Bigger and Better

I’m talking about my new car. I got a tenth-generation Toyota Corolla Conquest hatch in Aztec Blue (this is called an Auris in Europe and Asia – I’m not sure what it’s called in the Americas). It’s almost funny. Ford and Holden are placing more emphasis on their smaller cars (Focus, Epica, Astra, etc.) but Toyota are making bigger, heavier cars. The Corolla is just one example – it’s 1.3 tonnes of car, which is more than a Tarago was in the ’80s. And speaking of the Tarago, you can get a thirsty V6 Tarago now alongside the straight four. But it seems to be working. In terms of sales, the Corolla is topping the charts, and the Hilux has pushed the Falcon out of the trifecta (the VE Commodore is there in between, of course).

So what’s it like? It’s a comfortable car. You couldn’t describe it as exciting. My previous car was an Echo hatch. It was 400 kg lighter, and 30% less powerful, but you felt the road, and when you were doing 150 km/h, you really felt like it. In the Corolla, you can speed without noticing. You need to use the cruise control, or your speed just creeps up. The seats are comfortable, too. You have plenty of space in the front, and enough in the back. It’s a bigger, more serious car.

It’s all round better than the Echo – more power, more grip, more space, more features. I went for the Conquest, so it has a few nice bits. I like the fog lamps and the leather steering wheel. It’s nice being able to play MP3 CDs. The audio controls on the wheel aren’t that useful, or maybe I’m just not used to them yet. Being able to talk on the phone through the stereo is great. I don’t know how I got by without it.

I have mixed feelings about the instruments. It has classic dials in the traditional position. The Echo had a big, bright vacuum fluorescent display positioned higher and closer to the centre. I actually have to look down to see my speed in the Corolla, while in the Echo, it was easily visible. This makes it easier to speed without noticing. The fuel consumption meter is irritating, as it lets me know just how inefficient my driving is, but it’s nice to know. I like the outside thermometer – it’s another one of those nice things that isn’t particularly useful.

What annoys me? Most of all, the convex driver’s side mirror. You just can’t judge distances. Since they’ve removed the ashtray, there’s nowhere for me to put change for parking meters (I’m being silly, I know). The reversing sensors annoyed me, too, until I found out how to mute the beeper. Now I quite like them. I’m still getting used to the six speed transmission (I keep putting it into sixth when I want reverse), but that’s a problem on my part.

So, I’m loving my new car. I’ll probably get over it soon – maybe when they release the V6 all wheel drive model from Japan here…

This entry was posted on Saturday, 4 August, 2007 at 8:19 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 responses to “Bigger and Better”

Brooks Hochstein says:

Major thankies for the blog article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

Francesca Webb says:

what i do like about the toyota corolla is its standard safety features~;”

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