Comfort – Soft, like most Toyotas, but it’s not a squidgy sandwich. Can be a bit crashy on rougher roads above 70kph, but cruises quietly below 90kph. Cruises happily at 50kph in fifth gear on a flat road. At 100kph or more the engine noise starts to intrude a bit as it goes above 3000rpm. A six-speed gearbox would be nice.
Economy – Excellent. I can get 600km from one 50L tank of 98RON petrol (but when I fill up, it’s always filling to 45L or less, as the fuel gauge drops faster in the last quarter).
Reliability – The best. I’ve had nothing go wrong with this car at all. Just follow the servicing schedule.
Safety – One airbag for the driver, as most of the time it’s just me in the car anyway. Doesn’t have ABS or ESP. This car was built at a time where most safety features were (expensive) optional extras.
Performance – 85kW doesn’t sound like a lot, but this car is light (only 1100kg), so it does get going if you let the engine rev out. Surprises bigger, heavier six-cylinder cars off the line to about 80kph. Being a Toyota ‘FE’ engine, torque is good. Accelerates happily in top gear from any speed above 60kph. Handling isn’t fantastic due to the soft suspension, but again because the car is rather light, you can chuck it around a fair bit. Pushes into gentle understeer when you go too fast. Lift-off oversteer on wider, faster bends makes it fun. Brakes are decent, they help the light car pull up pretty fast.
Also, it’s pretty discreet, and isn’t bad looking either.
As always with Toyotas, it does everything well, but nothing brilliantly. Highly recommended.