The Toyota Corolla leads sales in the passenger car market yet again this year (no surprise there).
The reason being its ordinary, no-fuss, uncomplicated approach, not because there is any feature that is particularly outstanding.
It’s this averageness that brings buyers back time and time again to something that is consistent, predictable, trusted, straightforward and value for money.
Under the spotlight this week was the top of the range Corolla ZR auto hatchback priced from $30,020.
The Corolla looks like, well…..a Corolla.
With its pointy, sloping nose the Toyota Corolla shape hasn’t changed all that much and is unmistakable and inoffensive.
Take a walk around and you’ll see a body kit with side skirts, a front spoiler, 17” alloy wheels and headlamp washers.
The interior of the Toyota Corolla is bland (or you could say safe) even in the highest model grade.
Black plastic is the flavour of the day and it looks like the updated, modern touchscreen and A/C controls have been thrown onto the existing dashboard creating some disharmony.
Below this is the usual centre console storage area which in this case is really, really small. The cavity is already tiny and Toyota still manage to fit in the switches for the heated front seats.
Other storage areas are limited as is the compact middle armrest. Although the door armrests could do with a little more padding.
The firm seats are wrapped in a tight leather and the rear seating area is spacious and relatively flat across the bench.
There are some glossy bits on the shifter, the doors and the centre console just to break up the monotony.
The biggest surprise was the massive panoramic sunroof which was admittedly strange to see in hatchback, usually reserved for a larger SUV.
The above mentioned panoramic sunroof is an optional extra and you can gaze at the stars of the cityscape for $1530.
Other inclusion are an auto dimming mirror, a small colour driver info display, touch sensitive buttons surrounding the touchscreen dual climate control, nice rocker switches, with,
Performance on the road is average for this segment. It’s enough for the casual driver who doesn’t need high power or torque and just needs to get around town.
The Toyota Corolla ZR has a sport mode that, to me, didn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference. The engine tended to strain, forced to work hard for just that little bit extra output.
Fuel economy was 7.6L/100km which is satisfactory, though it isn’t the quietest ride with pretty standard suspension.
The steering did need some supervision and wasn’t the best at tracking especially at higher speeds, needing to be pulled back into line.
While the gear shifter surprisingly loose – usually gates are quite definite – but this one slips down to ‘D’ very easily.
Lane departure, blind spot warning, and the all-important autonomous emergency braking.
The whole gamut of airbags are installed along with reversing camera and hill start assist.
In the back I found three tether points for child seats (great in a small car) and ISOFIX anchors.
- Big panoramic roof option
- Safety features
Not So Good Bits
- Uninspired cabin
- Small storage areas
- Power and transmission
The Toyota Corolla ZR is a safe bet and will provide owners with the minimum requirements of a hatch with important safety features, heated seats and touchscreen tech.
It misses out on some refinement and style as well as more vigour.
- Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder petrol 103kW/173Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Safety: Five Stars
- Warranty: 3 Yrs/100,000km
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $30,020