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Quieter & smoother
A 3.9-inch wheelbase extension smoothes out sharp ride motions and expands rear-seat legroom, it comes with 5.1 additional inches of space for stems in the back. The front seats are a significant improvement; the S model's bigger bolsters feel awfully soft for a ?sport seat,? but the entire range has added thigh, lumbar, and lateral support. This will make your journeys less punishing.
The Corolla's traditional L, LE, and S models use a carry-over 1.8-liter twin-cam VVTi four-cylinder engine, which is rated at 132 hp. Efforts were made to minimize mass, but curb weight rises with the added length. You might anticipate a commensurate loss of performance, but the car feels a tad livelier. Credit the pair of new transmissions: a CVT for the shiftless, which offers a ?stepped seven-speed? function in S models, and a fresh six-speed manual. Clutch-pedal availability is limited strictly to frugal-minded buyers of the base L model or the indulgent experience seekers who opt for a nearly loaded S.
On the road, the electronically managed CVT ?branded CVTi-S? banishes the usual drone of transmission, instead emulating the feel of a traditional automatic while being more efficient, quieter, and offering a better range of ratios. It's certainly among the best CVTs ever but can't mask the 1.8-liter's lack of low-rpm punch. Engaged drivers will prefer the new six-speed manual. The shift throws are long but crisp, and the clutch feel is good. Predictably but sadly, the pedals are so far to negate heel-and-toe downshifts; if you expected Toyota to let you find the brake and gas pedals with the same foot, you haven't paid attention in a long time.
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