the new Corolla is the rear seating area. The rear seat-back can be reclined and that adds to comfort, and there are reading lamps that add to convenience. Because there is no intrusion from a central tunnel on the floor, the car can easily seat three. But the surprising thing is that while Toyota knows a lot of Corolla cars will be owned by chauffeur-driven customers, yet has somehow chosen not to include rear AC vents in the new model!
The new car carries forward the existing engines—the 1.8-litre dual VVT-i petrol (138 bhp) and the 1.4-litre D-4D turbocharged diesel (87 bhp). The petrol comes with the six-speed manual and the seven-speed CVT-i automatic transmission, while the diesel gets only the six-speed manual gearbox.
Brief drive: Petrol
The VVT-i engine is a smooth operator. While the manual gearbox is well engineered and the clutch pedal is relatively light to operate, the CVT-i automatic is engaging to drive. What adds to the fun is steering-mounted pedal-shifts—every tap on the shifters makes the box respond instantly. Toyota claims it has improved the automatic transmission unit and now the car’s fuel-efficiency stands at 15.74 kmpl, while the manual petrol returns 13.96 kmpl.
Brief drive: Diesel
The 1.4-litre D-4D diesel mill is definitely underpowered for a car this size. In fact, at low engine speeds, you have to be really patient with the car. But once the engine touches about 2,000 rpm and the effects of the turbocharger kicking in start to show, it moves ahead smoothly. Still, one has to be attentive especially while overtaking long vehicles on the highway and shift into a lower gear. In fact, while going up Nandi Hills near Bangalore, more often than not we had to keep the car in either the first or the second gear so that it maintains a decent speed. On the positive side, the peak torque is attained at low engine speeds and that results in good fuel-efficiency, which Toyota claims is 21.42 kmpl.
Now, let’s come to the department that is tour de force of this car. Toyota has improved the car massively as far as noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels are concerned. For example, the diesel engine noise or vibrations barely enter the cabin. Similarly, the suspension, which is set on the softer side for comfort, soaks up most bumps and potholes that you encounter on Indian roads. The suspension also ensures there