Saturday, May 03, 2008

Toyota Axio Test Drive Report

Being a journalist in the automotive industry business is not always the most "thrilling" job out there, for example when you "have" to test drive a Trabant, your day feels longer than ever... If the name Ferrari, Porsche or the letters "GT" are part of the game you'll have to fight your way to the keys but when Lada Samara is mentionned, everybody suddenly is sick, ill, "not so well" or gone hiding somewhere...But this is Nihoncar ! (all respect due to our Russian readers) and fortunately we get to test some fairly decent cars, today we welcome one of the greatest japanese name of the car market; the Toyota Corolla!

One of the greatest name because the car has been sold at over 30 million units throughout the world !! The 10th generation is now here and we get our hands behind the wheel of this "Axio", the 4 doors family sedan version.

As I mentionned before I get to test different types of cars and last week I had the ultimate version of the Subaru WRX STI A-Line, stepping in the Toyota Corolla Axio, I didn't expect to be that pleasantly surprised.When you first look at the 2 versions of the Corolla available; the Axio (sedan) and the Fielder, there clearly is nothing breathtaking about the style, I, honestly speaking, think that the Axio looks very basic and I do prefer the Fielder version which, with its longer rear end, appears more elegant to me. But the potential buyers of this category of cars are not so picky about aerodynamics designed for the competition and such so... all in all, Toyota did a pretty good job with the aesthetics and overall look of its new Corollas. By keeping a simple design, they made sure the car would please as many clients as possible.

Engine wise it's pretty much the same, the Corolla was not prepared to beat speed records, the offer is made of : the in-line 4 cylinders of 1.8 litre and 136HP (175Nm of torque)with VVT-i technology and a "lighter" version producing 110HP (140Nm)... with these you can drive close to 20 kilometres per litre of fuel (18.2). The drivability of these engines is simply excellent, comfort, reliability and low fuel consumption are all part of the mix.

Equipped with the latest CVT gearbox the Axio is a pleasure on the road, the driving experience is smooth and relaxing, the seats offer a comfortable position and therefore, you can just stop counting the miles and cruise your way to your destination!

If the ride comfort was, I must admit, a real surprise for me, (great level again) 2 other elements confirmed the excellent dispositions of the Corolla Axio as a family car:-Wether you choose the Axio or the Fielder, the interior has got a "neutral" feel that matches the rest of the car and is granted with good quality materials that are nice to touch, thus making like for the passengers as nice as yours behind the wheel.Still about the interior, the Corollas are using a unique back seats arranging system by simply pressing a button.

-Over the last years Toyota has been working hard on increasing the level of passive and active safety in its vehicles. The equipments on these models are simply amazing.For example; the Millimeter-Wave-Radar works as a sonar and warns you in case you don't notice an obstacle on the road. Another one is the Radar-Cruise-Control allowing you to adapt your speed depending on the situation, I can also mention the Intelligent-Parking-Assist which makes any tricky parking lot look like a straight line.Actually if you are familiar to of automotive news as a whole you might have heard of these features before...well the answer lies in the fact that all these equipments can be found on the top class vehicle of Toyota's sister brand : Lexus, on the Lexus LS460!!

By the way you can learn more about it following this link. Toyota Safety Day, as in a previous article we had the chance to test this car and its revolutionnary safety systems.I believe you do now get the picture, the Corolla Axio/Fielder isn't a car with a fancy look or outstanding performances and it's exactly what we wouldn't want it to be !

Driving a new Corolla reminds you of what sheer driving pleasure is, with comfort and safety!

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