“A Touch of Flair for Number One”
Toyota holds the enviable status of manufacturing the two most top selling vehicles in the world. One just came shy of a million units, the other broke the one million barrier for 2020 by nearly 135,000 cars. If you guessed RAV 4 and Corolla you would be correct. However, it’s not the SUV that leads, it’s the Corolla. The Corolla holds a special place in my family; it is the one vehicle that my wife and I have given the green light to for our kids, in that if they choose it, we will help pay for it. It screams reliability and dependability. A good friend of ours owned his Corolla throughout law school, shipped it across America from Chicago to Seattle when he moved and continued to use it while being a successful lawyer and husband and father of three kids (what screams reliability more than that).
The Special Edition brings some of the visual flavour of the European and Asian Yaris GR, if not its awesome drivetrain. Based on the SE Upgrade CVT grade; the Special Edition grabs attention with a beautiful Supersonic Red colour scheme. The Supersonic Red is accented with black-painted 18-in. alloy wheels and a bold body kit that would make any aftermarket designer envious. The kit adds a sporty front splitter, side skirts, black rear roof spoiler, a rear bumper garnish and unique Special Edition badging. Toyota will be limiting production to only 200 units so that your Corolla remains unique as it looks and you don’t run into a twin any time soon. The overall result is that the Special Edition has a hunkered down muscular stance. It looks edgy and aggressive with a commanding front end that doesn’t feel overly busy.
Powering the Special Edition is Toyota’s 168-horsepower 2.0-litre Dynamic Force Engine. It revs freely and smoothly and becomes very playful on the upper end of the rev scale. To transfer this go forward motion to the ground the Special Edition uses a Dynamic Shift CVT. Toyota CVT simulates a 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic and includes Sport Mode, and paddle shifters. However, to match the aggressive looks this CVT starts off with a conventional gearset used as a launch gear for start-off acceleration. This first gear then seamlessly hands off the work to the CVT’s pulley system.
The interior is a comfortable place to be and controls are within easy reach. The main display is 8 inches and offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with remote connect option. The front seats provide ample support, although the rear seats are cramped for anyone over six feet. The boot offers up to 147 liters of cargo space or 5.2 cubic feet. I say “up to” because the extra space comes courtesy of a spare tire delete. Interior materials are combination of soft touch and hard plastics, with the latter being largely utilized on the door panels.
The hatchback for many new drivers represents a rite of passage. It’s often the family car that was outgrown and passes to the next generation. When it comes to the Corolla’s reliability having the Special Edition as the second family car, any child receiving this will be ecstatic and the envy of their friends. Its styling is aggressive, but, not to the point of dating itself. Combine this with class leading efficiency and you have the perfect new car/old car companion.