The Toyota Corolla is so profitable that even its limited-run particular editions quantity within the 1000’s. Toyota is producing a complete of 6000 of this new 2021 Corolla Apex mannequin for the USA, which is hardly uncommon, however nonetheless makes up a tiny sliver of the lots of of 1000’s Corollas which might be yearly produced.
Why name it Apex and never TRD just like the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD? In spite of everything, this Corolla is an analogous idea to these TRD sedans because the Apex package deal does not alter the engine or transmission however provides an aggressive physique equipment, a silly-looking rear spoiler, upgraded wheels and tires, and a retuned suspension. The rationale for the Apex identify lies within the historical past of the Corolla. Within the 1980s, the hallowed rear-wheel-drive AE86 mannequin from the 1980s—a drifting icon and principal character within the Preliminary D manga collection—featured an Apex package deal.
Simply 120 of the 6000 Apex fashions will likely be geared up with six-speed handbook transmissions, and sadly Toyota did not give us a type of to check. With the identical 169-hp 2.0-liter inline-four and constantly variable computerized (CVT) present in mainstream Corolla SEs and XSEs, the drivetrain says commuter automobile, not sports activities sedan.
The two.0-liter buzzes if you rev it towards the redline, however not less than the CVT does not dangle at a single rpm beneath acceleration. It is first gear is an actual, bodily factor. As soon as rolling, a clutch engages and directs the facility to the CVT, which has set ratios to present the impression of a transmission with gears. There are additionally paddle shifters on the steering wheel to seize these preset ratios. Acceleration, to nobody’s shock, is equivalent to the final 2020 Corolla XSE sedan we examined. The Apex does have totally different exhaust tuning; sadly you possibly can solely actually hear the snortier sound if you’re standing exterior the automobile. Behind the wheel, the auditory expertise is nearly the identical as another Corolla.
The Apex’s chassis upgrades do pay dividends on the check observe. Stiffer springs decrease the automobile by 0.6 inches, the anti-roll bars are beefed up, and the dampers are retuned. Grippier summer season tires can be found as a no-cost choice, and the Dunlop Sport Maxx 050 rubber helped the Apex pull 0.89 g’s on our skidpad, beating the Corolla XSE with all-seasons by 0.07 g. The tire improve additionally helped the Apex cease shorter from 70 mph. Its glorious 163-foot cease beats the common Corolla by 11 ft.
That suspension does actual a penalty. Impacts are harsh, and there is an unsettling quantity of bounce over enlargement joints and highway imperfections. Physique roll has been lowered, however the stiff suspension makes the Apex really feel unrefined and juvenile.
The Apex choice begins at $2385 with the handbook and $2695 with the automated and is on the market for SE and XSE fashions. That strikes us as expensive for a physique equipment, summer season tires, and a harsh suspension. Thankfully, a extra reliable efficiency Corolla is on its approach that ought to make us overlook all concerning the not-fully-baked Apex mannequin. Whereas the additional grip is sweet, the add-ons aren’t in concord with the wise nature of the remainder of the automobile. A rumored GR Corolla sizzling hatch with 257 horsepower would seemingly be a extra fascinating particular version than the Apex.
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