2021 Toyota Corolla Apex first drive review: Great idea, mediocre execution

A sporty economy car is more than just the sum of its parts, but the parts still factor. Leave a lot of things on the table, and the end result will be the pogatorial feel, what it is and what it could be. Dear readers, the 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex in a nutshell.

This does not mean that the Corolla app upgrades are for display purposes only. On the contrary, in fact; Apex packs a number of tweaks that live up to its handling-adjacent badges. The new springs lower the body by over half an inch, and they work together with new shocks, solid sway, and a unique tune for the power-steering system.

I can feel every single upgrade. In fact, I can’t stop feeling them. The Corolla app is a demonstrable stiffer than its pedestrian sibling, entirely too much, in fact. A Super-Smooth Road Eye Experience meets a great ride, but the other sidewalk gets a bit worse, the ride becomes tiresome. Every bump or highway expansion joint is met with an incredibly sharp vertical shock, and just about every fluctuation of the road will send Apex tracking off-line.

When I’m actually giving the beebees an attractive backload, the result is predictable, with almost no body roll and an agility that I have a difficult time with for the Corolla. However, in daily use, the suspension becomes directly annoying, and quickly. The adaptive dampers found on the Volkswagen GTI or Honda Civic Si will go much further here. You may think that the Apex is similar to the Honda Civic Sport, but the ride quality of the Civic Sport is much better for daily use. The brakes are standard Corolla fare, and they still provide sufficient stopping power. The steering is well-weighted – very well-weighted, actually – but it’s not like there is much feedback going through it.

The no-cost Dunlop SP Sport Maxx Summer tires wrap around my tester’s 18-inch alloys, which is half to cheat. anything The Corner in this section looks like a car twice when it is wearing rubber similar to a Subaru STI S209 or Nissan GT-R Nismo.

The Corolla Apex almost looks like it is missing something, and in my opinion, it would be about 25 or 30 horsepower. This hot-up ‘Rolla uses the same engine as its high-trim siblings: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine putting just 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, behind the Civic Sport’s 1.5-liter legs. Like pulling the turbo four which makes 180 hp and 162 or 177 lb-ft (depending on transmission). There is, of course, a new exhaust on the Apex, but its bass-friendly tune is only noticeable outside the car, or inside at lower rpm, and it does nothing to address the output. My tester’s optional CVT (combined with a six-speed manual) is Available), the Apex’s powertrain is fine, moving through gear shiftos to simulated shift points that get a little sharper with the press of the Sport button on the center console. Someone finds this in a turbocharger, or some lower-lower torque. something.

Honestly, my favorite part of the Corolla Apex is the way it looks. The more aggressive intakes of the front end and the bronze accents within them look like a SEMA reject without trembling properly, and the sharply aesthetical head of the way from that fast-paced esthetic alloys, some amazingly sharp side skirts and, my tester In terms of, the $ 375 rear wing which is on the tasty side of the offensive. It is like a miniature Camry TRD, especially in this two-tone black-on-white getup. The interior of my SE Apex is decorated with comfortable fabric on the seats and a splash of white paint that defines the beltline without creating annoying windshield reflections.

The Corolla’s white interior accents are nice, but they don’t extend to the top of the dashboard, protecting the windshield reflections from getting too crazy.

Andrew Croke / Roadshow

Apex’s technology is all standard Toyota fare, meaning it is excellent. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard, driving the Toyota’s normal operating system, which is slightly lower on graphic fidelity, but includes a lot of features Apple carplay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa integration and a six-speaker audio system. It also stands to the limit with safety systems, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control (for CVT variants), lane-departure warning and lane-key assistance. Blind spot monitoring is standard on XSE Apex and optional on SE Apex.

It is all cheap too. My SE Apex tester starts at $ 26,065 including $ 995 for destination, window stickers with rear wing brought to $ 4,440. It’s more of a duet than a Civic Sport hatchback, offering more space and a more sensible ride, but it’s a duet that is less than a VW Golf GTI, which is … frankly, it’s just a better car Which is all around and is worth the extra scratch if you both appreciate the show off and not being constantly shaken to pieces.

This is not the “Corolla Hot Hatch” you’ve heard rumors about – it’s not that you’re likely to make that assumption, considering the Apex is no hatchback. That car is still on the way, and it must kill a powerful powertrain, which will set fire to the legs of cars like the GTI. While I was hoping that the Apex would be little more than a middle-child approach here, the bog-standard acts as an intermediary between the Rolla and the upcoming sports car, the 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex, if anything. That is patience. Is a virtue.

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