Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 Toyota Corolla

So is the six-speed manual Corolla S fun to drive? Well it is more fun than the automatic or CVT version but it’s still not super exciting. The clutch is easy to operate and light and the shifter itself works smoothly and is very positive and has a good feel to it. The clutch uptake is a little high, so I often find myself revving the engine a little too much before moving away.

What about the rest of the Corolla traits? Well, the 1.8L engine gets the car moving but not very quickly and the engine is noisy when revved. When cruising in sixth gear, the Corolla hums along between 1,500 and 2,000 rpm on the highway and is surprisingly quiet.

The steering and suspension are both soft, so you won’t get your thrills carving corners, but the lightness of the car does make it somewhat fun to toss around. But hey, most people aren’t buying a Corolla to carve corners. It excels in parking lots and is nimble and easy to park. Visibility is also great all around in the Corolla with large windows and well-placed mirrors.

The only downside is the high rear deck which makes it difficult to see backwards, but the back-up camera certainly eliminates most of that problem.

Sometimes it is a bummer to “have” to drive a compact-class vehicle when a lot of your time is spent driving fully loaded vehicles in the $40-$50,000 range and beyond. But I honestly got into this tester and thought it was pretty darn nice at pretty much any price, especially at just over $23,000 including delivery.

The red trim pieces along the dash add an extra flare and the red stitching on the leather edged seats looks great. The black painted wheels are not my style but they look okay on the bright red car, which by the way kind of looks like a Kia Forte now. For the class of vehicle there is nothing out of place or “cheap” feeling, except for perhaps the armrest that wiggles loosely when you open it, causing concern of breaking the hinge if one is not careful.

In terms of adjustability and comfort, the Corolla offers a height adjustable bucket seat with tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The clutch pedal is a little far to reach, causing me to sit perhaps a little more forward than I normally would. Rear legroom and headroom are on par for the class, because of the more forward driving position due to the clutch I actually found the rear legroom to be plentiful — but I’m short.

Trunk space is okay but the hinge arms do interfere considerably when closing the trunk. I picked up a 20L tub of oil and dropped it into the trunk and was confused at first why the trunk wouldn’t close — it seems most manufacturers have moved away from these interference hinges, so I forgot they existed and how annoying they are.