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2014 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sedan Speed Date
James Ward
Quick Specs
$22,990 (plus on roads)
3-year / 100,000km
Read the full review

So, where did you go on your date?

It is often joked that the Toyota Corolla is the ubiquitous 'grandma' car - so, like Red Riding Hood, I found myself heading to grandma's house in the little silver Toyota.

And when I say grandma - I mean my mum... but she's grandma to a number of little people so the story works :)

Ideal first date?

Despite the bowls-club and RSL moniker, the Corolla is a competent urban machine - so short trips and traffic are where it is most at home.

Hot or not?

The Dame Edna glasses look of the 11th generation Corolla's nose aren't to all tastes, but as a 'blend in everywhere' package, the Corolla isn't risky or argument inducing. It's smart and clean - just not exciting.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

Like the rest of the car, inside the Corolla is smart and functional. Sure there are generic plastics and chrome trim pieces, but everything you need is here - and it all just works. The entry-spec Ascent even gets reverse sensors and camera.

It's comfortable in the front, the seats giving good support around the side bolsters, and the ergonomics make driving very easy indeed.

Rear seat passengers are treated to fantastic legroom and a flat floor for extra comfort.

Standout features?

That back seat room is pretty impressive.

There's a centre armrest and ISOFIX points to make it practical, plus the seats fold 60/40 to give even more room to the already big 470-litre boot.

Annoying habits?

It's a Corolla - it does nothing wrong. It just doesn't excite.

The Corolla's key competitor, the Mazda 3, is a much more entertaining drive.

Ready for a family?

Strangely for a compact sedan, yes.

There's a great amount of room in the back and children, up to teenagers, can fit easily and comfortably. It might not have the day-to-day practicality of a wagon, but the Corolla sedan could quite easily fit the bill of a family car.

High maintenance?

Not at all.

There is a three-year, 100,000km warranty and capped services of $140 for each 10,000km up to 60,000km. Plus on our test loop we saw economy of just 8.3L/100km (Toyota claim a combined figure of 7L/100km).

Any deal-breakers?

In all honesty, the Corolla does a great job of being a reliable runabout so it's hard to not like it.

I've said a number of times it's not exciting, but it's not just that - it's not special. The Corolla has moved from being a statement to an appliance - and that just doesn't work for me.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

It's been fun, but the rock-n-rolla isn't for me.

Keeping your options open?

The Corolla has been battling it out in the sales race with fellow Japanese small car, the Mazda 3 - but there's also the locally made (for now) Holden Cruze, Korean Kia Cerato Kia Cerato and even the German Volkswagen Jetta getting in on the action.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

As I've said before, I like character in my cars - so the Toyota Corolla is not for me...

But 40-million other people can't be wrong, so if a small 'everycar' is your cup of tea, then there's a reason the Corolla continues to be one of the world's best selling nameplates.