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Reader test: Toyota Corolla

2009-09-15 13:00

Annelie Prinsloo, Tzaneen

I drive a 2002 model Toyota Corolla 140i GLS. 

It was the first new Corolla of that shape that was sold in my town and to be honest, I bought it a little bit head over heels.

Now most people will sigh and say: “Whoopee… a Corolla… how exciting…”

But today I just want to say: “Guys, it is just that: exciting!”

My baby is seven years old now. She has 108 000 km on the counter and she still has a few hundred thousand kilometres to come!

Let’s start at the beginning: When I bought her in 2002, I was looking for something new, and being a Toyota fan, the new Corolla in the dealership’s window immediately drew my attention. 

Two days later I drove her off the display floor and into my life.

Head over heels? Yes, because the only thing I asked the salesman was: “How is the sound on her stereo?” 

Yes, you’ve guessed it: I am female!

Now, after seven years, I feel equipped and experienced enough to say a few things about my car.

A few things

Her 1400 engine has a jolt in her that you won’t find in a lot of 1400s. The exhilaration is immediately there when you need it, even in third or fourth gear.

She can reach 100 km/h in 17.49 seconds (I am not “The Stig”, but I try…) and her five gear manual transmission gives you a smooth gear shifting experience that is quick and easy all the way through from first to fifth.  Even reverse has no problems whatsoever.

Reaching firth gear with the open road in front of you, she gets to 160km/h in no time, with the only drawback being that you always have to watch the speedometer, because even at 160km/h, her engine has the soft purr of a cat, making a long stretch of road only a pleasure.

Idling, she is softer than my uncle's Mercedes with no annoying rattles and her interior is as good as new.  All she lacks is that “new-car-smell”.

The adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel allows me as a “shorty” to find the ideal driving position and makes me always feel like a proper racing driver.  Keeping within the speed limit though, she gives me between 12 and 14 km per litre.

Every little thing on her still works.  From the boot opener and the adjustable light brightness of the dashboard to the electric windows.

Going around a bend, the only thing you can do is yell “Whee….!”, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and enjoy the ride, because she is amazingly stable (and sturdy) in the turns.

She has a short, sexy backside and her front end is low and open that makes her very compact (and appealing).  Her handling is light and swift and allows me to be a very cocky driver.

Anything else?

To sum up: Strong, neat, dependable and sexy... What more do you want? 

So, if you ever stop behind a Corolla again (and the "boring" thought pop into your head), beware… it might possibly be me and her and we are going to show you a few things. Ten years from now as well

Oh yes! And the sound on her stereo? Well, that still sounds as good as the first day!
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