1 Oct 1994
The seventh-generation Corolla was the last small car to be built in Australia, this time at Toyota’s high-tech Altona site in Melbourne.
It also spawned a Holden Nova version in its first two years until the British-sourced TR Astra replaced that in Holden’s line-up.
Although it arrived three years after its Japanese premiere, the AE102 benefited from Toyota’s Lexus program trickle-down effect, so it was big on refinement, comfort, durability and – for a Corolla - space.
This time only a single five-door hatch (called Seca) and four-door sedan were offered, although the extended liftback-look, short-lived, fully imported Sprinter from May ’94 to November ’96 was the spiritual successor to the old Seca models.
It shared the same 85kW 7A-FE 1.8 litre engine with the local models, which included: CSi 1.6, CSi 1.8 Conquest and Ultima 1.8 sedans and Seca CSi 1.6, CSX 1.6 and 1.8 and sporty RV 1.8 hatches.
The smaller engine was a reworked version of the 4A-FE 1.6-litre fuel-injected unit producing 78kW of power. All autos were now four-speed, while on the safety front there was now the option of airbags and anti-lock brakes.
But a big weight hike meant the popular 1.6 autos were no rockets.
Special editions included the Corolla World Cup Seca of early ’95, the CSX-based Advantage from October ‘95 and the Spirit from early ’96.