Excellent car with one or two flaws
This car performs very well with the 5 speed automatic and 2.4 litre engine. On the highway passing is a breeze: give it a bit of gas and the automatic downshifts effortlessly into 4th. If you need more power, give it a bit more gas and you drop into 3rd where it really takes off.
Around town there is plenty of low end torque and you rarely see more than 3000 rpm in moderate driving. The transmission generally shifts smoothly with only the occasional jerky downshift. Gas mileage at highway speeds at around 100 kph (60 mph) is about 38 Imp. or 32 US. In the city on short trips the car gives about 25 mpg Imp. or 21 US.
The car is fairly stiffly sprung, which makes for a good, well controlled ride on smooth roads. On rough roads it's another matter, and the ride is a bit jarring. However, handling is excellent even with the standard Goodyear RS-A tires, which grip well even even in moderate snow.
Comfort is good and I had no problem with the seat or driving position even on a very long trip - 5'9", 160 lbs.. Road noise is moderate, but wind noise at highway speeds is a bit high. Rear visibility is the one serious flaw with this car. Forward and side visibility is fine but rear quarter visibility is awful. With 2 tiny useless gun slit windows in the quarters, backing and lane changing require use of the outside mirrors, which fortunately are fairly big. Toyota obviously chose styling over function in this case.
The car is quite practical, with rear seats that fold down giving lots of space for large objects. While the interior is not luxurious, the materials are of a better quality than some of the Corollas and other less expensive Toyotas that I've driven. The stock sound system works well with the door speakers giving good bass resonance.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd January, 2010