The first thing you notice about this car is how elegant it looks. It only comes in a hatch and is only offered in premium colours. My 2004 'Rolla is a Dark Blue Metallic Mica, which in my opinion is the best colour. The other things you notice are the 16 inch alloys, the lowered riding height due to the sports suspension, the modest but beefy looking body kit with Sportivo badging, and the stainless steel exhaust tip, which is hooked up to 2 inch piping, all factory standard.
When getting into the vehicle you are welcomed with black leather and more metallic finish panels than you can point a stick at. You also notice that you can't see the dash until you turn the vehicle on, as it is a back lit display in red, which adds to the sporty feel. My only quibble is why they didn't make the centre console the same colour, this is in a distinctive green.
The ride is firm and grips well. You feel most of the bumps on the road as the suspension has been tuned to almost racing specs. Unfortunately, too much body roll dampens the feel of a true sports car. The chairs are comfortable, but lack enough 'hold' to keep you firmly in your seat around sharp bends at acceleration. The leather is premium quality.
With 6 gears to choose from, you're always welcome with smooth gear changes and a lot of rev range. The Sportivo is powered by the same engine used in some Lotus' and the Celica. Toyota's 1800cc 4 cylinder 16 valve with VVTi with lift. Sounds great doesn't it. All we need to know is that when you take her past 5600rpm, she gets up and she rev's her little heart out to 8200rpm, producing 141kw. Which is an amazing feat for such a small engine. Why they stopped offering these engines in the Corolla I don't know, they really are amazing engines.
The Corolla Sportivo has become somewhat of a cult vehicle, like the early Celica's and Hilux. It uses less than 9 litres per 100km and produces more power than a standard 1.8. It's comfortable, safe, economical and very easy to the eye.