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Old 11-27-2016, 01:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mini review of 2016 Corolla CVT (rental)

I had the opportunity to drive around a 2016 Corolla LE recently, as a rental provided by my employer while I was in the Canton/Cleveland OH area.






The rental was provided with 195/65r15 Michelin Defender tires on 15" steel rims, presumably filled somewhere around 35psi, though I didn't check.

The interior had cloth seats and soft-touch plastic and rubber on most surfaces, which were not unattractive or cheap-looking, but also rather generic.

Compared with my HCH1, the dash was very high and extended pretty far into the cabin, and the windows started at around shoulder-height for me, which I could see posing visibility problems for smaller people. There were also some healthy blind spots around the rear pillars. The seats are height-adjustable which helps with visibility, but I'm not a fan of the recent design language which uses small, high-placed windows.

The suspension was firm but did a nice job absorbing small bumps, and kept the car well planted and inspired confidence when taking on-ramps and corners quickly. A combination of firm seats and firm suspension leaves no room for illusion of riding in a luxury sedan, though.

The interior was very quiet so long as the engine was kept below 2000rpm. Above that it droned noisily.

The car was equipped with lane assist and adaptive cruise control.

-Adaptive cruise control is an interesting feature to me, but ultimately I see it as being more useful for people who drive faster than traffic. When it kicked in, it was generally when someone merged in front of me. The car would slow down and allow a little more space, then try to maintain that space up to the cruise control speed I set.

-Lane assist didn't seem to work very well despite clear roads. It supposedly helps with steering, but the most I ever felt was a slight twitch in the feedback of the steering wheel when I allowed the car to drift; it certainly didn't keep me in the lane. Mostly it just beeped urgently whenever lines on the road crossed strangely. I could see it maybe waking someone up who's falling asleep while driving, but more often it startled me with false alarms.

I wasn't a big fan of some aspects the CVT. I tested flooring it to merge into traffic, which resulted in it taking a few seconds for the engine to wind up, providing no power while it did, then it would begin to accelerate. My guess is that Toyota might have programmed it to prevent torque when the CVT is changing gearing rapidly to prolong the life of the transmission, but it's very unresponsive when compared with a traditional automatic or manual. Additionally, there were a couple of "shift points", where it would drop engine RPM despite holding a constant pedal position. This seemed to happen at roughly 10 and 40mph. I primarily accelerated at ~2000rpm and these shift points caused a need to hunt for that RPM several times when getting up to speed.

However, the gearing was nice. At 55mph I was able to cruise comfortably at 1500rpm, and I imagine it would stay under 2000rpm even at ~70mph.

~

Now, the part most of you care about: instrumentation and fuel economy:








The provided instrumentation was more than adequate. The console display could show a visual history of past trips, or of the fuel economy of the present trip. There was also a display on the cluster which was useful for current trip economy.

The weather hovered around freezing in the early mornings, warming up to 50-60F in the afternoons. The roads were mostly dry and traffic was not bad. In these conditions I found I was able to achieve ~35-40mpg driving in moderate city traffic (stoplights, stop signs, some idling in traffic). Highway economy cruising at 55mph would start at about 45 and, during longer drives, creep up toward 55-60mpg. My guess is that on a warm summer day with the A/C off and the tires aired up, greater than 60mpg averages at 55mph would be achievable.

The EPA rating of this car is 29 city / 37 highway / 32 combined. My driving was about 70% highway, 30% city, with a majority of trips being under 15 miles. My best highway trip (70 miles back to the airport) was around 55mpg, which is approximately 50% higher than the EPA rating. When I filled the tank before handing them the keys, my overall average was around 43mpg, which is ~35% higher than the EPA rating.

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Old 11-27-2016, 07:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is very cool trip MPG info, especially for a non-hybrid. Anyone know if the latest Prius lets you recall previous trips like that?

Quote:
-Lane assist didn't seem to work very well despite clear roads. It supposedly helps with steering, but the most I ever felt was a slight twitch in the feedback of the steering wheel when I allowed the car to drift; it certainly didn't keep me in the lane. Mostly it just beeped urgently whenever lines on the road crossed strangely. I could see it maybe waking someone up who's falling asleep while driving, but more often it startled me with false alarms.
That's all lane assist is supposed to do. Only higher end stuff like Teslas can keep within your lane.
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
That is very cool trip MPG info, especially for a non-hybrid. Anyone know if the latest Prius lets you recall previous trips like that?



That's all lane assist is supposed to do. Only higher end stuff like Teslas can keep within your lane.
Hondas system will keep you in lane, but will beep at you every 60 seconds if no feedback is felt from the user.

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