Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Toyota Corolla Ascent, Conquest, Levin X, Levin ZR, Ultima
Toyota’s giant killer
July 2007

THE Toyota Corolla has turned 40 in fine style, upsetting Holden Commodore for the title of Australia’s best-selling car.

The tenth generation of the small wonder was launched in May and has produced immediate results.

Toyota sold a massive 5890 units in June, compared to 5588 sales for Holden’s family favourite.

Corolla’s success helped Toyota extend its lead as the top-selling company for the month with 24,539 vehicles, compared to 14,256 for Holden and 10,304 for Ford.

But enough about facts and figures _ what’s the big attraction to the latest release?

Corolla has always been a tidy, reliable unit with low running costs and strong resale.

Toyota has made more than 32 million of them world wide _ and judging by the quality of this model, the trend is going to continue.

What we have now is funkier sedan and hatch body styles and a total of 13 elegant Corollas to choose from.

There’s a new engine, bigger brakes, better suspension and steering and more equipment.

The range starts with the Ascent hatch/sedan from $20,990 and also includes the Conquest hatch/sedan for $25,500, Levin X hatch ($25,500), Levin ZR hatch $29,500 and range topping Ultima sedan for $31,990. Auto is standard with Ultima and a $2000 option on other versions.

They are quieter, stylish and more refined than their predecessors.

The most stunning change is in the driving experience, with the new Corollas offering an excellent ride, crisp steering and an overall solid feel on the road.

There is no Vehicle Stability Control available in the range, but Toyota achieved a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash rating performed with a Corolla with seven airbags, available in the mid-to-high specification versions.

Performance has been improved too, but the 1.8-litre 4-cylinder, which produces 100kW of power at 6000rpm and 175Nm of torque at 4400rpm, is still not as sharp as some of its rivals.

The six-speed manual transmission is easy to live with, as is the smooth four-speed automatic.

Fuel economy, one of the strengths of the previous models, is again a plus with our test versions averaging 7.6 litres of unleaded for every 100km travelled.

Comfort levels have been boosted and there’s a feeling of spaciousness due to the taller cabin.

More than 25 storage bins and holders around the cabin provide plenty of hidey holes for all your bits and pieces.

There’s sufficient room for five people, and with fuel costs set to rise even further, the Toyota is definitely a contender for families with two small children.

Standard features, even in the base model, include dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, power front windows, air conditioning, adjustable steering column and remote locking.

The Corolla is already king of the small car segment and this dazzling new model has raised the bar even higher.


1967: Launched in Japan. Name means '”crown of flowers’’. Australia was first export market, with initial delivery in May.

1986: Local assembly commences at Port Melbourne, Victoria.

1970: Second generation Corolla becomes the second biggest selling car in the world.

1975: Third generation. Australian sales top 20,000.

1981: Fourth generation. Last rear drive model. World sales hit 10 million in 1983.

1985: Fifth generation introduces front drive and twin cam engine.

1989: Sixth generation launches Toyota to Australian market leadership in 1991.

1994: Seventh generation is last locally-manufactured Corolla.

1998: Eighth generation Liftback arrives

1999: Local Corolla production ceases.

2001: Ninth generation arrives

2007: Tenth generation’s here. Australian Corolla sales will pass one million later in the year.


BODY STYLE: Hatch and Sedan


ENGINE: 1.8-litre DOHC VVT-I 4-cylinder

POWER: 100kW at 6000rpm

TORQUE: 175Nm at 4400rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, 4-speed automatic

FUEL ECONOMY: 7.6 litres/100km as tested

PROS: Refined, stylish, economical

CONS: No Vehicle Stability Control, performance less than exhilarating

BOTTOM LINE: 13 variants from $20,990-$31,990