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Tuesday 25th October 2005


TOYOTA LAUNCHES HOTTER COROLLA

Supercharged VVTL engine boosts torque, driveability

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Toyota has launched a hotter Corolla, one that it describes as "faster, more powerful and has better handling and more street presence than ever before".

We'll take the street presence claim with a pinch of salt (as with all such claims), but the company has beefed up the car by adding a supercharger to its high-revving VVTL-i engine, the same zingy mill that sits in the Lotus Elise.

While in the Lotus, the motor has under 1,000Kg to shove, but the Toyota Corolla 1.8 VVTL-i Sport is a chunkier kettle of fish at 1,255Kg. So keeping the Corolla moving quickly means remaining in the 6,000-8,000rpm powerband. Not always ideal and eventually tiring. It also makes for lethargic performance when the engine's working outside that powerband.

The new Corolla Compressor uses the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine as the Sport but the supercharger boosts output from 189bhp to 215bhp. That helps knock 1.5 seconds off the car’s 0-62mph acceleration time, down to 6.9 seconds, and adds 3mph to the top speed, now 143mph.

With extra torque at lower engine speeds – a maximum 159lb-ft at 4,000rpm – the Compressor is more flexible. Toyota claimed fifth gear acceleration from 50 to 75mph in 8.5 seconds, while 37 to 62mph in fourth took only 6.1 seconds.

To accompany the power hike, the Compressor is fettled with 15mm lowered sports suspension and uprated springs. It also gets 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/45 tyres plus a roof spoiler, rear air dam and sports exhaust with twin tailpipes.

Toyota has also added adjustments to meet Euro IV emissions standards.

Only 250 right-hand drive Corolla Compressor models are being made available in the UK. The model goes on sale on 1 November 2006, priced on-the-road at £19,995.

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