Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport.
The new 2013 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport has certainly got more personality than any Corolla I’ve driven before it. It has an edgier look, an interior reminiscent of the Toyota 86, bank vault build quality and it’s great value to boot.
Powered by a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder developing 103kW, it’s a willing little unit and can punt the Toyota Corolla along with decent pace. It likes to rev and has a reasonable note to it.
We tested the Ascent Sport fitted with the $2000 optional Multi-Drive S-CVT, a type of gearbox I normally loathe. This is by far the best example I’ve come across so far, although left to its own devices, it still feels like a car whose clutch is on the way out when you give it a bit of a hurry up.
Knock it over into manual mode and you can play with the programmed electronic steps through the CVT and extract reasonable performance from it. It wouldn’t be my preference, but for the majority of people buying a Corolla, they probably wouldn’t know that the gearbox was any different to any normal automatic.
The CVT is said to aid fuel consumption. Toyota quote 6.6 litres per 100km, in our test we returned 7.8 litres per 100km with no attempt at an economy run
On the road the Corolla feels planted and is really easy to throw around. The steering is a little sloppy compared to some, but is communicative, well weighted & predictable. Hit the Sport button and the engine feels more eager, the CVT happy to hang on till well above 6000rpm; the Corolla can actually be quite good fun.
The driving position is good, visibility a little restricted at the back but with a reversing camera as standard it’s never really an issue
Five Star ANCAP safety is a given with seven airbags and all the latest electronic trickery including traction & stability control
As the Ascent Sport is only one model above the base, I was surprised to see the amount of standard kit included for $20,990 before on roads: Cruise control, climate control, Bluetooth phone & audio streaming, even a function that will read your text messages to you – Brilliant stuff!
Stack it up against the latest Volkswagen Golf though and it feels noisy & cheap. That is more a reflection however of how accomplished the Golf is, not a slight on the Corolla, which is good bit cheaper.
The world’s most popular car also offers $130 capped price servicing for the first 60,000kms, great resale and that Toyota quality. I’d be tipping it’ll be this model that pushes sales of the Corolla to over 40 million cars.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 1.8 litre petrol delivering 103kW and 173Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or CVT auto
Safety rating: Five stars
Price: From $20,990