Toyota gives Corolla a sporty makeover to draw young drivers

By Naomi Tajitsu

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Japan is a post-automobile society where young people under 35 don't make enough money to own a kei car much less a regular car like the Corolla, so why even try? I remember a Toyota manager buying an iQ in response to the company call to buy Toyota cars to support the company during the Great Recession. The iQ was the best a Toyota manager could afford or need.

Until the average salary of Japanese workers under 35 rise to 7 million yen/year, don't expect them to buy cars.

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Does the makeover include greater impact and accident protection? The younger generation they are targeting are also responsible for nearly 75% of road fatalities in Japan

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Young people?! Most don't care about cars anymore. Initial D generation is long gone. And the young can hardly afford a scooter. How are they going to get a car they don't want. They want Cute Eco Box.

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You can put lipstick on a pig...

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Doesn't look like a Corolla. Looks more like a Supra. Car ownership is going down in both Japan and the US with the under 40 crowd.

Bring back cars with just the basic functions and make them stylish for under 15 grand and you'll be selling cars to the younger generation that don't want to pay a fortune for a car.

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I love cars and really enjoy driving everyday. If I lived in say Tokyo I,d not buy one but I,d definately be getting a rental car on weekends and zooming out of the city. Just love the feeling of freedom it provides you with...but thats just me. Back to the Corolla article, this new model is a complete departure from the previous ones. Overseas motoring press is giving it glowing reports both for its looks and driveability. Not sure it will be popular in Japan but in the export markets its bound to sell well. Toyota designs in the couple of years are much improved thanks to the generational change at the top of the company.

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I've never thought of the Corolla as an old person's car, just a cheaper alternative to the Camry.

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Good old Toyota. I almost bought one in Japan new but felt the dealer was quite condescending, as was the Nissan dealer. Ended up getting a used Honda and very pleased.

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It looks good, and will sell Millions. Best selling car in the World. Every company tries to copy “the Toyota way”. But for me, Prius is still the best.

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"Worlds Best Selling"...hah! Riiiight!

These are inflated numbers concocted by ToyBoata's marketing department. Toyboata, has many different models with the "Corolla" badge on it (example Corolla Ractus, Corolla Fielder, Corolla Sports...etc., but in their sales figures, they lump in as one model "Corolla".

What a joke...Toyota has a good marketing department, but their products are crap.

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A Corolla is not a hatchback. A sporty estate/station wagon would be just about doable, but sticking it on a hatch, nevermind an attempted hot hatch, makes the name meaningless.

I've had very little trouble using second-hand Toyotas to drive my family around, I think they are well built if "unsexy", but won't be buying a new car until it can drive itself.

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@ kohakuebisu

A Corolla is not a hatchback.

Welcome to the new world.

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They have been trying with this already for many years, aiming to give it a sporty look but the perception among people remains the same. It is an old man car who drives 50 km/h at the most. If you want a sport car, you need to look elsewhere. In fact, very few Japanese cars have a sporty look nowadays, let alone sport performance.

In the past, they were promoting Narita airport as New Tokyo International Airport, even if it was not new and not located in Tokyo so people kept calling in Narita anyway. Same with Toyota's cars

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I had a Corolla in high school in the late 80's and it had no problems even after 150k miles. Sold it to my completely irresponsible friend who drove it to shyttte but still kept running until he finally recked it. Say what you will, Toyotas are hard to beat for reliability. Worst car I ever owned was a Dodge Diplomat bought in college for 500 bucks over summer. As soon as I drove it home I realized I had been duped. The starter failed to kick over and it had a gas leak, so I had to put in a few gallons just to get to my job 3 miles away. At the end of a miserable summer I sold it to another guy and said "drives great" and got back my 500 bucks. He was a good sport even when it failed to start right after he signed and paid,,,

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Boring cars from a boring company. But the whole concept of cars is outdated now. Wake me up when they are self-driving and you don't have to stop every 30m for a damn red light.

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Late 80's and 90's were when Toyota was still cool, and they had cool and interesting cars like the Supra and Celica. I had a 2dr rear wheel drive Corolla hardtop in highschool, and it had a lot of pep and soul compared to the crapbox Corollas they make today. Toyota has completely lost their soul when they recognized Honda as a serious competitor, because Honda was snatching up the sports compact car market. Toyota then started copying Honda's designs to win back the market but their designs were so inferior. Front wheel drive Celica? Really??

Now they make boring econoboxes that practically drive themselves for old people who have a hard time telling the difference between the accelerator and brakes, and employ aggressive marketing strategies designed to doctor sales and performance figures.

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Not sure why so many dump on Toyota. The "boring" tag is as boring in itself as the claim.

What company makes cars that are cutting edge in design, performance, allure across a multitude of models? No Company.

Toyota created the benchmark of reliability 60 years ago when other companies were still in the trying lane. The 1960's Corona for example was/is indestructible when other rust buckets were buckets of bolts.

They created the whole marque of SUV with the Rav 4 nearly 30years ago while others were still getting out of bed.

Their Landcruiser series has been unbeatable across models for decades.

The Hi-Ace van series is the go to vehicle in it's class. 1 million ks no probs.

They trumped the auto world again with the Prius on an again sleeping late in bed industry. They got canned for it and criticized as making toys fad that will not last. Heh, Heh! Hybrid models are now available across their whole livery.

Their sedans like the crown, corolla et al have moved millions of people efficiently and smoothly for decades.

Sure they don't make alfa spyders or the like, but why would they?

And as a longtime off and on Toyota owner, nothing beats the guts of the Toyota models I've owned. My VW, Ford, GM, Fiat, Peugot, Nissan, Chrysler, Citroen, BMW and Mazda cars were all good/great, but nothing better than my Toyotas.

After picking up my first brand new Hilux  in 1985, I ventured off road the same day with a friend for 2 days of rainforest exploring thrashing the hell out of it. It's been a farm truck for 10 years now and has over 350,000 ks on it. I think the heads never been off.

But I don't like the look of many new models across brands. They all look the same. Including the new Corolla.

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Hope it won't be using old Takata airbags.

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We're not talking about the days of yesteryear. Like I said earlier, Toyota use to be cool, when they were innovative and original like the gull wing doors on the Toyota Sera or the gen 2 MR-2 that looked like a mini Ferrari, not to mention the iconic AE86 . Now its all crap. Not a single car in their lineup is appealing. Yeah, they do their job, but so does a bike and a bus. Toyota has turned into a marketing company, and as much as I like Honda, they've also started going in the same direction -boring, ove-engineered econoboxes that are an absolute bore to drive. Bring back the manual transmission, pop-up headlamps, mid engine layouts....bring back the soul!!

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Toyota aren't for everyone but if, like me, you don't really care about cars then they might be what you're looking for I.e. inexpensive, reliable etc.

Had a Toyota hatch for 10 years when I was in Sydney, never had a problem and saved heaps. Now if you love 'sexy' cars, spend every Saturday arvo washing/polishing /waxing etc, drive everyday and don't live in a big city then they're probably not for you.

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Toyota has turned into a marketing company, 

You do have a point. As far as the US, they dominate the ad space for everything to do with the NFL and fantasy football.

Now it's all crap.

I guess you're talking aesthetics here, not quality right?

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THAT's supposed to be a COROLLA ?

Sorry, I would walk right past it on the car lot. Any Corolla I would be interested in would NOT

be a "Hatchback"...forget it. A Corolla is a Sedan. Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, I was already

considering buying one but not THIS thing.

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if your targeting the younger driver, why do they have to associate it with the corolla? if you want to sell a sporty car or a new type of car why would you associate it with a car thats stigmatised with the older generation, its not going to be good for your "street cred" and what will happen to the older generation, will they now see the corolla as a yob car and move to another brand as THEY don't want to be associated with yobs is "That type of car"

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Corolla the sporty car that drives......slowly!

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Mirai Hayashi - ".. Now its all crap. Not a single car in their lineup is appealing..."

Do you mean across their whole lineup? Hybrids, SUVs, 4WD, People Movers, Compacts, Vans......? You'd be a hard person to please.

And I know what you mean re a "drivers car". Sure the modern experience of most new cars across brands, is more refined, soft, predictable and less exciting - but that's the way of the world. Who'd want to go back to jumping out of their lounge chair to adjust the volume, contrast or change the channel on their black and white 20inch tv. Or has modern smartphone tech taken away the joy and effort of trudging to a phone box to make that necessary call or the heart of writing a letter on paper, putting a stamp on the envelope, posting it and waiting eagerly for the reply weeks later? A shame - but no-ones going back.

The drivers cars are still there, but they're a more niche market than ever before, as most want tech = reliability, safety, comfort, ease of use and moderate performance is ok. I still occasionally get the chance to drive a big donk manual back in Oz (brothers holden) but I don't want or need it in my everyday life. Like most folks, I gather.

Happy Redline.

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Toyota aren't for everyone

But they are suppose to be for everyone, THAT'S their problem, and that's why they are so boring. Their sports cars (when they made sports cars) were fun and sexy in the mid to late 90's, but now they've made them comfortable and slow, because a lot of their customers wanted to "look" cool, but didn't care for the uncomfortable ride that comes with sports cars. So now you have an amalgamation of boring slow cars that try to look cool. And the coolest car that they have made in the last 20 years, the LFA took ten years to build and develop, and yet was not regularly available to anyone.

I guess you're talking aesthetics here, not quality right?

It depends on the model. Lexi's aren't too bad, though I'd argue that most of them are just BMW or Mercedes knock offs, albiet pretty good knock offs. But for the regular joe who can't afford to pay 6 million + yen for an overpriced Toyota, they have to buy the cheaper Corolla or Prius, which have about the same build quality and finish of a Tamiya plastic model.

Also, keep in mind that Toyota don't really create their own technology anymore. Most of it was acquired through buyouts or mergers with other companies. For example, most of their performance engines are made by Yamaha or Subaru which they had bought shares in. Toyota does not have their own Kei car division, so they bought shares in Daihatsu. And most of their body stylings are copies from other manufacturers (example the older Prius looks like Honda's Insight or CRX, Toyota Wish looks like the Honda Stream, and most of their crossover SUVs look like the Subaru Forester).

The drivers cars are still there, but they're a more niche market than ever before

Please give me an example of a drivers car that Toyota makes. And please please don't say the GT86, because its not. Its a luke warm attempt at a reboot of an old icon made to stimulate the nads of the Initial D fanboys. 200hp? In this day and age? That car would have been awesome in 1995, but in the days when the family wagon averages 250hps, its very anemic. I would have more enjoyment driving a Nissan Stagea Wagon with the detuned GTR engine.

Who'd want to go back to jumping out of their lounge chair to adjust the volume, contrast or change the channel on their black and white 20inch tv.

False equivalent. I would rather drive a fully analog 150hp 1986 Trueno AE86 than a 200hp fully digital but boring 2016 GT86 any day. If I wanted a fully digitized, computer governed, all looks but no fun car, I would just buy a PlayStation and save me a lot of money.

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If your targeting the younger driver, why do they have to associate it with the corolla? 

If you're targeting the younger driver, the driving experience matters, not the name. Build a car that you have actually drive, not just just sit in and press down on the gas and brake pedals. Although speed is good, its not essential. I have had plenty of fun in a Honda Beat, which only has 660ccs and barely makes 60hp, but the engine revved up to 11,000 rpms and felt like a cross between a go cart and a sports bike. That car wasn't fast. but it was tons of fun and looked really cool. You get more turned heads in that car than anything "sporty" that Toyota makes.

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Funded by Mom & Pop... sorry no!. Buy your own brand new car, and, watch its value drop by 1/2 over the next year or so.

For City dwellers - A better approach may be short term car sharing/rental which would be more suitable for those who are concerned over the environment.

I also thought that the Build your own car approach would be good - but, you need time, and well, unless you're a hobbyist it's really not that appealing - plus, where the heck are you going to get all the equipment that you need to put one together, and the space to do so within Tokyo or elsewhere in Japan...

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BTW. Using a phone (hands free or otherwise) is illegal in the UK, and presumably other Countries will follow suit - as holding a conversation with someone is a distraction from Driving. And as for Automation... that's nowhere near ready yet, in the recent case where a Woman pedestrian was killed by an self-driving car, the "Safety" driver was momentarily distracted by / "watching" a video on her Tablet computer...

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Mirai Hayashi - when I referred to niche market I didn't say Toyota. I was referring to the world brands.

And not a false equivalent at all. My simple intent was to convey the notion that the world is dynamic and change happens - for better or worse.

I alluded to the fact that I love to drive my brother's car (HG Holden V8 premier ) and if I had the coin, I might have a few cars of varying abilities. In fact I'd love to drive my old 1973 Chrysler valiant pacer 265 again - a down right mother of a car - but times change and I don't mind my current ride at all - Harrier 3.3. And I don't mind missing at all writing a letter by pen, putting it in an envelope, putting a stamp on it, posting it and waiting for yonks for the reply. Nothing false. Time changes.

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Not sure why so many dump on Toyota. The "boring" tag is as boring in itself as the claim.

People who are using the tag 'boring' are often reflecting their personal circumstances :)

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And I don't mind missing at all writing a letter by pen, putting it in an envelope, putting a stamp on it, posting it and waiting for yonks for the reply. 

Again, false equivalence. You are comparing apples to oranges. If you tell me that you don't miss having to shift gears, or strain myself trying to steer a car with no power steering...or even worse, go back to the days of the horse and carriage, well that's an argument that can be made. But your argument about TV remotes, snail mail, and writing with pens....that's not in the same class.

Speedy delivery of messages and using electronic writing utensils are a necessity in this day in age. We cannot go back to using the older methods otherwise it will adversely affect the way we do things. Whereas, not having a car that can park itself, or one that applies the brakes when there is an object in front of me, isn't something that is necessary (for most drivers at least -although if we keep dumbing down society with these stupid things, people won't know how to drive anymore)

Moreover, analog cars that you actually have to "drive" still exist and work, and hopefully they'll continue to exist and work in the future.

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Mirai- Thanks again.

And again nothing false as I was only pointing out how times change through technology - whether it be phones, PCs, apps, earthquake strengthened houses or cars...etc....etc.

If you took the time to read my post more sloely, you'd find nowhere the place where I'm extolling the virtues of modern cars. In fact I said on a number of occasions how much I like driving my older cars.

And I certainly never mentioned anything about extreme technologies like self parking - lol.

I grew up with cars & bikes - my first "fast" bike was a RD400. White knuckle handling, but brutal acceleration. Loved it. Graduated through many models, including a delicious 850 Guzzi and found great joy with an FJ100. Would I go back to serious riding on my older bikes. No. Loved them but times change and the new stuff is sublime - but you can't work on them.

And of course all this talk is highly subjective. One person's likes is another person's hate. I remember a guy telling me when I was touring on my Guzzi that it wasn't a real bike, coz real bikes have chains and slap. Never please everyone.

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You call these things "extreme technologies" but they're really not. They are quickly becoming the norm. Pretty soon, you won't to buy any car without these features installed because people won't know how to drive without them.

Remember when most of the cars on the road had manual transmissions and EVERYONE knew how to drive them? Look at where we are now. There are tons of people now who cannot drive manual -so much so, that in Japan, you practically need a special provision on your license to able drive a manual transmission car, which is ridiculous. You can thank Toyota for championing car made for dumb people. And now people often -way too often -mistake the accelerator or the brakes, so we have to put these stupid cameras and sensors on the cars to make sure that they don't run into walls or into people.

I don't think it would be too far fetched to say that pretty soon you'll need a special provision to drive any car that can't park itself or stop you from being an idiot driver.

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They might be boring to some of you but, but,

7 out of the top 10 cars, the most reliable of them all, according Consumer Reports (2017) are all Toyota. See the full list here

Toyota achieved 2nd placed for engine reliability per Warranty Direct via Telegraph UK

And they are after all the world's most valuable automotive brand for six consecutive years

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