2004 Toyota Corolla Sportivo 1.8 VVTLi from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

If standard isn't an option, buy a Sportivo

Faults:

Steering wheel showed signs of wear.

Rear left tyre shows signs of uneven wear, possibly camber adjustment.

General Comments:

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.

Buy one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd May, 2010

28th Sep 2010, 10:43

I agree, although I would say when standard is the best option, as this little beast is ready to race straight out of the box. Discontinuance of engine is due to emission laws I believe.

2004 Toyota Corolla CE 1.8L from North America

Summary:

Great all around family car!

Faults:

At about 85k the belt tensioner went bad, a 360 dollar part, but covered under warranty. Other than that, nothing has gone wrong.

General Comments:

This car was bought new by my father in 2004. He drove the car for about 40k and then lent it to my sister to drive while studying at UK. My sister beat the crap out of the car until I bought it Feb. of this year. I continued to do the same, and this car has never let me down, ever. I do however advise against treating this car like crap, as they tend to really deteriorate quickly.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th September, 2009

2004 Toyota Corolla Ascent 1.8L from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A safe choice

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

As you expect from a Toyota, well built, reliable and fuss-free car. Boring in the style department, but it's not ugly.

It's pretty spacious for its dimensions and the cabin feels solid. The engine has good poke, though it gets boomy when revved. Otherwise very cheap to maintain.

The auto tranny could be more intelligent as some of the shifts are jerky and slow, but nothing offending. The suspension and chassis tune could bit more tighter compared with its rivals, but if you drive it like a granny you wouldn't care less.

Ride quality is overall good, but degrades on choppy surfaces. Great for a first car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th September, 2007