Toyota’s latest Corolla for Japanese market features new technologies

Article by Anita Panait, on May 29, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. is fitting new technologies into its redesigned 11th-generation Corolla as an attempt to give the compact car a more glamorous feel. The Japanese version of the Corolla will sport features like climate-controlled seats, safety belts with pre-tensioners, automatic high-beam headlamp dimmers as well as automatic interior lights.

Toyota has started selling the Japanese version of the Corolla. However, it is still unclear whether the Japanese carmaker will also install those features in the overseas versions of the Corolla. However, Hiroya Fujita, chief engineer of the Japanese Corolla, remarked that the company wants to fit as many common parts as possible in all Corolla versions worldwide.

The Japanese version of the Corolla differs both in size and performance from the United States version of the nameplate. Also the two Corolla’s have separate chief engineers. Toyota is planning to announce the rollout schedule of the overseas versions of the Corolla next spring. According to Fujita, the US version of the Corolla will be powered by a 1.8-liter engine, while the Japanese variant is ran by a 1.5-liter powerplant.

Fujita remarked that the US version of the Corolla will be wider, longer and taller than the Japanese variant. Although both cars will sport similar interiors, they will don different exteriors, most notably the front fascia and grille. According to Fujita, stiffer competition in the global small-car market has prompted Toyota to make the improvements.

There are three levels available with the 2011 Toyota Corolla: the base model, the LE, and the S. All models come with a 1.8-litre DOHC four-cylinder motor that produces 132 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft torque at 4,400 rpm. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) handles valve timings for the intake and exhaust camshafts, helping to maximise fuel efficiency and performance. Friction is reduced through optimal internal components.

The 1.8-litre engine can be combined with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT) in the base model of the Corolla, and the LE model comes standard with a four-speed automatic ECT. The automatic ECT employs a torque converter with flex lockup for better fuel economy, as well as an uphill/downhill shift control.

For a more engaged drive, the driver is able to manually shift the automatic ECT by adjusting the shift lever from the D position to the S position, and then the driver can upshift with a forward push and downshift by pushing back. The combination gauge has an indicator that will show the selected gear. The Corolla S’s 1.8-litre engine is controlled by either the four-speed ECT or five-speed manual.

The 1.8-litre engine earned an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating with the manual transmission of 28 city mpg and 35 highway mpg and with the automatic transmission of 26 city mpg and 34 highway mpg.

Ride and handling

The Toyota Corolla’s smooth ride originates from its sturdily structured body that depends on high tensile steel, cross members, and gussets for its power, solidity, and light build. The front suspension is comprised of a compacted, firm L-arm MacPherson strut with a stabilisation bar. The Corolla's rear suspension’s torsion beam uses a coiled over-shock configuration that permits effective packaging as well as secure handling and an extremely comfortable ride.

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