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Toyota Corolla manual 2014 review

Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Toyota Corolla Ascent sedan, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

It’s all about the space in new Corolla sedan – especially in the rear seat area and the boot. It’s 100mm longer in the wheelbase and that’s mostly gone into rear seat legroom which moves Corolla sedan to the front of the small car pack in this area. The same applies to styling which is sporty and quite glamorous when viewed from a number of angles.

Certainly, Corolla sedan, is arguably one of the better looking, if not the best looking mainstream Toyota in the range. 


It comes quite a while after the five door hatch with which the sedan shares underpinnings, including the 1.8-litre petrol four cylinder that’s good for 103kW/173Nm. It’s an old tech engine with multi-point instead of the newer direct fuel injection system but does a reasonable job of propelling the 1250kg Corolla Ascent sedan efficiently.

The six speed manual Ascent test car ($20,740) was getting about 7.5-litres/100km – not brilliant but acceptable – and it was on regular 91 octane fuel. If you spend an extra $2250 for the seven-speed `auto’ CVT version, fuel economy is better, so is the drive feel because it gets rid of the manual’s super annoying throttle flare that doesn’t drop engine revs immediately on gear changes. It means adopting a different driving technique to get around the high revs.


The Ascent model has more kit this time around including cruise control, reverse camera, rear parking sonar, multi-function display in the speedo, Bluetooth phone and audio and LCD touch screen controller.  Inside has a quality look and feel with soft touch surfaces predominating. But the LCD screen is difficult to see due to the light grey background and black digits. And there’s a smell in the car similar to coconut husk – like your door mat. 

Corolla sedan gets a five star crash rating with all that brings, but the Ascent has precious little in the way of new tech driver-assist functions apart from the reverse camera and parking sonar.


In the car’s favour is locally fettled dynamics and that’s immediately obvious when you get on a rough road or start pushing it a bit through a set of corners. Though it’s not a sporty car, the Corolla sedan makes a good fist of it and gives a comfy ride into the bargain – aided somewhat by the well calibrated electric power steering and strong chassis.

Riding on 15-inch wheels is old school but replacement tyres should be cheap as chips.

The 1.8-litre engine goes OK spoiled by the aforementioned throttle flare. It has adequate acceleration off the mark and roll-on and runs relatively smoothly and quietly though that can change if you exercise the right foot.

Handling is ultimately constrained by push understeer from the front wheels but Corolla sedan is quite tidy up until that point - not flat through corners like some of the Euros but acceptable.

The gear change is OK, gaps between gears biggish which helps fuel economy. We like the Corolla sedan but would go for the CVT model every time. Better fuel economy and better drive feel.


It’s roomy, good looking and affordable at a smidge over 20 grand. Some serious competition though.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Ascent 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $8,100 – 12,540 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Ascent Pricing and Specs
Ascent Sport 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $8,800 – 13,200 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Ascent Sport Pricing and Specs
Levin SX 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $10,700 – 15,730 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Levin SX Pricing and Specs
Levin ZR 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $12,800 – 18,480 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Levin ZR Pricing and Specs
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