First up, I want to be clear that this was just a rental that I used for a few days, only driving around Perth, Western Australia, so my experience was necessarily limited. I drove about 270 kilometres during that time in a mix of urban freeway and surface street driving. But I always think it’s good to get the views of people like me who have no emotional or financial attachment to a vehicle. My personal car is a RAV4 that I have mixed feelings about.
When I first got the car I thought it seemed quite cheap and plasticky inside. There’s lots of hard and shiny surfaces. There’s also a fair bit of tyre roar as you drive along.
The more I drove it though, the more I liked it. The transmission changed up and down smoothly and it didn’t hesitate, which is good when you suddenly need a turn of speed. The engine is no rocket, but was perfectly adequate for a mix of urban and highway driving; it never felt like it was struggling, even on the one occasion where I helped a friend move some boxes of books and an air conditioner to his new house. The steering also felt like it had more feeling and directness than that of my six year old RAV4.
The cheap looking cabin was actually really well designed; everything was exactly where you would expect it to be, and unlike some of Ford and Hyundai’s recent models, I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by an abundance of similar shaped and sized buttons. There were just enough controls to let me do what I needed to do and they were all very obvious. The driver’s seat was also very comfortable, with plenty of side bolstering, though perhaps there could have been a bit more lumbar support. The height of the vehicle seemed pretty good too. I have back and knee issues, so getting in and out of a low car can be a bit of a struggle. I remember having issues in this respect with a Honda Civic I hired in the UK in 2016. The Corolla was a lot better.