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Finally, Corolla goes 2.0-litre

Scalpel for sedan: Toyota's 2010 Corolla sedan will get similar front and rear styling updates as the 2010 hatch, which continues to be differentiated by a unique bonnet and headlights.

Bigger 2.0-litre four for Toyota’s 2010 Corolla sedan, but only for $30K-plus Ultima

Toyota logo15 Apr 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

AUSTRALIA’S first 2.0-litre Corolla will spearhead a belated mid-life makeover for the sedan version of Toyota’s top-selling small car from September.

Bringing the four-door Corolla in line with the facelifted five-door hatch released last November, the revised sedan should also get new front and rear styling and standard range-wide features like front side airbags, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a multi-function steering wheel.

The three-year-old 150-series Corolla sedan joined the hatch - and many of its small-car competitors - in offering VSC electronic stability control as standard across the range just last month.

While the mid-range Conquest and top-shelf Ultima sedan variants already come standard with twin front, side and curtain airbags, only the volume-selling entry-level Ascent sedan and hatch should continue without standard curtain airbags, making four airbags standard in all Corollas for the first time.

However, GoAuto has learned the booted Corolla will go one better than its hatchback sibling in terms of performance, by introducing a larger 2.0-litre engine for the first time in an Australian Corolla - finally putting the swift-selling small car on par with its most direct Japanese rivals.

Unfortunately, the 1986cc petrol four will only come here under the bonnet of the flagship Ultima, meaning it’s also likely to be a (four-speed) auto-only affair and leaving the Ascent and Conquest sedans – and all Corolla hatches – to the model’s long-running 1.8-litre displacement.

Sharing the same 80.5mm bore with the 1.8 (and 1.6) versions of Toyota’s latest ZR DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine family, the longer-stroke 2.0-litre 3ZR-FE produces 102kW at 5600rpm and about 195Nm at 3900pm - slightly more power and torque than the Corolla’s current 1.8-litre 2ZR-FE engine (100kW at 6000rpm 175Nm at 4400rpm).

While our Corolla’s 1.8 2ZR four powers about a dozen small Toyotas in Japan, Europe and the US, the 2.0 3ZR debuted in Toyota’s 2007 Voxy and Noah models in Japan and is now also found in the European Avensis.

8 center imageLeft: The Corolla's current 1.8-litre 2ZR-FE engine will be joined by the slightly more powerful 2.0-litre 3ZR-FE later this year.

More advanced versions of both the 1.8 and 2.0-litre ZR engines available overseas, carrying an FAE suffix rather than just FE, come with the first application of Toyota’s Valvematic variable lift intake technology, in addition to its decade-old variable intake and exhaust camshaft timing system, dual VVT-i.

Although a flex-fuel E85 ethanol-compatible version of the newer 2.0 3ZR-FE Corolla engine, with 12.0:1 compression and 112kW, was released in Brazil last month, the 3ZR-FAE Valvematic petrol version – running the regular 10.0:1 compression ratio - is claimed to deliver 116kW at 6200rpm.

Toyota’s 2.0-litre Valvematic engine, which is fitted in at least six Japanese models and Europe’s RAV4, is said to reduce average consumption from 7.5 to 7.1L/100km.

It’s not clear whether the non-Valvemtic 2.0-litre engine we’ll see in Australia will be more efficient than the current 1.8, but extra standard equipment will increase the base Corolla sedan’s kerb weight by 10kg to 1275kg, while the top-shelf 2.0-litre Ultima auto sedan will be 40kg heavier than before at 1325kg.

Toyota’s latest ZR-series four-cylinder first appeared in 2007 – the same year the 10th-generation Corolla was released in Australia.

Toyota Australia’s top-selling model, the Corolla, has also been Australia’s top-selling small car for the past 10 years - and was the nation’s best-selling vehicle bar none last July, August and October - but so far this year has been outsold by the Mazda3.

While a 2.0-litre Corolla sedan opens the way for a sportier 2.0-litre version of the Corolla hatch, Toyota Australia has also long hoped to import the higher-performance ‘Blade’ version of the Corolla from Japan, where it is known as the Auris.

However, GoAuto understands that if any Blade model is released here it is more likely to be a larger-displacement 2.4-litre four-cylinder than a V6 model, as some press reports have speculated.

While the six-cylinder Blade shares its 3.5-litre V6 with the Australian-made Aurion and a number of other Toyota models, the 2.4-litre version employs a similar engine to the locally built Camry, some 1.5 million examples of which have now been produced in Australia.

Meantime, about 1.1 million Corollas have been sold in Australia, accounting for 22 per cent of all Toyota sales, with more than 35 million sold globally - making it the world’s most popular small car.

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