2016 Toyota Corolla ZR review filed by Joel Helmes.
Whenever I pick up a Toyota Corolla to review I’m prepared for a good little all-rounder that I know is not really going to either excite or disappoint me.
Though I must say this new 2016 Toyota Corolla ZR was one of the most enjoyable Corolla’s I have driven.
The flagship model in the 2016 Corolla range, the ZR comes only as a five-door hatch and with only one engine/transmission combo available – a 1.8 litre petrol and seven-speed CVT automatic.
Featuring a sporty look, I’m pleased to say that the 103kW/173Nm engine moves the ZR along quite nicely.
There’s a sports mode button on the console and this really helps the Corolla live up to its sporty looks.
No, it’s not a racing car, but it has respectable performance and enough pep to get you happily around in the city without feeling like you are holding anyone up. It’s also a reasonably good tourer with the CVT proving a responsive unit when overtaking is needed or a hill is to be climbed.
Better than average ride, sharp steering and more than acceptable handling characteristics round out what is both an easy and not unenjoyable driving experience.
I think I might have found one of the main reasons why the Toyota Corolla continues to be a global sales star – interior space.
I was really pleased by the amount of legroom front and back, though you would probably say that the sweeping design of the current Corolla roof doesn’t allow for an enormous amount of headroom, though this is only an issue if you are particularly tall.
Clear gauges, typically Corolla-simple controls, a quality feel throughout and very good sound insulation are some of the other cabin highlights in the new Corolla.
Boot space was also surprising large and Toyota designers have managed to provide quite a large centre storage bin and respectably-sized glove box.
The software in the new Toyota infotainment system is very impressive. Attractive to look at and easy to use, the only issue (as I also found with the Prado) is that the buttons surrounding the system are entirely smooth and have no tactile feel and I don’t particularly like that.
Standard features in the Toyota Corolla ZR include sat-nav, heated front seats, tilt and reach steering adjustment, electric lumbar support control on driver’s seat, six-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control and a reverse camera.
My test car was fitted with the optional $1,500 panoramic glass roof (it doesn’t open) and metallic paint, basically anything other than white, will cost you an additional $450.
What else can I tell you about the new Corolla ZR? This is a great little all-rounder.
Good performance, easy to drive, surprisingly roomy cabin and a good list of standard features.
Sure, prices start at $28,990 for the ZR so that’s a fair bit of money for a Corolla. Still, I reckon it provides enough adaptability and enjoyment to justify that price tag, especially if you are looking at your next Corolla as a long term proposition.
Overall though, it’s no wonder the Toyota Corolla continues to be Australia’s favourite car – Toyota has got the recipe as close to spot-on as you can get.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Toyota Corolla ZR
Engine: 1.8 litre petrol producing 103kW and 173Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed CVT automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Price: from $28,990