes the car feel quick. It reaches 100ks’ in 9.7 seconds which is respectable for a 4-banger. Push the car beyond the 4000 revs and the car hustles as if its last attempt to redeem itself which to a certain extent hides the breathless factor. The gear shifts are good right up till the moment you are forced to drive it backwards. Yes, I had to struggle to engage reverse. But, I must stress, the forward shifts are good and thus makes accelerating easy.

The light-weight (1300kilos) FWD combination make the car go well in straight lines. But, you are bound to be tossed over during bends. The car has got serious body-roll issues. If you take a turn with some more speed, you will see you going elsewhere – understeer. The only advantage of the height is driving through unlevel terrains which may happen when you stop concentrating on the road while driving as you stop your eight-year old disturbing your four-year old in the back.

The turning radius of 10.4 metre is good, but the increase in length may disappoint inexperienced drivers in the parking lot. Mums, install some parking sensors. The height-adjustable seats will allow the mothers to drive this car with ease though. The boot space of around 450 litres is quite a handful. Though the legroom in the back may be average for the elders, it is quite a lot for the younger ones. The fuel consumption is 13.7ks/litre.

So, this one is a fairly decent family car with a decent performance. It can easily accommodate a family, it is comfy and is easy and dear to maintain. The materials used (other than the leather) is something you wouldn’t mind getting dingy by your sons’ football shoes, your daughters melting candy bar and even your toddlers’ spillage. If this happened in a Honda Civic, I would be raging.

One may argue that a family man will not drive irresponsibly and so there is no need for a stability control system. But, accidents happen accidently. Stability control can definitely minimise the chances. Other than that, the Corolla is uninspiring and dull to drive and the exhaust yawns, “Boring”. Yes, we agree the price is unbeatable and has an average performance thus making it irresistible. It is the soulless driving that we dislike in this vehicle. So, we may say this family car is right if your Mrs. is going to drive it. I mean, look at the pedals. They are so narrow and close. They are for the females.

For roughly the same price, you may want to consider a Mazda 3 or the Honda Civic. Mazda 3 had road noise problems and some may find the taut suspension un-comfy. The Honda Civic only had road noise issues. So, think before you buy!!!

TIP: If you don’t seek driving pleasure buy the Corolla. If the terrain conditions in your country are unlevelled then buy a Mazda 3 or a Corolla. If the terrain conditions are levelled in your country, then go for a Mazda 3 or a Civic. If your kids are well-disciplined and will not cause (much/no) spillage in the vehicle, go for a Civic. If your kids love giving you a hard time, go for the Mazda 3 or the Corolla and tell them, “Mum knows best!!!”

(Interior images clicked in L.A. Auto Show)
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Old 22nd September 2008, 12:21   #2
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Default Corolla / Mazda 3

Comparison photos: Corolla / Mazda 3
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Old 22nd September 2008, 13:37   #3
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Nice review.

Is there any difference between Indian and US one's?
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Old 22nd September 2008, 14:18   #4
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Nice review. BTW, whatz the GC of all the 3 cars you have compared ?
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Old 22nd September 2008, 17:18   #5
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Nice & Detailed review. Initially I was thinking you are talking about our Indian Corolla Altis.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 17:51   #6
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very straight forward review.one of the best review.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 18:21   #7
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Very balanced & unbiased review. Thanks.

Indian & the US version of the car seem to be same except for minor cosmetic differences in dashboard, dials, switches, etc.

Considering the average Indian roads and the city traffic, Corolla Altis makes sense but if you are looks for frills & thrills go for Civic. Mazda is not an option here - so less confusion !
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Old 22nd September 2008, 18:28   #8
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Nice, its a very well written and informative review. I have few questions:

How old is this review? As I remember Altis was launched in US in Feb 08.

One important one, Do you know if Toyota has launched new verients other then its original launch. Or has it done any additions or facelift or new colors or any other kind of additions in Altis verients since its launch?

Usually compaines don't do this thing so soon. But for Indian Altis I feel Toyota is keeping a lot in store.

Last edited by Ym-enjn : 22nd September 2008 at 18:38.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 03:16   #9
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@jkdas - Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating. Umm, there is one major liberty of choice difference. There is this other 2.4litre, 158hp variant available.
Models are same worldwide. But, we must reveal, we were told that in a few countries the min. ground clearance is only 108mm=4.2inches. We reckon it is for the XRS model (sporty variant) which has disk brakes all-over.
One more thing, the prices mentioned are in Australian dollars. We apologise for not clearing it out in the review. In the US, the price range between the Standard, LE, XLE, S and XRS is USD15 - 19,000.

@snaronikar/jkdas - The Corolla sold in Australia has the least ground clearance of 102mm.

Toyota Corolla (US-model tested) min. ground clearance = 147mm
Honda Civic (all models) min. ground clearance = 115mm
Mazda 3 (all models) min. ground clearance = 121mm
Thanks for reading and appreciating.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 08:02   #10
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Quote:
@snaronikar/jkdas - The Corolla sold in Australia has the least ground clearance of 102mm.

Toyota Corolla (US-model tested) min. ground clearance = 147mm
Honda Civic (all models) min. ground clearance = 115mm
Mazda 3 (all models) min. ground clearance = 121mm
Thanks for reading and appreciating.
Oh wow. The Civic here has 170mm. And people complaint about it. A 115mm lowered Civic would look awesome
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Old 23rd September 2008, 09:51   #11
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The new corolla looks funny in my opinion. This morning I saw one parked in my gym and the front grill and bumper looked like it belonged to a totally different car. Next to my RS it looked very pedestrian i would say.
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Old 24th September 2008, 02:57   #12
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@mjothi - Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating. We reckon this is the same variant available in your country. Isn't it?
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Old 24th September 2008, 14:17   #13
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@shivaprasad - Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating.

@MonkSansFerrari
- Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating. Yes, models are common. It is just there is another model available in the US which is a 2.4litre engine giving out 158hp. Considering the unlevelled terrain, the Toyota may be a good choice at the expense of driving pleasure. The absence of the Mazda does lessen the option and the confusion of buying the right car.
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Old 25th September 2008, 02:59   #14
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@Ym-enjn - Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating. Sorry for the delayed response. Umm, there are totally four variants available in the U.S. LE, S, XLE and XRS.

Both LE and XLE come only with 4-speed auto shift and have "variable intermittent windshield wipers" as standard in them when compared to the S variant. The XRS is the sporty model with a 2.4litre, 158hp with a 5-speed manual gear box. This one has 17" alloy wheels compared to the 15" alloy in the XLE, the 15" steel in the LE and a 16" steel in the S as standard.

Cruise control is optional in all variants except the XRS.

The 6-cd in-dash changer with bluetooth connectivity and hands-free controls on the steering wheel is an option in all models.

All safety features are standard in all models.

Apologise for the mistake in an earlier reply: Prices from LE(Base model) to XRS range between USD16 - 19,000.
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Old 25th September 2008, 06:52   #15
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Nice review.
BTW,May I know why are we discussing this topic.
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