Toyota: 2015 Corolla GX station wagon

Toyota: 2015 Corolla GX station wagon

A hippie chick once told me she lived her life without expectations and I told her that was rubbish because everyone has expectations – you expect you can walk over your lawn without falling into a pit of sharpened bamboo spears, for example. Having expectations frees us from uncertainty and constant worry.

Toyota Corolla GX wagon 2015 frontBut it raises an interesting point as to whether we should have as many expectations as we do, so that we don’t get disappointed.

We journalists get to drive a lot of vehicles, so we see what the trends are and we build a set of mental specifications that we expect to see on every car.

Toyota Corolla GX wagon 2015 rear quarterTen years ago Bluetooth connectivity was scarce; now almost every car comes with it.

And so driving the base model of the Corolla is a challenge to my expectations. It does have Bluetooth phone connectivity and streams audio, too (something not absolutely every new car with Bluetooth does), but the stereo itself has an LCD straight outta Toyota Corolla GX wagon 2015 front interiorthe 1990s, and there are no controls on the steering wheel. For anything!

There’s push button start (only on the CVT model we tested, and not on the cheaper manual version) but there are 15-inch steel wheels behind plastic hubcaps and they sport tyres only 175mm wide – narrower than quite a few new motorbikes!

Toyota Corolla GX wagon 2015 dashboardConsequently, the ride is compliant and pleasant.

So we’ve established that Toyota has scrimped on modernising and flashing up some areas. Why would you buy it?

At the basic level, it’s a solid car with an 80kW 138Nm 1.5-litre petrol motor that’s not going to bankrupt you and doesn’t release too many grams of CO2 per kilometre (only 118), a 5-star crash test rating and a sizeable boot that means you can take lots of luggage, business equipment or (most commonly among people with station wagons) air.

Fuel economy is quoted at 4.34l/100km combined cycle. I didn’t get anywhere near this because the Corolla is a stroller off the line. Once it’s moving the gear ratios are set so that you have a bit of overtaking urge, but to get it up to speed requires a lot of throttle.

There are a few things it does well. The turning circle is almost as excellent as a London cab, the brakes are keen and (with the exception of the steel wheels) it looks more expensive than it is with its colour coded bumpers and wing mirrors.

Safety technology is included such as six air bags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake override system (it ensures brakes take priority over the accelerator), brake assist, vehicle stability control, and traction control.

There’s no reversing sensor which I think is a critical omission as sensors help keep kids safe in driveways, and when you put the gearbox in reverse it beeps a constant warning which is both distracting and unnecessary.

There’s manual air conditioning and manual seat adjustment, plus a clever remote folding function to help you fold the rear seats flat which opens up the Corolla’s 872-litre luggage space.

This isn’t enormous, but then neither is the Corolla which makes it quite good for parking in the city. Other cabin storage includes a double glovebox and a central binnacle, along with cup holders.

The driving experience is suitably bland (as per my expectations), and that’s exactly what you want it to be. The engineers made sure it goes around corners fairly well; the best feature is the brakes, though. At only 1125kg kerb weight, they don’t need to stop that much.

Expectations are powerful, and the Toyota has the biggest expectation of all working in its favour: people expect Toyotas to be good.

Good is subjective and if your primary reason for buying a car is to get the safest, most practical Toyota for as cheap as possible, it’s likely that this Corolla is what you would expect.

Price: $27,990 as tested, or $25,990 if you’re happy with a manual gearbox

Pros

  • Cheap and roomy

Cons

  • Slow off the line


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