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More Sport for Corolla

Boosted: The Corolla Ascent Sport gets cosmetic tweaks like 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as more standard equipment.

Toyota adds Ascent Sport to Corolla range as evergreen small car’s popularity wanes

1 Aug 2011

IT WAS dished up to Australians last July as a special-edition model limited to just 1500 examples and now, four years after the current model’s release in May 2007, Toyota has introduced the Ascent Sport as a full-time member of the Corolla family.

Based on the entry-level Corolla Ascent, the Sport sedan and hatchback again rides on 16-inch ‘Blade’ alloy wheels and 205/55 tyres from the flagship Corolla Levin ZR – instead of the base Ascent’s 15-inch steel wheels – and adds a range of other interior and exterior features from upstream Corolla models.

They include cruise control, a ‘luxury’ gearshifter and steering wheel with audio and multi-information display controls, while on the outside Ascent Sport models are differentiated by ‘Sport’ badges, front foglights and, on sedan versions, a rear wing.

Ascent Sport hatch models also score a front spoiler and larger rear wing, but both models come with a new ‘Gen Y’ audio system with monochromatic LCD display, amber backlighting, joystick, single CD player, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Bluetooth streaming, USB connectivity and a 3.5mm input audio jack.

Both sedan and hatch versions of the new Corolla are available in Glacier White, Silver Pearl, Graphite, Ink, Wildlife and Shimmer exterior paint colours and, while the sedan also comes in Tungsten and Tidal Blue, the hatch will be available in Marine and new Blue Metallic colours.

Last July’s Ascent Sport was claimed to add $1600 of value for $22,250 plus on-road costs – $510 more than the standard Ascent.

This year both sedan and hatch versions of the Sport will again be available with six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, with prices starting at $22,490 – up $1500 on the entry-level Corolla Ascent ($20,990).

Sales of Australia’s once-dominant small car have slumped by 17.5 per cent in the first half of 2011, in a small-car segment that is down 4.5 per cent overall.

Both the Mazda3 hatch/sedan and Holden Cruze sedan have taken advantage of the Corolla’s downturn in popularity this year, with Mazda3 sales up by 6.9 per cent.

So far this year the Mazda3 holds an 18.5 per cent share of its segment, with Holden’s sedan-only Cruze second (14.2 per cent) and the Corolla (13.7 per cent) holding down third but lying fewer than 1000 sales ahead of Hyundai’s i30 sedan, hatch and wagon range (13.0 per cent).

All Australian Corollas continue to come standard with electronic stability control, seven airbags and a 100kW/175Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine – except for the range-topping Ultima sedan, which scored a 102kW/169Nm 2.0-litre engine last June, when a Corolla sedan facelift brought four-door models into line with facelifted five-door hatch models released in November 2009.

Toyota Corolla AscentSport pricing:
Ascent Sport$22,490

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