Supercharger makes sporting Corolla more useable, and expensive.

We always thought it was generous of Toyota to build an engine designed specifically for the Lotus Elise. Generous because although Toyota’s 1.8 VVTI four-cylinder screamer works beautifully in Lotus’s featherweight roadster, it has been a bit of flop in Toyota’s own cars.With a 860kg Elise to lug around, the lack of torque is not a problem and the hard-edged, rev-hungry nature suits the sports car down to the ground. But put to work in the Corolla, the need for constant high revs is frankly tiresome.So to make the Corolla T-Sport more useable, and also meet Euro4 regulations, Toyota has bolted on a supercharger. Maximum power is boosted to 215bhp (previously 189bhp), but more welcome is the extra 25lbft of torque and the engine’s transformed character.You’re still encouraged to work the snappy gearshift, but there’s now enough mid-range urge to add decent chunks of speed without subjecting your ears to an 8000rpm assault. Thankfully there’s little supercharger whine; instead, the usual metallic twin-cam tingle is enhanced by an appealing deep muscular hum.The downside is that the rev counter now reaches for the red line at a more leisurely pace. However, from experience we know these engines free-up significantly with more miles; our test car had only 700 on the odometer.With more power comes a revised chassis. The Corolla Compressor sits 15mm lower and wears stiffer springs than the standard T-Sport model. Throw it through a series of corners and it goes directly where you point it. The steering, although short on feel, is accurate and the handling competent, if lacking the ultimate driver engagement found in the best hot hatches.Given the standard Corolla’s bland shape, Toyota faced a tough job to conjure a more dynamic outline for the Compressor. With 17in multi-spoke alloys, a roof spoiler and twin exhausts the result lies somewhere between uninspiring and subtle.Sporting Corollas have often been overlooked, but given this last raft of changes perhaps things should change. More useable, quicker and more enjoyable to drive than before, the Corolla Compressor could well take a few rivals by surprise.But the sting comes when you glance at the price: £19,995 buys either a VW Golf GTi or Vauxhall Astra VXR, both of which are quicker and ultimately provide a greater sense of occasion.Jamie Corstorphine

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Jenavieve 24 April 2019

I remember the time I started

I remember the time I started working on the so that I could buy it. It was one of my most favorite car of all time.
Uncle Mellow 12 March 2012

Re: Hottest Corolla on a charge

I can't remember this model, and I don't remember reading this test in 05, and I wouldn't have missed a week in October. They did make some interesting Corollas ( was the one with the five-valve head officially imported ? ) but this model looked very stodgy, particularly in hatch format.

TegTypeR 12 March 2012

Re: Hottest Corolla on a charge

It's also quite good to revisit some of these cars as you can check the pricing out now, compared to then.

A clean one in 2012 is still circa £7,000 - not the bargain I thought it may be. However dull it may be perceived though, they are still bullet proof and still quite quick.

Forgotten hot hatch!