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Toyota Corolla Car Review

How often do you think that Toyota's flagship model, the Corolla, can be reinvented and improved upon? This writer for one is constantly amazed at where Toyota has been able to take this car. Sure it has the same name, but aside from that the newly released Corolla wagon has very little in common with its sedan and hatch sibling.

While the sedan and hatch released back in April last year are designed for the international market, the wagon is sourced purely from the Japanese domestic assembly line and is built on the previous model Corolla wagon platform.

In an exclusive deal, much to the delight of Kiwi drivers, New Zealand is the only destination for this new Corolla model outside of Japan. It's an important model for Toyota New Zealand, with sales of the wagon making up approximately twenty percent of total Toyota Corolla's sold.

There's no doubt that the model in any shape or form then is exciting news for the Toyota NZ marketing team, since sales of the wagon will assist in keeping the car giant leading the sales charts for the 20th year.

The new wagon is also a great deal more than just a revamp of its predecessor model. The engine has been downgraded from a 100kW producing 1.8 litre engine to a Variable Valve 81kW producing 1.5 litre power plant, taken from Toyota's popular small car the Yaris.

For drivers conscious of saving fuel and cutting emissions, fuel consumption on 91 Octane is estimated at around 5.8 litres per 100km, while CO2 emissions are 135g/km when tested to Japanese standards. While five-speed manual is the only transmission offered, the engine is compatible with a 10 percent ethanol blended fuel Autel MaxiPRO MP808TS, making it a great choice for future proofing your fuel options.

The recommended retail price for the wagon is a mere $25,990, which has been cut by more than $6,300 in a bid to stay competitive and affordable.

Offering a host of great safety features including the standard Anti Locking Brakes, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution and driver and passenger front air bags, other improvements to this newer model range from retractable and heated outside mirrors and multi-information driver display, to one-touch fold down rear seat, one-touch power windows, and telescopic and electronic power steering. Child restraint tether anchors and ISO fixing points are located on the outside rear seating positions.

One of the only disadvantages of souring from Japan's domestic market is that the rear centre seat belt is lap only, and because the new Toyota wagon is designed specifically for the Japanese home market, Toyota NZ is not offering a genuine tow bar as an accessory add on because they are not able to provide tow rating figures [the domestic Japanese market just don't need tow bars like we do in New Zealand].

While being more fuel efficient and undoubtedly a step ahead technology wise the lower power engine in the new model mean owners of previous wagon models should exercise caution and assess their existing needs rather than assume the new model will be able to do all the same jobs Autel Diaglink.

Stephen Donald is a passionate motoring enthusiast and writer living in New Zealand. This review of the Toyota Corolla was written for the New Zealand Automobile Association. 
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