I chose a Corolla Ascent as a hire car for a week whilst in Perth recently.
It was a transmission curiosity more than anything. I’m familiar with slick manuals, clunky manuals, calm DSGs, frantic DSGs, good autos and screaming ones, but had never tried CVT.
How much is mind over matter? In an operational sense, it can’t be faulted. It’s economical (I finished the week with 7.1l/100 showing on the trip display), responds decently and quickly to a call for welly and can’t be wrong-footed. In an emotional sense, it’s a bit meh. The screaming detachedness when revs are dialled up is novel at first, but becomes odd and trying over time. That’s the mind over matter bit. Pootling is best.
Being a hire car, my comments are made solely on the basis of what the car is like to live with. Rowdy engine and tranny dealt with, it would appear to point and handle with reasonable assuredness, there being no point I actually thought it hopeless. The same applies to ride quality, noise levels and brakes. They exist and no more.
Inside, there’s sufficient room and comfort all round for tall drivers and passengers, with those in the rear installed on curiously tall and bouncy pews. HVAC controls are stiff and ratchetty, the dash and door furnishings are shockingly grim. As in other cars, Bluetooth is an inexact science and only the driver’s window is auto up/down.
Happily for Toyota’s sake, it’s better than the last one, apparently. But I’d be easily guided to other choices in this class.