Sat | Jan 19, 2019

2018 Corolla sticking to a successful formula

Published:Sunday | December 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Those seeking a reliable, safe, and affordable car need go no further than the 2018 Toyota Corolla. This model is a carryover from the face-lifted 2017 version.

Toyota is known to upgrade their models every three years, so the 2018 falls smack dab in the middle of the upgrade cycle. We took the base model GLI out for a drive and found the small car front spaciousness and class-leading rear-seat legroom to be among the pluses. There are acres of room between the driver and the bottom of the front windshield, thanks to a generous rake. This translates to a wide-open, flat dashboard that should offer more safety when it matters.

The cockpit is nicely laid out, and the now-standard steering with audio and middle gauge cluster controls help with driver experience. You will have to do without the fancy gizmos like touch-screen infotainment and be content with a radio that just does its job. No push-button start that is standard fare nowadays, so a turn of the key will have to do to bring the engine to life. One couldn't help thinking that the designers could have gone for a wrap-around feel in the cockpit that you get, in say, a Camry or the like. There are plenty of advanced safety features and comfortable, supportive seats.

The 2018 Corolla is not sporty by any means, so don't go expecting performance that will put you in gods-of-driving territory. The wheezy 1.6 litre 1ZR-FE coughs up 90kw (about 120HP). But rest assured that the 1Z engine series remain tried, tested, and proven since their introduction back in 2000. Power goes to the wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission that is smooth and unbothered.

The car sits on 195/65R15 tyres with steel rims and nice-looking covers. Up front, there are two MacPherson struts to soak up Jamaican potholes, delivering some comfort. The two rear wheels sit at either end of a torsion beam and deliver a firm ride.

You will have to get used to the vehicle stability control since it takes away some of the driver inputs at the steering in emergency situations. At that time, you will have to trust the computer and not feel that the car is unsure of itself. Disc brakes all around deliver the sure stopping you have come to expect from Toyota.

Road noise is little to non-existent, and the cabin insulates you from the madness of city driving.

The 2018 Corolla is aimed at the value-conscious new-car buyer. In giving a nod to buyers, Toyota is bringing in the car at just under $4.1 million. With that Toyota is asking you to continue to bet on their reliability and tested and proven technology. For those who want to consider resale value, then there is no question of where to look. In Jamaica, Toyota wins hands down in that department every time. For no-frills dependability and value-for-money quality, you can go with the 2018 Toyota Corolla.