The idea of owning a brand new car off the showroom floor is generally something I’m not very keen on, though not being able to afford one is possibly a bigger factor. Personally, I’m more inclined to pre-owned cars or even better, imported cars from countries like Japan. While it is more of my personal opinion as most people would prefer the peace of mind of having a warranty and availability of parts, I’d rather reap the benefits of post first-hand ownership depreciation. While it depends on the car itself as well, for instance, if it’s something like this Corolla, I wouldn’t be too worried. It’s a Toyota, what’s the worst that could happen?
When I was told we’d be given the keys to a Toyota Corolla, I wasn’t really jumping over the moon, to be frankly honest. Excited, sure, but not overly excited that I was looking forward to it that much. It’s just a Corolla anyway, not like it was a limited-edition homologated for racing like the GR Yaris. But that is where I was completely wrong because ever since I started writing and being in front of the camera about driving cars, there was this slight sense of being a bit picky on the cars. That being said, the Corolla seems to have left a long-lasting thought on me even months after driving one.
The lasting thought being ‘how good a modern manual car can be’ because if you look into the current car market, it’s nearly impossible to find a brand new manual car. Though that might not be completely true because there are new manual cars but those are either the cheapest cars around like the Perodua Axia or the Proton Saga or some of the most expensive cars in the market like a Porsche 911 GT3 Touring. Regular cars like the Honda Civic or a Mazda 3 all come with a CVT or an automatic transmission.
While it is understandable that the manual transmission only caters to a niche market that is almost non-existent but it’s rather sad to see that even the youth aren’t that interested in cars anymore, particularly manual cars. This is actually becoming a problem in Japan as manufacturers are finding it hard to sell interesting cars because there isn’t really a demographic for these cars anymore. However, just because the youth aren’t interested, doesn’t mean they have to kill it off completely. And this is where the Corolla GZ Sports hatchback perfectly fits the bill.
First of all, welcome to the interior of the Corolla GZ Sports Hatchback where the car greets you with a lovely 6-speed manual transmission. Oh, how joyous. While most people would say the Corolla may be boring and dull, this is definitely something I wouldn’t even consider boring let alone dull. The cabin is surrounded by a blend of contrasting suede and leather, a lovely reminder to show you that Toyota can be fun and plush if you leave them to their own devices. A huge step up from the yesteryears of beige and the ‘uncle’ Camry vibes.
Another cool addition are the seats as well, these are similar to the ones on the GR Yaris. While the seats may look similar, it is unsure if the seats are actually from the GR Yaris but it is for sure lovely to sit in. Come to think of it, the seats are upholstered to the same colour as the Toyota ‘GR’ badge.
So now, let’s address the elephant in the room, the engine. Unlike the local Corolla Altis which has a 1.8-litre engine, under the hood of this Corolla GZ Sports is a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces around 115hp and 185Nm of torque. Though the power may seem rather inadequate for a car from 2018, what the Corolla lacks in power, it makes up for in the ‘fun’ department. That being said, this particular Corolla is running on a set of RSR lowering springs.
NE Reviews - Toyota Corolla GZ Sports Hatchback 10 minutes