Whatever their colleagues in powertrain were likely to achieve, Toyota’s chassis engineers were clearly never going to be the reason why this new Corolla missed its ambitions to force its way in among the more dynamically gifted cars in this class. You’ll tell that much pretty clearly having negotiated your very first proper corner in the car – and quite possibly having simply driven it off the dealer forecourt, judging by the basis of how harmoniously the component parts of its handling come together, and how intuitive and easy to drive it is as a result.
The Corolla Touring Sports has the kind of chassis that seems to create very creditable lateral grip and cornering balance, and a crispness of handling response and tidy closeness of body control, without working for it. You wouldn’t place it at the sportier end of the class’s dynamic spectrum on the basis of brawnier than average damping, firm and high-frequency springing or a notable refusal to roll – because it doesn’t have any of the above.
And yet it handles very impressively anyway, with steering that matches directness, weight and a bit of feel very skilfully; and a chassis that stays flatter than you imagine it might and grips and rotates underneath you in more agile fashion than you’re anticipating but also remains entirely predictable at all times and goes where it’s pointed very obediently.