Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

She says, he says: Toyota Corolla

Deb Anderson and Matt Campbell sample Toyota's updated small car.

PT3M12S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-29yj9 620 349

The car: Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

The price: $22,990 plus on-road and dealer costs

The details: 1.8-litre 4-cyl petrol engine; 103kW/173Nm; 6.6L/100km and 152g/km CO2; CVT automatic; FWD.

Toyota’s new generation Corolla Click for more photos

Toyota's new Corolla

Toyota’s new generation Corolla

  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla
  • Toyota’s new generation Corolla

He: Toyota has just revamped its popular Corolla small car. The new model looks a lot sharper - dare I say it, perhaps even a little bit cool - but the company hasn't changed much under the bonnet. It's pretty much the same 1.8-litre as we've known for quite some time. What did you think of it?

She: Yep, the iconic small car has got its groove on! But probably what I noticed first was price: that's solid value for a five-door hatch with a roomy cabin, good fuel economy and decent performance. I especially like the inclusion of a reversing camera. So many small-car designs today limit over-the-shoulder vision - and the Corolla is no exception.

He: I completely agree. The boxy back end is hard to look past from the driver's seat and the camera does make a big difference - though it'd be even better if it had sensors to back it up. You're right about the price - it's bang on against its main rivals and undercuts many in terms of value and equipment. But the look? I dunno …

She: To me it's got greater appeal than the previous model, especially in the cabin, where Toyota's gone all minimalist (if simplistic) across the slab-style dash - and I do like the inclusion of a reversing camera and a colour touchscreen. Some design elements are a step back in time (the LCD clock screams '90s). Overall, it seems to be a quality fit and finish. Your thoughts?

He: I agree it looks better than the last one from the outside, but I disagree about the big, bulky dash design. I think it looks as though the designer ran out of ideas and just went: ''Yep, a big plastic slab will do.'' Agreed, the old-school digital displays are cruddy compared with some of its sophisticated competitors. But yes, it is well put together. I found it reasonably spacious, too, and the boot is quite decent. How did you find the drive experience?

She: The steering is light and direct, ideal for city driving and tight parking spots. It feels quite spacious about the cabin - it's roomier in the back seat than many rival small cars. And this Corolla is no slouch, given it remains pretty thrifty on fuel. Did you notice the drone coming from the transmission sometimes?

He: Sure did. That whiney sound you get with CVTs could be annoying in day-to-day driving, as it is really quite loud inside the cabin. The engine works well with the gearbox, though, and while it hasn't changed much compared to the old model, the 1.8 is still a fairly good thing. So … let's get to it. Toyota says the new Corolla is sportier. Do you think it is?

She: Er, I think it's got zip! It's not exactly ''sporty'' in this competitive segment of the market, where the ripper little Ford Focus is on offer for just $1600 more. But I think the new and improved Corolla would make an easy-to-live-with, economical, reliable little runabout (and I think it has its own distinctive style!). Does it get your vote?

He: I don't dislike it, but there are other cars out there that I'd lay down my hard-earned cash for - such as the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf - before I bought a Corolla.