Auto Nsider Review: Toyota Corolla iM

Looking for economy and utility….on a budget?

 

Shhhhh…..we won’t tell.

 

And neither will Toyota’s iM tell….about that budget part.

 

At least it won’t yell it out real loud.

 

Unlike the “plastic-y” monotone interiors on so many economy cars, Toyota gives you soft-touch door panels, 17’ alloys, an aero-kit, and just enough design on their seats that most folks will think that you got some kind of an upgrade.

 

But no….all that is standard on Toyota’s iM 5-door hatch….plus 28 city and 36 Hwy MPG’s.    All for a $20,589 list.    Not bad.

 

And unlike so many higher-end vehicles, that’s pretty much where it ends.   No ten thousand dollar packages or upgrades.  Your Toyota “Safety Sense” is standard,,,,with lane departure alerts, pre-collision warnings, Dynamic radar control and pedestrian detection.    Also standard are auto high beams, your backup cam, and tire pressure monitor.

 

A leather-covered steering wheel is part of the deal, but that’s just about all the leather that you’ll see.   No heated and cooled seats or moonroof, either.
But you will get a rather attractive and breathable two-tone fabric that looks like it may well outlast today’s leather by a few years.

 

And again…..you’re looking at a roughly 20K window sticker, and a somewhat sporty-looking exterior.    You need more?      Pay more and get another vehicle.

 

Somewhat in the style of Mazda’s successful 3 Series hatch, Toyota’s iM is about 5 inches shorter and a scootch more narrow than Mazda’s 3.   That’ll still leave room for two to go cross-country with everything they need for a couple of weeks….or a family of three or four to head out for a weekend.

 

A 1.8 liter, 137 HP four cylinder is standard….as is a six-speed manual.   A CVT auto is only $740 more.    The CVT has a bit of “shifting” feel….more than most CVT’s, in fact, and also has a “Sport” setting, which’ll keep the engine revved-up, and cut your mileage a bit.   We easily got low 30’s in our usual mixed-conditions commute in “Normal”, and high 20’s in Sport.

 

While seemingly designed for those 20 and 30-somethings, Toyota’s Corolla iM 5-door hatch will likely appeal to a bit wider range of folks….including singles of all ages and empty-nesters.    After all, fashion, versatility and value always has wide appeal.

 

In short, Toyota’s Corolla iM seems to be more than “good enough”….with styling more than good enough to be confused with a bit more expensive vehicle, economy more than good enough to make one question the need for a hybrid, and just enough power to not make you regret not getting something faster.

 

Selling at the same price as a well-equipped 4-door Corolla, I’m surprised that Toyota doesn’t sell more of these.

dscn0089 Auto Nsider Review: Toyota Corolla iM

(Bob Jackson – CBS Local)

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