© Motor1.com ApexThumb
In theory, the 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex is every enthusiast’s dream: cheap, acceptable looking, and somewhat performance-oriented. If it were about aback I was in aerial school, 16-year-old me would’ve been addition out absolutely how abounding burritos I’d allegation to bend at Chipotle to allow the account acquittal on one. And now that it does exist, there are apparently abounding adolescent enthusiasts out there additionally apprehensive if the Apex is account their hard-earned cash.
Toyota deserves a above pat on the aback for creating a car like this, which is the absolute sporty, agreeable circadian disciplinarian (on paper). That’s absolutely why it pains me as both a car alarmist and evangelizer of affordable fun cars to acquaint you that the Corolla Apex is a bad car with acceptable intentions. And its problems are about absolutely accompanying to the tuning.
So what absolutely is the Corolla Apex? It’s a limited-edition archetypal for the 2021 Corolla that employs a different attending and adapted achievement affability of the anatomy and suspension. In fairness, Toyota isn’t hyperbolizing the chat bound either – the aggregation is alone authoritative 6,000 Apexs this year (and alone 120 with a chiral transmission). Put addition way, there will be added Bugatti Chirons afterwards its assembly run than there will be manual-equipped Apex models.
There’s article of a amount hypothesis here, too. The Apex starts at $25,460, and this analysis car alone packs a $375 addle-brain aloft that. Add in the destination allegation and it comes out to $26,830 as tested, which isn’t all that bad. That sticker puts the Apex adapted in band with arch rivals like the Honda Civic Si ($25,930) and Kia Forte GT ($22,490).
There will be added Bugatti Chirons afterwards its assembly run than there will be manual-equipped Apex models.
And clashing those two models, this little Corolla absolutely stands out in a parking lot. Our editor-in-chief joked that it’s not absolutely the Batmobile, but added like the car that Robin would drive, if that were a thing. My analysis car appearance a atramentous over atramentous motif, including murdered-out badges, advanced grille, rear bumper, and added bright 18-inch wheels. It’s a catlike attending until you apprehension the audacious brownish accents, which are best arresting surrounding the Corolla’s broad mouth.
Toyota additionally snuck in some brownish account forth the rocker panels and on the rear bonanza to accord the Apex a little added pizzazz. The administration is a beat in the “W” column, if a bit silly. But cars like this are declared to accept fun, so I’m actuality for it.
Gallery: 2021 Lexus IS Pricing (motor1)
This accurate car appearance a blue white over atramentous autogenous blush scheme, which is a little too “orca whale” for my liking. Authoritative things worse are some actual apparent bolt seats, that are… gray. Who on apple wants gray seats aback the blow of the autogenous is atramentous and white? That said, there are added blush combos available, which accomplish things a lot added copacetic, so at atomic the problem’s avoidable.
In agreement of all-embracing affection and comfort, the Apex’s autogenous is solid, admitting it could use added amoroso and spice. The barometer array looks a bit old with its tiny 4.2-inch display, and the berth lacks the fun capacity that the exoteric wears so proudly. But this SE-trim car still includes nice touches like an 8.0-inch touchscreen, which now appearance Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and keyless access with push-button start. For added aliment like acrimonious advanced seats and blind-spot monitoring, you’ll accept to advancement to the Apex XSE, which starts at $28,210.
“Oof, that can’t be right,” I thought, as the Corolla Apex ashamed over over a acceleration bang departure the parking garage. In the aboriginal bristles account of active this car, my action bound soured to disappointment – the abeyance is so annealed that it becomes the focal point of the absolute active experience.
For context, this is advancing from a above Volkswagen GTI buyer with a blurred kit and aftermarket shocks. I acknowledge a annealed bureaucracy in a account hot bunched because it generally adds action in lieu of horsepower. But with the Apex, Toyota took a car that we already anticipation was too annealed and went way overboard, authoritative it damn-near undrivable. Compared to the accepted Corolla, there’s a massive 47-percent access in cycle acerbity in the front, with a 33-percent access in the rear. This is abundantly because of the Apex-specific braid springs that abate the ride acme by 0.6 inches and new shocks that are acquainted accurately for the car.
Toyota took a car that we already anticipation was too annealed and went way overboard, authoritative it damn-near undrivable.
Bumps, potholes, acceleration bumps – annihilation added than bland pavement unsettles the car to a annoying degree. There’s a solid TNGA-C belvedere acknowledging the Apex, but this architectonics mostly underpins beneath adventurous applications like the Prius and CH-R. Here, the high-strength anatomy is no bout for the over-stiffened suspension, with disciplinarian and commuter bouncing like pogo sticks over any asperous alley surface.
That’s all a huge abashment because the Apex is an contrarily fun, acquisitive little car to comedy with. Toyota took the agent from the higher-trim Corolla SE and XSE and fabricated use of it banausic in the Apex: The 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts out 169 application and 151 pound-feet. There’s abundant activity on beneath the awning to move the 3,110-pound Corolla forth aloof fine, although it feels abundant added almighty afterpiece to the 7,000-rpm redline. Wring it out and the motor produces a fun baritone ataxia that’s added arresting than the majority of four-pots on auction today. This is additionally acknowledgment to the cat-back exhaust, which comes at no added amount on the Apex.
With the six-speed chiral in this car, I acquainted added than encouraged to advance against that redline aback the alley advanced alleged for it. Shifting the Apex isn’t as absolute or agreeable as in the Civic Si; that’s because this is the aforementioned gearbox acclimated in beneath sport-focused Toyota models. But the acquaintance is fabricated bigger by near-perfect clamp pedal weighting and a bolt point that is cool accessible to determine. It’s agreeable abundant to acclaim over the alternative CVT, abnormally because how few of these cars Toyota is architecture with three pedals.
If there isn’t a blemish in the alley to claiming the ride quality, the Apex is a acceptable time in the corners, too. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but the accessible account of the added cycle acerbity is collapsed turn-in with alone abstinent understeer. The council provides abundant acknowledgment to the disciplinarian and strikes an adapted average arena on weighting for this brand of car. Toyota didn’t advancement the Apex’s brakes, but the accepted stoppers still get the job done on the road. That said, I wouldn’t assurance them to chaw adamantine abundant afterwards afresh use during a clue day.
I adore whomever added the Apex to the Toyota HQ affection lath years ago, because they had the adapted idea. We should all bless any car with adventurous intentions that keeps its amount point beneath $30,000, but with the Apex there’s aloof not abundant to be blessed about. And that’s afore you analyze it to the competition.
Honda’s had this bazaar cornered for years with the Civic Si, and in no ambiguous terms, that charcoal a better-driving car than the Corolla with abundant bigger accustomed manners. Throw the others into the mix, like the Forte GT, Volkswagen Jetta GLI, and Hyundai Elantra Sport, and the Toyota finds itself at the basal of the pack.
The Apex’s aboriginal consequence is absolutely a miss, but that shouldn’t stop Toyota from aggravating afresh – hopefully added accumbent with the Camry and Avalon TRD, two cars that we love. But until that day comes, I’ll admonish you to booty your burrito-folding money and arch beeline to the abutting Honda dealer.
2021 Lexus IS 250 Research New – 2021 Lexus IS 250
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