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Toyota confirms 2.0-litre Corolla sedan flagship

Bigger engine: Toyota's Corolla sedan flagship, the Ultima, gets for 2.0-litre engine in latest update.

Price increase for bigger-engined Ultima as Toyota releases new-look Corolla sedan

Toyota logo17 Jun 2010

TOYOTA has released a facelifted Corolla sedan range, headlined by a more expensive 2.0-litre Ultima flagship – as forecast exclusively by GoAuto in April – but eschewing side airbags at base level.

For now, the larger new 3ZR-FE 2.0-litre engine is reserved only for the automatic-only Ultima, which increases in price by $800 to $31,490, bringing the top-shelf Corolla sedan in line with chief small-car competitors such as the Mazda3, which continues to out-sell the formerly dominant Corolla in the 2010 sales race.

In the final facelift before it is replaced in late 2012, the rest of the upgraded Corolla sedan range – which follows the release of an upgraded Corolla hatchback last November – continues to be powered by the existing 1.8-litre engine and receives price cuts of up to $400.

Surprisingly, however, unlike the five-door Corolla, the entry-level Ascent four-door (now priced from $20,990 as a six-speed manual) does not come with front-side airbags, which are standard across the entire hatch range, or side curtain and driver’s knee airbags – which are standard in the mid-range Conquest and premium Ultima sedans.

Toyota Australia brought the Corolla sedan into line with the hatch and its most direct small-car rivals by fitting VDC electronic stability/traction control as standard in March, but the full seven-airbag package costs an extra $750 as part of an optional safety package for the Corolla Ascent sedan.

Revealed in Europe six weeks ago, the 2010 Corolla sedan looks more like the larger Camry sedan than the uniquely styled Corolla hatch thanks to a new front bumper, grille, foglights, wing mirrors and headlights (with smoked lenses for Conquest and Ultima variants), plus a different rear bumper and tail-lights.

8 center imageIt also gains a range of extra equipment in an attempt to make the four-door Corolla more competitive with newer rivals such as the Mazda3 and popular Hyundai i30.

As with the Corolla hatch, a new range of MP3/WMA-capable sound systems is included, with Bluetooth and USB/iPod connectivity, plus new instruments. The entry-level Ascent offers a single-CD player, while Conquest (which comes with a $260 price cut, to $24,490 manual) and Ultima get a six-CD unit with 4.3-inch TFT colour screen.

For 2010, the Ultima also gains Xenon headlights, a rear spoiler and reversing camera as standard, the latter linked to a 3.3-inch LCD screen built-in to the rear-view mirror with static guidelines to assist reverse parking.

As we reported two months ago, however, the Ultima’s larger new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine employs dual-VVT-i variable inlet and exhaust timing technology to raise peak power output by only 2kW over the existing 1.8-litre engine, which continues to deliver 100kW/175Nm in the Ascent and Conquest sedan and all Corolla hatches.

Peak torque is up by 14Nm or eight per cent, however, with the Corolla Ultima sedan’s 2.0-litre engine officially producing 102kW at a slightly lower 5600rpm and 189Nm of torque from 4400rpm. No fuel consumption figures have been announced.

Matched with what Toyota says is a new electronically controlled (but still four-speed) automatic transmission – “with ratios to take advantage of the increased torque” – Australia’s first 2.0-litre Corolla is claimed to offer improved engine response across the rev range.

Other changes include new five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels for the Conquest, new blade-design alloy wheels for the Ultima, new seat fabric (Ascent and Conquest), new silver interior highlights for Conquest and Ultima, new combination meters with Lexus-style Optitron instruments (Conquest and Ultima), new ISO-compliant control symbols, new flat-bottom steering wheels and two new exterior paint colours: Blue Steel and, for the Ultima only, Blue Metallic.

As with all metallic paints, the latter is a $350 optional extra for all grades, while the Ultima offers the exclusive option of a sunroof for $1500.

Apart from the airbag-equipped safety pack, the base Ascent is also available with a ‘cruise pack’, comprising cruise control, a premium steering wheel with audio controls and premium gearshift and parking brake levers (also $750).

2010 Toyota Corolla sedan pricing:
Ascent $20,990 (-$400)
Ascent (a) $22,990 (-$400)
Conquest $24,490 (-$260)
Conquest (a) $26,490 (-$260)
Ultima (a) $31,490 (+$800)
OPTIONS:
Enhanced safety $750 (Ascent only)
Cruise pack $750 (Ascent only)
Moonroof $1500 (Ultima only)
Metallic paint $350 (all grades)

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