Over the course of a week, this Toyota Corolla Apex really grew on me. I liked it more & more the longer I lived with it. The Corolla Apex feels very doable as a runaround daily/economical type of vehicle. And while its 169hp is not fast, I think people who enjoy driving, would enjoy owning this for the daily grind.
A lot of that has to do with the Toyota Apex aesthetics.
First off – the color… wow ok! Second – the black roof. Third – the ground effects package… with cleeeean original bronze accenting! Plus the subtle black spoiler & mirrors. Fourth – the 1/2” lower ride height, better shocks, chassis bracing, AND lighter 18” wheels. Fifth – the horizontal-striped seats… which feel pretty darn good & supportive by the way. Sixth – a pretty nice little exhaust note. In Apex trim, the Corolla is an out-of-the-box head turner. And it continuously caught the eye of people who don’t have an eye for cars. That surprised me honestly, that it was that striking to people. Because to clarify here – we’re not talking about a higher-end luxury vehicle, or even a performance/flagship model like the GR. This is ‘just a Corolla’.
And when you combine the Apex package with the fact that this Corolla seemed to easily average 40mpg…
That’s where it really gets its hooks in ya. Gas is expensive now. And it seems that the somewhat forced ‘modern solution’ is an over-engineered $60,000+ EV. For a lot of people, and for a lot of reasons… that’s no solution. But this Corolla Apex just makes sense. And it’s sensible while having a refreshing personality/presence to it! So many new vehicles are sooooooo generic & indistinguishable these days, that the Corolla Apex honestly caught me off-guard. It’s sharp! Like back in the 90s when Japan designed good-looking small cars that lit you up a little bit. Before… whatever the hell it was that happened… happened lol.
The Corolla Apex rides a little stiff…
With the Apex’s lower ride height, strut/chassis bracing, sport shocks, and larger diameter wheels… that’s what it was made to do. And personally, I’m good with it. The Corolla Apex feels light, direct, and yes… firm. I could see where some people cross-shopping crossovers wouldn’t vibe with that. To each their own, but I like to feel what the car is doing when I drive it. And with most modern cars feeling very numb these days, the Corolla Apex surprisingly breaks that mold.
The only part of this Corolla I personally don’t love is the CVT transmission. Of all the things getting canceled these days, may I propose CVTs. I mean look – if you want your car to sound like a leaf-blower… have at it. I know the manual transmission is obsolete for the masses these days. But please God, there’s got to be a better way than a CVT. At the end of the day though, not even a CVT could overshadow what was good in the Corolla Apex.
Cargo space & Interior room…
I did the math on the outside, and I did the math on the inside……. and somehow this Corolla seems bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. The rear seat legroom seems more like a Camry than a Corolla. And the trunk… it’s deeper than expected with plenty of space. Honestly, I can’t figure out how they did it?!
Review of the Toyota GR86 🙂 ...with an automatic though 🙁