DISCLAIMER: The contents of this post are purely my personal feedback and based entirely on personal experience of ownership of the variant/model. These observations are intended to help or enable readers arrive at a conclusion for making informed decision. It should not be in any way a reason for post purchase dissonance.
Life is too short even if you die after 65 years of age. A lot is left to be desired for.
In my previous posts, I've briefly described how I arrived at the decision of purchasing a 2015 1.3L Corolla GLi Super ECT. It wasn't just a random brain wave despite my impulsive nature. However, for the benefit of everyone else, let me recapitulate.
When I started gathering information on the resale value of my ex-ride, a base variant 2011 Honda Civic i-VTEC, I started getting nervous over the rate of depreciation. My concern was that in the event of an upgrade and the meager savings that were evaporative in nature with no rumors/news of Honda Atlas launching the 10th Gen Civic somewhere in September/October of 2016, ever increasing taxes, shrinking pockets and growing population with no regard for family planning (I don't believe in it by the way). So I thought of getting a brand new car (A big no to used ones: Sorry, i'm a case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - OCD) which would not cost me to sell my soul to the devil and fetch me instantly good resale whenever intended. At that time the faintest rumor was a Civic launch somewhere in 2017.
The options within a comfortable budget were a GLi M/T, GLi A/T and a 1.6 Altis. I had had enough buggering of my left foot/leg and hand/wrist driving manual so even a manual fighter jet was out question. The 1.6 Altis in my opinion offered nothing to write home about for the price difference. Again, the kind of enthusiasts (geeks) that we are, bringing about small cosmetic or performance changes in a limited budget is our lifeline. This is how we remain connected with our rides. I wish I were the type who just didn't give a damn to chrome front grills, ultra high performance tyres, alloy wheels specifications (Off-Set, Weight, PCD), incremental BHP values, HUD and what not. We become enemies of our own selves in terms of peace of mind and the ability to cherish and enjoy what we have.
But, I still stand by my decision. I would have suffered (Allah forbid) a stroke (Though not a very good swimmer but I just love the word breast stroke) had I bought a 1.6 Altis in this case because the turn off I experienced was not the engine displacement (alone). I also, firmly stand by what I've reviewed and proffered in my previous posts about the car itself. But there are some things which come with age and experience (to which there could be no short cut at all).
So what went wrong? That is something I have asked myself more than any number of queries on this forum. I wanted to come candidly honest before PakWheels after having arriving at the core issue and not just bash about how under powered the car is, lack of features and blah blah blah. Those are the things you guys know much better than me.
So here's the deal: (1) Was it because the vehicle is under powered: No. (2) Lack of Features like Airbags, Immobilizer, Keyless Entry ec: No Sir, IMC (Indus Motor Company) rocks. (3) Was it the Shape: Again No (I like it). (4) Was it high on wheels: Umm, Visually, I could live with that unhappily ever after. (5) Was it Post Purchase Dissonance for not having bought a 1.6 Altis while I could: Hell No, I’ve already said it’s not about being under powered (Stepping down from 1.8L R18, I exactly knew what I was doing and what to expect or not). So what the hell was it then? Fouad Sahib????
Despite being in its rock-solid 11[SUP]th[/SUP] Generation and going strong in sales worldwide, from where the hell Mr. Me pop out and start giving his not-so-expert reviews. The car seriously lacks in the most basic aspect of any car and that is its “handling characteristic”. This Corolla (1.8L), “could have been a very nice car and put 9[SUP]th[/SUP] Gen Honda Civic to shame (yes, I said it) in driving performance had Indus Motor Company not screwed up big time”.
So what’s the big deal about handling? Obnoxious gap between tyre side wall and the wheel arch amplifying the rake of the car. Over a period of time C-segment average cars getting higher in ground clearance for better under vehicle air flow that should theoretically interpret into good fuel economy but at the cost of a a much needed road grip. Take the example of Honda Civic 6th Gen followed by 7th, 8th and then 9th Gen. Internationally, that increase is incremental. Much effort is put into the increase in wheel base, width of a car and enhanced aerodynamics (CAD and wind tunnel tests) which exudes that lovely A-line / Beltline and pay richer dividends translating into an overall a better car in every way while remaining in that specific segment/class.
But in this case I could stick my upper head into that gap (Okay, I guess it’s a little too much, Kuch Zyada Lambi Chor Di). But honestly, why would IMC tamper with the basic design of a vehicle converting it into a possible flaw. With that horrendous gap the car is downright unstable with minimum road grip specially while driving on motorways at 100+ KM/Hr and cross winds slapping the car perpendicularly. Now, in the same scenario imagine you gradually turning also on bends, it’s a swinger party. Suicidal. You know, suicide also comes at a cost and you really need to read reviews on how to kill yourself. A .30 bore pistol is much preferred over a butter knife. But, hey, IMC just loves you and made your job of committing suicide much easier. Eurostars! That’s right. The Ultra High Extreme Ultimate Performance tyres made out of recycled busted Panther Tyres and Medicam tooth paste tubes. Put in those large wheel wells coupled with the already high chassis is a .30 bore pistol TT to your head.
Shan’s next block buster movie “WAAR 2” debuting soon shows him lying flat on the road while this bad guy tries to run him over in a shiny new 11[SUP]th[/SUP] Gen Corolla but all in vain as every time he tried to pass over, Shan readjusts and easily the Corolla passes over him without a scratch. In the end, the bad guy hits the brakes and yells out (with that evil smile): “Just stay there, let me bring an 8[SUP]th[/SUP] Gen Civic Reborn” or “Thehr teri tu……abi laya Reborn phir dekh”.
Okay that was a lame joke which many of you might not have enjoyed (damn well right that’s your problem). But recently, Clint Eastwood ordered three Corolla XLi from Indus Motor Company (IMC) Pakistan for his upcoming Hollywood Blockbusters “Simply Lame” and “Simply Shame”. Guess what, he booked them for regular delivery when he heard the prices of premium and WHT being non-filer.
Gentlemen, the gap is as bad while driving as it looks to the eye. Unstable, less than average road bite/grip and to make matters worse, those Eurostars.
Next up is the most dangerous EPS I have ever experienced. You feel as if you’re driving a hover boat with the controls on a Q-Mobile Tab. Go ahead imagine it, there’s no tax on that. It requires constant correction while driving even in almost straight lines. Before disagreeing, critically observe while driving next time. There is absolutely zero road feedback. Everything seems so numb and dead. Seriously? Is that how enthusiasts like their cars? Compared directly to its arch rival, the 9[SUP]th[/SUP] Gen Civic has got a much better EPS.
The brake pedal seems to be attached directly to the brake disc. Everytime I hit the brakes, there is this grinding feel transmitted from the pedal to my foot while the car is decelerating. This could be temporary or may get rectified later, but c’mon IMC, what the Eff. In rain, you have to decelerate from 80 KMPH to 50 KMPH due to dangerous road grip, instability. Make it 30 KMPH if you are negotiating tighter turns.
I wanted a car that would give me some driving fun, some adrenaline rush, some goose bumps. I needed road feedback with the ability to do some nice cornering and braking. No don’t tell me to go buy an Audi or a Ferrari. Most of us weren’t born with a silver spoon in the mouth or somewhere else. My 8[SUP]th[/SUP] Gen Civic was purely a man’s driving machine, hands down. If Honda Atlas could do it, why not IMC. It’s still not late. If a recall is an embarrassment, please my dear IMC, devise other ways to quietly correct the humongous height from the rear. All this time I thought that the shocks were made in Thailand and probably the springs in Pakistan. But to my utter dismay, the shocks are made in Pakistan (confirmed) whereas the springs may be Thailand manufactured. Oh, by the way, Brand New OEM / Genuine Toyota Shocks are available for this car made in Japan, made in Thailand (not fully confirmed) and of course Made in Pakistan by IMC.
So what’s the solution? Of course I could find some Kabuli shocks/springs, I could buy TRD suspension for more than one lac rupees, I could just buy the TRD springs for 40,000/- from that Jack the Ripper at F-10 Markaz. I could buy Continental ContiSport Contact 5 (Made in Germany 2014 Late) tyres and enjoy the ride or I could compromise and let go of my old habits spoiled by a 2011 Honda Civic. But I’m not insanely rich. I may be crazy but I’m for sure not that stupid. Just a stupid step by IMC and it’s broken so many hearts. The Corolla will sell like anything. This review will become history / poooof / evaporate, people will move on because its not the EPS that is numb, it is us too. I paid a lot over and above my Civic Viper just to get a lifelessly numb car with below average road grip, unstable design, zero driving pleasure in terms of sportiness. For the money spent its not a bad car but might probably be my last Corolla. The Civic is more aggressive, dynamic and sporty in almost any generation. These things are in its DNA. The deal breaking issues faced in this car are subjective and depends purely upon my personal experience. If you are like me, I suggest wait it out and buy the Civic. If you disagree and want a good family sedan with plenty of space, great design, nice fuel consumption and solid reliability, this Corolla is the way to go. @VCheng was right that sportiness and Corolla will probably never go together. Special thanks to @KamranAslam and @Spano for giving me useful tips. Since this was my third attempt while writing down everything so I was kinda turned off and might have missed few details.
Thank you for a patient read. I hope you enjoyed it.