By Sala Masindane
We are beginning to sound like a broken record, but SUVs are taking over if they have not taken over already. This piece is not about that song, it is about the one car that seems to be still taking the fight to the SUVs after so many years and seemingly, still winning! Recently we spent time with 12th generation Toyota Corolla XR 2.0 managed to cover and 2,000 kilometres. We could do it again with the comfort, technology and safety features that make piloting this car a dream.
The recent trend of releases sees Toyota going for more daring designs, this can be seen on models such as the CH-R, RAV4 and now the Corolla range. The prominent lower apron, large trapezoidal lower grille and arrow-shaped headlights speaks to the expressiveness of the new Corolla XR. Adding to this are the integrated day time running light elements with a design that sees them flow towards the central-mounted Toyota emblem that is in turn surrounded by a slim-line upper grill. The rear lets team Toyota Corolla down somewhat, but it is not a deal breaker does however, feature have LED taillights with a bi-colour design.
Inside, range-topping Corolla XR may not be as expressive as the outside, but it feels premium with soft-touch materials employed all round in the cabin. The leather multifunctional steering wheel felt good to touch and cloth/leather seats that can be electrically adjusted were comfortable. To be honest, the Corolla Sedan adopts the interior of the Corolla hatch. The dash is dominated by a large 7-inch multifunctional touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as rear-view camera link. Keeping the target audience in mind, this set-up is relatively easy to use and doesn’t require a PHD to navigate it. We are not a fan of the 6-speaker sound system, but it does well for a standard audio system and will please a family that would invest in the Corolla.
The Corolla XR is spacious at the front and rear with sufficient leg and headroom for all passengers. The 470-litres of boot space (that is class-leading) will not struggle to gobble-up luggage for a family vacation. Its closest competitor is the Corolla Quest that has 452-litres and Mazda 3 sedan with 444-litres.
Active safety features
The key safety features include a pre-collision system, all speed cruise control and lane trace assist with blind spot monitor, all of which add to enjoyment of the drive of the Corolla XR.
Drive and Performance
Our experience with the Toyota Corolla was nothing but short of a great surprise. The new 2.0-litre ‘Dynamic Force’ TNGA engine is relaxed and easy going. Pushing power outputs of 125kW and 200Nm of torque, what the Corolla XR lacks in eagerness makes-up in efficiency, especially during long distance driving. The six-speed manual transmission was a pleasure to use with its slick changes and compliment the engine. Traveling over 2,000 kilometres, we thought the CVT transmission would be preferred, but the manual transmission was just smooth, fuss-free, and precise. Throughout our time with the Corolla XR, we managed to get an overall fuel consumption of 5.7 l/100 km with relative ease. This is much lower than the claimed 6.5 l/100km consumption. The Corolla XR is not only great to drive but a beautiful space to be in. Although it may not have the ground clearance or ride height of SUVs it can still ferry your family of five effortlessly.
The R420,500 price tag makes the Corolla XR manual a worthy consideration. All Corolla models are sold with a standard 6-services/90,000 km service plan and a 3 year/100,000 km warranty.
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