As rumors intensify around the launch of a far more capable Corolla that could even benefit from all-wheel drive, Toyota is paving the way with the Apex Edition. This variation tries to boost the compact in sedan format with some improvements that arouse curiosity, in addition to showing a certain rarity with only 150 copies intended for the Canadian market. But what is it really?
First, the envelope. The Apex (cord stitch) edition benefits from multiple aesthetic changes that make this four-door Corolla remarkably more expressive. The concrete gray of the body, the only color offered, goes quite well with the black of the grille as well as that of the sill skirts and the rims. The latter are also cut to promote cooling of the brakes, says Toyota, which is however not really essential given the nature of the mechanics. We will come back to that. The bronze-colored lines also ensure an additional uniqueness. But, overall, it’s a very conventional approach to tuning.with basic visual ingredients without these having a tangible impact on the behavior of the vehicle. It is nevertheless well executed overall.
The interior nevertheless extends the concept far too timidly with the unique addition of slightly more enveloping seats at the forefront. Moreover, the Apex edition is a carbon copy of the so-called production Corollas, with all the benefits that this provides. This latest generation is a success in terms of roominess, except perhaps for the headroom in the rear, which could be more generous. The trunk also benefits from a large opening and a good depth of floor to engulf everything necessary. If we focus strictly on the aesthetic aspect of the object, we see that the influence of Lexus on the Toyota range is more and more evident. This greater sensitivity to the choice of materials and design makes the dashboard very elegant for a compact,
Under the hood
At start-up, the Corolla Apex surprises the driver with the serious and nonetheless demonstrative sound of its exhaust, which maintains hopes for its temperament. However, we quickly discover that the manufacturer has a priori changed nothing of this atmospheric 2 L four-cylinder whose power is increased to 169 hp. We appreciate its linearity, but its lack of expressiveness matches badly with the more sporty inclination of the model. The standard six-speed manual gearbox with engine speed synchronization does a pretty decent job. The long travel of its lever and the vague aspect of the friction point of the clutch do not make the feeling entirely convincing. Add to that a certain laziness in the setting of the accelerator pedal. In short, a good frugal engine for a conventional compact,
Behind the wheel
Toyota comes back to this repeatedly in the documentation provided to the media: the bulk of the composition work has been done in terms of depreciation. The struts have been revised and provided with much firmer springs, a combination tested on tracks, undoubtedly very smooth, to ensure its dynamic qualities, affirms the manufacturer. This is probably where the problem lies. On chipped Quebec roads, this Corolla Apex is incredibly firm. Each hole, crevice, ripple is continuously transmitted to the passenger compartment, which produces a perpetual rebound effect that gradually brings us closer to an appointment with a chiropractor. It’s a shame, because the chassis has a good rigidity and the steering dose well assistance and precision. Without the possibility of adjusting this firmness,
Essentially based on the Corolla’s SE livery, the Apex Edition receives the same equipment with a few additions, including the cell phone charging pad and subscription to Toyota’s telematics app for smartphones. This Corolla is therefore equipped with the multimedia system used in several models of the manufacturer. Without being trendy, as evidenced by its image definition and not entirely smooth transitions, it has the merit of being easy to approach. It is easy to navigate, navigation that can be done as much by touch as by means of various buttons bordering the 8-inch screen. In terms of sound, the six-speaker system disappoints with its lack of clarity, a choice no doubt made in the spirit of keeping the model accessible, but which will not appeal to audiophiles.
Born from the noble idea of wanting to infuse a more eye-catching personality into a compact consumer, this Apex edition leaves you wondering after a few hundred kilometers behind the wheel. This is basically not a bad car, as it still retains the strengths that make the Corolla such a great vehicle, namely flawless build quality paired with unmistakable practicality and reliability. But, in a competitive environment like the current auto industry, you can’t throw an idea on the fly without it being backed up by flawless execution. This is exactly the problem with this Corolla Apex. Equipped with a mechanics with a generic temperament and a suspension whose firmness shakes you like a plum tree, it gives the impression of an unfinished creation.
At a price of around $ 30,000, this Apex Edition Corolla faces the Honda Civic Si, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen Golf GTI, much more competent rivals and which, incidentally, will all be overhauled soon.
Two injectors per cylinder
Like many Toyota models, this Corolla’s 2.0L engine has two injectors per cylinder – one in the combustion chamber, the other in the intake manifold – to provide better fuel control. fuel injection and reduce the risk of clogging.
An optional CVT
The Apex Edition also comes with a continuously variable transmission that has a starting gear to aid acceleration.
The Apex Edition is equipped with active safety elements without having to pay a premium, namely active emergency braking assistance, blind spot sensors and adaptive cruise control. The lane-keeping system is reserved for vehicles with a CVT transmission.
A range of naturally aspirated engines
With a standard 1.8L four-cylinder (139L), an optional 2.0L four-cylinder (169hp) and a 1.8L hybrid four-cylinder (121hp), the Corolla is banking on a fairly complete range of naturally aspirated engines, which is increasingly rare.
Model under test: Toyota Corolla SE Apex Edition
Engine: L4 DOHC 2L
Horsepower: 169 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque: 151 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual w / speed synchronization Engine
architecture: front transverse engine, front-wheel drive
Consumption (EnerGuide): 7.5 L / 100 km
Price (with options, transport and preparation): $ 29,240
Competitors: Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda3, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza and Volkswagen Jetta
New in 2021? : new limited edition Apex, Android Auto as standard