Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport 2013: Road Test —

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Toyota Ascent hatchback

Toyota Corolla Ascent 2013: Road Test

shrugs off the ‘white goods’ and delivers an attractive, fun-to-drive car

Toyota Corolla Ascent

Road Test

Price (recommended price before delivery charges): $22,990

fitted to test car (not in above price): Nil

Crash Five-star

Fuel: 91 RON ULP

Claimed economy (L/100km): 6.6

CO2 emissions 152

Also consider: Mazda3 $20,330), Ford Focus $20,290), Hyundai i30 (from Holden Cruze (from Kia Cerato (from $19,640)

is on a roll. Since the launch of its 86 car in 2012, there seems to be a new of originality and optimism within the a subtle shift in attitude. And shift manifests itself in the latest Corolla.

Almost 40 million Corollas found owners in the model’s history. But middle age doesn’t to be slowing the car down — in it now seems to have a new lease on

With a sporty new design incorporates sleek headlights, an and assertive front end, flanks and a sharply style end, Toyota has created the daring Corolla yet.

It good; it sits confidently on the and fortunately the changes to the new Toyota are more than skin With a lower roofline and a few tweaks to the new design, the fresh-faced has a slightly lower centre of which improves the car’s and helps make the car more to drive.

The latest Corolla is a lively vehicle to drive its predecessor and though it’s not as as class leaders like the Focus or Golf, the improvements are welcome.

Handling has been sharpened but there’s generally more this time around too – for the steering is better weighted. doesn’t mean Toyota has Corlla into a boyracer the Corolla maintains good quality and keep occupants from all but the nastiest of pot holes and in the road.

It’s great to see Toyota has paid attention to the and design of its best-selling car, the same can’t be said of its systems. Motive force for the comes from a 1.8-litre twin-camshaft unit that on the previous car’s 2ZR-FE with a few tweaks to make it run a efficiently and smoothly.

Power and output is 103kW/173Nm. This is par for the in this genre but generally Paired with the automatic variable transmission (CVT), the DOHC four-cylinder petrol accelerates the car from from in 10 seconds flat — not zippy. That said, the acceleration to 60km/h felt and was more than fast to keep ahead of most

The best thing about the new is the gearbox however, which a turning point for the oft-maligned

CVTs traditionally cause a monotonous engine noise, but new gearbox is one of the best CVTs In many regards it presents like a conventional automatic. And and gearbox noise suppression is than usual in this class of car, which the whining/droning. It has to be said that Corolla and the new Nissan Pulsar are the way for CVT refinement, and it bodes well for the of the technology.

Toyota Ascent hatchback

The CVT auto gearbox contributes to the cars ‘low-ish’ economy rating of 6.6L/100km especially compared to the six-speed 7.1L/100km. The whole plot surprisingly well in stop-start traffic thanks to its progressive delivery.

While the claimed figure was not by yours truly, I did managed a 8.1L/100km over a week — mainly urban and city CBD driving.

The small of freeway cruising I undertook a planted, predictable cruiser, all the more amenable thanks to the control.

Spending a week the wheel of the new Corolla also a larger, more commodious While the 55mm lower meant occupants have to bob heads to get into the car, still plenty of room — thanks to much seats.

Rear seat leg and overall interior width also been improved and the for the driver’s seat is good, with a tilt/reach adjustable

Boot space is not great at 280 but the hatchback tailgate is slightly now so it’s easy to rapidly things in. The split-folding rear liberate an extra 840 litres of space (1120 litres in which is helpful. Incidental is slightly below par, not many places to store or phones beyond the de rigueur holders, centre armrest bin and

The view from the driver’s is pleasant one, with a of sportiness thanks to red pin stripes the three instrument dials. The is presentable but doesn’t have the design flourishes or progressive seen in cars like the i30.

Comfort levels on par with the outgoing Corolla. The seats in this Ascent model looked and felt with contrasting stitching and fitting cushions. Safety are also very good seven airbags and stability as standard, resulting in a five-star rating.

Toyota’s reputation for and safety has attracted many to the brand in the past but the flashy new has potential to broaden its appeal. The car is an on its predecessor in many ways and is targeting some of its European

Can it match them? Not quite. But at it is attempting to shift away the ‘white goods’ image and something that’s fun to drive.

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Published. Friday, 8 2013

Toyota Ascent hatchback
Toyota Ascent hatchback
Toyota Ascent hatchback

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