By on February 8, 2007

06corollaxrs03.jpgTo capture maximum market share, does a car company have to forget how to have fun? Toyota seems to think so. The Japanese manufacturer has spent the last ten years purging its product line of irrational exuberance. It scrubbed the Supra in 1998, canned the V6-and-a-stick Camry CE in 2002, and wasted the Celica and MR2 in 2005. In that same year, another anomaly slipped through the cracks, a car that’s still with us today (at least for a while): the Toyota Corolla XRS. 

The Corolla XRS is an econosport sedan in the Nissan’s Sentra SE-R mold. The XRS packs a 164-horsepower 1.8-liter four cylinder engine inherited from the Celica GT-S. Yup, them’s the numbers for the lone rebel carrying the torch for Toyota’s bygone high-output buzz boxes. Unfortunately, due to a low-profile debut and minimal marketing support, not even die hard pistonheads know that the frisky little XRS exists. The model dies as an ‘06. So, um, how should the XRS be remembered?

06corollaxrs10.jpgWell, if we’re talking about looks, it won’t be. Toyota put little effort into visually distinguishing the XRS from its visually undistinguished workaday brethren. The Toyota brand’s [remaining] go-faster guys fit the XRS with goofy side-sill extensions, some blacked-out trim and 16-inch alloys (that look very alone and scared in their wheel wells) with V-rated tires. Combined with the base Corolla’s awkward, pudgy proportions, the effect is about as aggressive as Danny DeVito in a Samurai mask.

Stepping into the XRS’ cabin provides solace from its gawky appearance, but not its mass-market roots. The Corolla’s driving position is optimized for shorter folks, with tall, upright seating, an oddly canted helm and pedals that nudge close to the driver. It’s a happy perch from which to schlep groceries, with all the ergonomic ease that made the Corolla so famous. Well, successful. But– surprise, surprise– the XRS’ cabin is a distinctly dull place from which to hoon.

06corollaxrs11.jpgOf course, Toyota’s trademark sobriety pays off elsewhere. The driver faces a subtle and uncluttered dash, with tighter panel fits and silkier switchgear than the XRS’ $17,880 sticker price suggests. Keen eyes will notice the XRS-specific sport seats, blue-flecked cloth trim and crisp electroluminescent gauges. But the clearest evidence of the XRS’ sporting intent sprouts from the center console: a mandatory six-speed manual shifter.

This glistening plastichrome beacon— and its quick, flinty shift action— offer an invitation to get the XRS boiling, to run its particularly peaky four from the 6200 rpm cam change to the 8200 rpm rev limited redline. Too bad the XRS’ conservative throttle mapping saps much of the mini-mill’s willingness to visit the penthouse. Working up to the lofty redline requires Zen-like patience to achieve the familiar “snap;” as the high lift cams do their fling thing. Celica GT-S pilots will be left scratching their heads: “Mr. Hyde? Is anyone home?”

06corollaxrs09.jpgSwitching into cockroach stomping mode doesn’t help matters much. Zero to sixty takes 7.6 seconds. Around town, the XRS’ thin low-end torque, harsh metallic engine note and finicky clutch engagement grate.

Of course, sport-compacts are typically better at switchback dissection than straight-line stomping. In this, the XRS is no exception. In addition to the aforementioned “plus one” wheels and tires, the XRS benefits from a stiffened and lowered suspension, a reinforced steering column and a Yahama strut-tower brace (that features prominently in the car’s marketing materials, should you be able to find them). The result turns in eagerly, grips reliably and keeps its body motions politely snubbed.

If these observations sound a bit sterile, that’s because the XRS doesn’t bond with its driver in the typical sport-compact fashion. Its steering is a bit heftier than a typical Corolla’s, but it retains the base model’s velvety, insulated feel, veiling the road from the driver’s palms. The tall, bluff-sided body squirms when asked to hold a straight-ahead path, while the high-chair seating exaggerates body lean in the turns. In short, the XRS’ dynamics fall in that bad place between insipid and inspired.

06corollaxrs05.jpgSo, if the XRS not as passionate as a Mazda 3 or Honda Civic Si, nor as effortlessly competent as a plebian Corolla, what is/was the point? Tough call, especially since this Toyota comes with some uncharacteristic annoyances: an infuriating beeper when you select reverse gear and a fixed rear seatback. I guess Toyota clocked the “failure” of the minimalist, hard-core Celica and MR2 Spyder and took aim at sport-compact buyers seeking comfort and refinement over haste. Both of them.

Toyota guessed wrong, and the XRS tanked. Now that the XRS has been axed, the big question is this: will they try again? Honda’s been doing extremely well with their hot Si’s, and Toyota’s making enough money to kick out the jams– even if they make another mistake. So yes, they will. Who knows? They might even enjoy doing it.  

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52 Comments on “Toyota Corolla XRS Review...”


  • avatar
    tsofting

    Yawn, Zzzz….

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Well I miss the days when Toyota sold the AE86 RWD Corolla (GT-S) with 4A-GE engine. Cheap to buy, legendary race spec engine in a road car with Toyota reliability (very high revving unit for those days – 1983), rwd, lsd diff, sharp handling, light weight, great suspension. This car was unmatched by european or other japanese offerings.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The dearth of cars in this segment annoys me, but it seems that (even Toyota) is serving the market. The introduction of the Yaris (short on power, room or utility, unless you’re a garden gnome) was merely an effort to offset the new Tundra’s thirst for the dino. Fun, efficient and utilitarian cars (hatchback please!) that even a 6+ footer can inhabit without weeping in pain are practically non-existant in the American gotta-have-an-SUV market. While the EU is driving the cars that Americans will be forced to drive when gas returns to $3.50+/gal, even the Japanese have succumbed to the ‘States desire for “big iron”. It’s lamentable, and any transition will be paid for by the brave souls who will fliit around in Yari in a sea of Peterbuilt-Poseur Rams, F350′s, and 2-ton SUV’s.

  • avatar

    Excellent review, PJ. The related Matrix XRS also died at the end of 2006.

    As for the AE86, that was my first experience with a 4-valve engine, redline around 7,600. I’ll never forget it. Then I took a friend to test drive one (this was back in 1985) and he just didn’t get it. Shifted at 3,500, couldn’t see why I was raving about the car.

    My site’s page on what remains of the Corolla line:

    http://www.truedelta.com/models/Corolla.php

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I wonder if someone will bring back the fun RWD small car. Toyota certainly has a lot of experience with the AE86 and Starlet.

    Scion xR?

  • avatar
    jaje

    Yamaha designed and built the 1.8 variable valve timed mill for Toyota to compete with Honda’s DOHC VTEC power houses. Toyota instead handicapped the motor for grandma’s approval.

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    You know, I kind of like Toyota’s and try to keep up with information on makers I have an interest in – and I had absolutely NO idea this car existed. Amazing. Hey, Toyota? Why even bother if you don’t use even a smidgen of marketing? No point. Which is probably why they’re dropping it.

    Besides, now that there is a law change brewing in Japan to “allow” Toyota to buy Subaru, Toyota can keep the whitebread and butter cars and granola (hybrids) while Subie provides the hot pepper chili and whole grain bread.

  • avatar
    ash78

    All I know from the commercials is that apparently Corollas are fawned over by anorexic Asian-American chicks and dorky redheaded gas station attendants.

    I hate that commercial with all my soul.

    Nice review!

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    i am a financially embarrassed pistonhead, so while i dream of caymans and stradales, SE-Rs, GTIs, Sis and the like are where i Focus. i had no idea this car existed. good grief.

  • avatar
    biturbo

    Toyota is run by accountants.
    That is good for their bottom line.
    But not for car enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    rheath2

    I just remember how irked I was when the Celica and the MR2 were put out to pasture. Personally, I’d never even consider the Corolla XRS, even though I’ve driven one (friend of mine let me borrow it to pick him up from an airport about an hour and a half away). The exterior design didn’t seem smooth at all, almost unwieldly. It killed any “boy racer” motiff the car tried to show.

    Why did Toyota have to kill off their coupes? The only coupe I can even think of that they make is the Camry Solara and well…ick.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    Toyota is where GM was in the early 70s. Their inevitable fall will be an enjoyable spectacle.

  • avatar

    I agree with biturbo wholeheartedly. Just look at their current lineup. The sportiest thing they sell is a Solara….nice(ugly) car, but not a sporting bone in its body. That’s it. Since the Supra left, they haven’t built a decent sporty car. The MR2 Spyder and Celica were decent, but they were still boring as hell when it came to the competition. I highly doubt Toyota will ever sell anything remotely interesting as sports cars go ever again because of their reliance on the automatic transmission and lackluster styling(see Lexus IS-F).

  • avatar
    Joe O

    This is an example of a car that didn’t really die…it was never really born. A half-assed attempt by a market leader to build a car with some sporting intentions; the only result was a car that suited no one’s needs and fueled nobody’s desires.

    This platform was capable of more, and may have been a minor star in the solar system of the sport compact market…but it wasn’t far enough off the base format. For cred, it needed a lower stance, more stiffly sprung suspension, some revised brake hardware, a new steering system (perhaps a modified version of the celica GTS?), and the engine needed to be revised.

    That engine has been around for several years and, even forgoing the SAE down-rating of such engines, it makes prohibitively little power for today’s market. The engine was capable of at least 190-200hp while still meeting emissions/NVH requirements.

    Alas, much like many of GMs products have flopped due to poor commitment to design follow-through…so too has toyota’s folly.

    Joe

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Toyota is where GM was in the early 70s. Their inevitable fall will be an enjoyable spectacle.

    Don’t count on it!

  • avatar
    GlennS

    Yea, I’d agree: Toyota seems to be a GM wannabe.
    Not sure why, really. So they can meet the same fate?

    But as others allude to, the company shows little passion.
    (Perhaps biturbo is right: Blame the accountants.)

    Then there’s Honda.

    Bloomburg:
    “Honda has a sustainable competitive advantage because its engineers are excited and interested in what they do,” says Norihito Kanai, an analyst at Tokyo-based Meiji Dresdner Asset Management Co., which manages $2.5 billion in equities.

    Regarding Toyota:
    Conservative vs. Crazy
    Honda and Toyota need each other, even as they’re grinding competitors into the dust, says James Womack, president of the Lean Enterprise Institute research group in Brookline, Massachusetts.

    “Without Honda, Toyota would be too conservative, and without Toyota, Honda would be too crazy,” he says.

    Can you imagine an even more conservative Toyota? (Yawn.)

    However, I wonder what Europeans want to drive?

    This year, the company [Honda] will capture 1.5 percent of Western European sales…Toyota will claim 5.5 percent of West European sales.

    After three decades of trying, Honda still hasn’t delivered the style and handling that European drivers demand, says John Wormald, a Chichester, England-based analyst at consulting firm Autopolis.

    “The idea of putting styling and marketing on an equal footing with engineering hasn’t quite gotten through at Honda,” he says.”

    I don’t know: To me, Honda is beginning to get it with styling.

    But back to Toyota:
    The sportiest thing they sell is a Solara…
    The Cory: I seem to recall reading that Toyota is getting out of the coupe business (except at Lexus I guess) because they found women were their primary coupe buyers and Toyota found women were moving to CUV/SUVs as they became family-oriented (older).

    Little wonder with the Solara being the only Toyota coupe.
    (Honda snags lots of young men with their Si coupe, and the Accord coupe appeals to some of us older gents. Soon the redesigned ’08 Accord coupe will be out, which looks like it may be a lot more sporty than the current ’07 Accord coupe.)

    Toyota on the other hand just seems so, well, mainstream. Not that it’s bad to be so, but it makes for lots of whitebread.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    I just finished a week with a base-level Corolla rental. Nice car, altho my low-mileage example already had numerous interior trim rattles. And what’s up with this Italo-drive position in small Japanese cars? The steering wheel is mounted too low and too close to the dash, and the pedals are oddly close to the seat. To drive the thing, my knees were up around the steering wheel; it reminded me of a go-cart or a Fiat.

  • avatar
    Dream 50

    Glenn A said:

    Besides, now that there is a law change brewing in Japan to “allow” Toyota to buy Subaru…

    Where did you get this information? Doesn’t 92% of Subaru belong to Fuji Heavy Industries? Is Fuji Heavy keen to sell, or is the Toyota Leviathan going to swallow Fuji whole? I’m not saying you are wrong, but news like this is very interesting for me and would like to know more.

    Keith

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    oboylepr:

    Toyota is where GM was in the early 70s. Their inevitable fall will be an enjoyable spectacle.

    Don’t count on it!

    The key ingredient is arrogance, and right now Toyota has it in spades.

  • avatar

    jazbo123: Sorry, but I don't see any evidence of arrogance over at Toyota. Their PR people are friendly and open-minded. The company admits its mistakes (e.g. recall issues) and works to rectify them. Toyota also works closely with their dealers for new product launches (e.g. lots of hands-on training for the new Tundra for all members of their dealer teams) and liases closely with customers before, during and after new product launches. In fact, talk to ToMoCo's execs and you'd think they were about to go out of business. There's more of a sense of "urgency" at Toyota than ANY of The Big 2.5.

  • avatar
    GlennS

    In fact, talk to ToMoCo’s execs and you’d think they were about to go out of business. There’s more of a sense of “urgency” at Toyota than ANY of The Big 2.5.

    Toyota does look over its corporate shoulder…

    Bloomburg:
    The two companies [Honda & Toyota] watch each other constantly. “In just about every meeting I’ve been in, whether it’s manufacturing or purchasing or human relations, Honda is always on our minds,” says Terry Henderson, assistant general manager of a Toyota foundry in Troy, Missouri.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    The difference between GM in the 70′s and Toyota today: Umm…quality? Remember the Vega?

  • avatar
    NoneMoreBlack

    I wonder if someone will bring back the fun RWD small car.

    Coming to america

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    jazbo123:

    Sorry, but I don’t see any evidence of arrogance over at Toyota.

    Their PR people are friendly and open-minded. The company admits its mistakes (e.g. recall issues) and works to rectify them.

    Toyota also works closely with their dealers for new product launches (e.g. lots of hands-on training for the new Tundra for all members of their dealer teams) and liases closely with customers before, during and after new product launches.

    In fact, talk to ToMoCo’s execs and you’d think they were about to go out of business. There’s more of a sense of “urgency” at Toyota than ANY of The Big 2.5.

    RF,

    I get the impression that recalls are a new phenomenon for Toyota. They were previously called TSBs and such. If they weren’t safety related the NTSB didn’t necessarily get involved.

    There may be reasons that they (Toyota) are more accessible to TTAC than some other OEMs. I do see arrogance in their marketing, but don’t deal with them personally.

  • avatar
    webebob

    Toyota lost irrational exuberance?

    The whole FJ Cruiser thing is a poke at good ol Mr. Wilson er, Toyota.

    FJ not fun enuff? Toyota sponsored an FJ Cruiser in the November Baja 1000, and simultaneously produced a run of ONLY 3200 exact lookalikes for us mere mortals. (Poseur yes, except for the Bilstein shocks and suspension redo included that made all the bad things said about stock FJ’s go away) When did GM ever do anything in less than 25k runs?

    And if you’ve not seen the new Tundra commercials, (drag race through a closing gate and stop jit hanging over a cliff, or climb a see-saw towing 10K pounds, then I don’t know what other kind of fun with a vehicle to have.

    oops, my bad, How about Toyota’s expected entries in NASCAR this year?

    Tokyo drifting may never be Toyota’s thing, but a few buttons are still unfastened on their suit vest.

  • avatar

    Why are Toyota’s turning into inoffensive white bread?

    Scion.

    And I believe that one of the most common threads in our opinion sections is on the importance of a car line standing for something, and not muddying the rest of the manufacturer’s line. That also goes for performance.

  • avatar
    xpu416f

    The Scion tC is a three door hatchback if anyone’s looking for a hatchback-coupe. It looks more like a coupe than hatch. It’s not perfect but I think it’s a good deal for the $18,000 mine cost.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    webebob, fun is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Or seat of the beholder’s pants, or something.

    Personally, there’s nothing I’d call fun about the FJ Cruiser. It’s slowish, squishy, and sloppy to drive, like most any off-road-oriented vehicle. But then, I’m an autocross sort of guy. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that Toyota is doing “truck fun” pretty well these days.

  • avatar
    murphysamber

    NoneMoreBlack:
    February 8th, 2007 at 1:05 pm
    I wonder if someone will bring back the fun RWD small car.

    Coming to america

    Yeah, and that’s awesome, but I don’t have $30k to drop on a hatch, nomatter how hot the sucker is. And living in the snowbelt, I’d rather get a Quattro A3 if I’m going spring for something that expensive.

    Hell, i’d rather get the R32 in July even more. But isn’t an MX-5 good enough?

  • avatar
    GlennS

    xpu416f: Good point on the tC. (Forgot about Scion.)
    It’s a pretty close competitor to my ’06 Civic coupe (MT).
    Both sell for around $17-$18K-ish, and are fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Having Fun, that’s what you do with all of the money you make selling millions of vehicles. You don’t worry about making vehicles that are fun to drive, not if you want to make a lot of money. You make vehicles that are inexpensive, reliable and are economical to operate. Then you can take your bonus, stock options and salary increase and buy a Porsche, then you can have fun.

  • avatar
    kken71

    SherbornSean, you too remember the Starlet. My buddy had one in high school. What a strange car. Rear wheel drive and a five speed manual in a ~1980 car the size of a beer can. Although the back seat was tight for my 6’2″ frame, the front seat backs were so flimsy that I could make knee room at the expense of the rib cage of the lucky (relatively speaking) person who called shotgun.

  • avatar
    GlennS

    …don’t worry about making vehicles that are fun to drive, not if you want to make a lot of money. You make vehicles that are inexpensive, reliable and are economical to operate.

    Can’t you have have both in one car?

    Honda Civic chassis:
    Honda has a legendary reputation for making its vehicles fun-to-drive with precise steering and responsive suspension tuning with refined road manners. Precise and sharp handling performance also contributes to accident avoidance maneuverability – one of the key reasons Honda pays so much attention to handling performance.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Toyota is run by accountants.
    That is good for their bottom line.
    But not for car enthusiasts.

    Wait, you mean just like GM is run by bean counters and accountants? To correct you, Toyota is run by both engineers and accountants.

    Indeed not good for car enthusiasts, but the difference now is that Toyota management has recognized that they need to focus more on performance and styling, which means bad news for competitors.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    The key ingredient is arrogance, and right now Toyota has it in spades.

    Thinking that Toyota has “arrogance in spades” is in itself arrogant thinking.

    Virtually every problem Toyota has right now, management is well aware of. More importantly, management is taking quick action to solve these problems. Toyota’s corporate culture encourages people to expose problems within the company.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’m curious to see how much younger they’ve driven their average buyer age. Last time I checked, about 5 years ago, they had the oldest average buyer of any brand (53 or 58?)

    That was before Scion, and before the aggressive Lexus redesigns.

  • avatar
    kablamo

    Toyota is arrogant?

    The problem with claims of Toyota being ignorant is that they are not accompanied by comparisons to GM, Ford or, especially as of late, Chrysler. Despite all their bragging about this turnaround being the right one, they’re passing off vehicles like the HHR, Fusion and Caliber as hits.

    Toyota has also never had Maximum Bob Lutz as an executive; with an alias like that, there’s no mistaking him for a humble-kinda-guy.

    Johnson is right, calling Toyota arrogant is hypocritical.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    I can’t see why Toyota would kneecap the XRS out of 16hp (didn’t the Celica GTS have 180hp? or is that because of the new measuring system?). Either way, it seems like a slightly interesting car that might just pick up an obscure cult following in 20 or 30 years.

  • avatar
    chanman

    Don’t we lambaste other auto companies for not staying on-target? For Porsche moving out of sports cars and into SUVs? Killing off its sporty vehicles (including the soon-to be deceased XRS after this year according to the article), looks like nothing more than refocusing on their core audience.

  • avatar

    willbodine!

    Corolla “nice car”?
    This is what I remember from 3 days in a rental Corolla with 2k miles last August:
    The engine sound like a sawing machine, especially when you go up hill with the tanny get really confused in which gear to choose, the up in the sky 4th or the screaming high rev 3rd or 2nd.
    The hwy ride reminded me of my old Grand Marquis, trying hard to take a wild guess where the front wheels are.
    The horn sounded half dead whenever I locked the car with the key fob.
    The sound system was so bad, like in a cheap car from the 80s!
    I still don’t get it, why so many people buy this car? reliability? there are so many other good cars.
    Looks?? I just feel sorry for whoever get this car for that reason!

  • avatar

    My Si and I are laughing at the Corolla XRS. Please bring back the Celica or the MR-2, I couldn’t be more bored by Toyota’s recent departure into Truckland.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Maybe I’m looking in the all the wrong places but if the big Detroit 2.5 would advertise small improvements like the imports do:

    Maybe they would begin to shrung off their low-tech, out of date, out of touch reputation with people like me…

    I own several VWs and a CR-V (total of about 5 Hondas) and choose them because they have good quality and seem to try hard at what they do. While VW doesn’t have the as good as reputation as Honda and Toyota I’ll argue that my VWs have only failed where neglected by previous owners. My current Cabrio has required 1 car payment to “get it right” and just keeps on going and getting 30+ mpg.

    VW had a great advertising program in the 60′s and early 70′s that told the consumer what the tiny Beetle and later the Rabbit could do. They bragged about the tiny improvements they made very year and for the time, and for the price the car was a good ride. There were better but few offered the simplicity and the price.

    Toyota and Honda build good products and seem to constantly make little improvements. If Detroit does the same thing I haven’t noticed. All I notice are dumb decisions like adding another SUV to the lineup, killing off or resurecting another name plate, or hanging a new name on a minivan that already shares the same everything with 5 other divisions.

    Chris

  • avatar
    Jonesy

    The XRS died because of the 6200rpm cam change over point. By the time it made some power, you had to switch gears. The only way to drive it was as if you just stole it or you were mad at the car. If the cam changeover was at 4,000 rpm like a VTEC, it would have been a lot more fun to drive.

  • avatar
    powerglide

    The 164-hp quote may indeed be down to more conservative measuring.

    When the Pontiac Vibe GT (Matrix, reloaded) debuted (MY 2003) with the same motor it was billed as 180 hp. Even said Yamaha engine on the window sticker.

    (This is the same motor, tranny Lotus uses in the US Elise, no ?)

    In ’04 the Vibe sticker billed output as 175. (About then Ford (Mustang Cobra) and Nissan (Sentra SE-R?) were troubled with cars that wouldn’t match claims.)

    By the way, the irritating beeper in reverse is there cos reverse is slotted in next to first. This prevents any American Graffiti-style accidental backwards drag-racing if you grab the wrong cog in excitement.

    The new Corolla’s out soon, hold off and lesse what they pull it with.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The demise of the Corolla XRS isn’t that hard to figure out. The answer is ‘cannibalization’, as in sales of the cheaper (but similiar looking) Corolla ‘S’.

    Where the regular Corolla was like plain tomato paste, the ‘S’ was ‘chunky style’ tomato paste, and the XRS was mild salsa, no one wanted to pay the price for mild salsa when they could get chunky-style tomato paste a lot cheaper. The 164hp engine and 6-speed just wasn’t worth an extra $2500 to the Corolla market.

  • avatar
    niky

    RE: Sentra SE-R… the HP problems came from the very beginning. Nissan was hoping for 185, but they had to revise the figures after cars equipped with all the accessories and emissions requirements turned out to put much less to the ground.

    RE: XRS… I’ve known of this car for quite a while, but have never quite been excited by the prospect. Contrary to what Joe O says, I’ve never believed in the potential of this platform… handicapped by a steering rack, chassis and suspension that have been outdated for at least the past four years, it just doesn’t have the “meat” to make an engaging sports model.

    There are some cars, like the EK Civic, the Protege, the Mazda3 or the Focus wherein you can feel the potential even in the humblest of models. You think to yourself how much better they’d be with just a little more power, just a little more rubber and just a little more suspension stiffness.

    I’ve never thought that about any current Corolla I’ve driven. Granted, they did a fair bit to get the XRS here, but it’s one of those times where you’d actually get more out of it if you spent that money and development time on another car. Heck, the previous model (the one that spawned one of Toyota’s last rally cars), despite being pure vanilla, had more potential.

    Come to think of it… I’ve never been too impressed by the new Civic, either (except in the engine department), but at least Honda has a few more options open to it than Toyota does, and products like the Si show how this can be done… thank goodness, at least, that this Civic is so much better than the EP.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    Current automotive trends (heavier cars) have bumped into the laws of physics. The result hurts the “hot hatch” models.

    Consider all categories of cars have gotten much heavier. “Small” cars have gone from ~2000 lb to ~3000 lb (look at Golf GTI). So you have lots more mass to motivate.

    Has engine technology kept up? Yes and No. The Japanese 4 bangers have added Hp, using more and more complex technology (4 valve / cyl, varialbe intake runners, variable valve timing, higher revs). But torque has not kept up.

    Problem is you can only make a 4 cyl power plant so big before you have vibration problems (without counter balance shafts). And where technology can add lots more hp per displacement, torque per displacement has not kept up. Bottom line is that many of these cars don’t have the low end many people want.

    There are several approaches to this problem. Japanese have given us high Hp motors without the bottom end. VW has thrown in the towel and uses supercharging or 6 cylinder.

    Ironically the heavier vehicles (SUV’s and trucks) don’t have as much of a problem. They can use 6 liter V8′s – twice the weight with 3 times the displacement equals launch off the line.

  • avatar
    niky

    Well, it’s possible that we’ve finally peaked in the “weight wars” as pedestrian protection starts to factor in more… you can only make a car just so stiff and heavy before it becomes a danger to others (insert snappy anti-SUV comment here)…

    About large four-bangers… balancer shafts are one answer to that problem, but I think there’s a way forward in VW’s narrow angle Vee and GM’s upcoming transverse inline six (starting at 2.0, in the new Epica).

    But the problem of poor torque versus high weight will still remain for a while… at least until turbocharging becomes more common.

  • avatar
    BMan1113VR

    Another thing to keep in mind: the 2ZZ-GE (the 1.8 from the XRSs, GT-S, and Elise/Exige) will not pass the upcoming (2009?) emissions laws.

  • avatar
    fahrvergnugen11

    thx_zetec:
    VW has thrown in the towel and uses supercharging or 6 cylinder.

    The only supercharged engines VW has in their current lineup is the European-market Twincharger (supercharger & turbocharged) engines.

    The U.S. market has the turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0T four cylinder, as well as the normally-aspirated i-5, VR6, & V8 engines.

  • avatar
    Nigel Wilson

    Being a big fan of the corolla since i’ve owned a 1990 geo prizm gsi(toyota corolla)with over 200000 miles a 2001 chevy prizm (corolla b/f vibe) and now a 2005 corolla le i wish they did have a 2 door car in america like the corolla compressor that is being sold in canada. a 1.8l supercharged corolla! with 2 doors! basically a celica gts supercharged. would have bought one to show my friends mkIV gti that toyota does have a competitor. i also owned a scion xa rs 1.0 2 years ago and wrecked it. glad i did. its 1.5 engine is no where near the quality and potential of the 1.8. it started tapping 2 months after buying it. i think something is in the wing, being the new corollas delayed arrival to the us and i’ve been hearing about a new supra. honestly id rather see the smaller sports cars but hey the supra is what started it all back in 1979 so maybe it can bring some life back. to anyone out there looking to buy a scion the tc is the only one with a decent engine (can’t go wrong with the camry engines) has anyone here ever put a car in reverse at 60 mph?? i was driving down the highway and my ex did that to my 1990 prizm. guess what it survived!!

  • avatar
    crystallynn12

    I was originally looking for a Corolla S, which most of us know, everyone owns. One day I saw an XRS drive by me. I had to find out what it was, so I looked it up online.I have been looking for an XRS for about a year and a half. I finally found one! I love my car! She’s fast(usually speeding in 2nd) and handles like a dream! The best thing about the car , no one knows what it is. You get weird looks when you drop gears and take off! There will be a new model coming out in 2009! This one says XRS in the grill. I’ll be buying that one right off the lot!


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