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Toyota Corolla in high safety, fuel-economy record

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Toyota is not ready to give up its much cherished high records of being an inexpensive, safety-minded and well-equipped compact car maker. This is demonstrated in the engineering of its latest Corolla, the 2021 model.

Available as either four-door hatchback or sedan, the new Toyota car is said to offer a variety of personalities. Both body styles feature a pair of dutiful four-cylinder engines, and are offered with an extremely frugal hybrid powertrain.

Special edition

Toyota has added a limited-production Special Edition to the 2021 Corolla hatchback lineup.

Interior

The new car comes with 10 airbags. Every Corolla hatchback adds rear-seat-mounted side airbags, which bring the car’s total to 10.

Its cargo volume can also be expanded by six cubic feet (23 total) with a new no-cost option that deletes the spare tyre and adds a tyre-repair kit.

The sedan adds a limited-production trim level called the Apex Edition. Along with a unique appearance and a specially tuned chassis, it is available with summer tyres.

However, there will only be 120 stick-shift models available; the others have a CVT.

Every Corolla is said to come with Android Auto, too. Both body styles are once again available with black exterior accents courtesy of the Nightshade model.

Engine, transmission and performance

Except for the sportier SE and XSE models, the Corolla sedan uses a 139-hp 1.8-litre four-cylinder that sends power to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The zestier versions have a 169-hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder that pairs with a CVT or optional six-speed manual.

While all hatchbacks have the larger engine, only the sedan offers a hybrid powertrain. Reviewers note that the tests of the 2019 Corolla SE hatchback and the 2020 Corolla XSE sedan proved even the strongest engine doesn’t deliver adequate acceleration. The Toyota twins were prudent around town and steady on the highway.

Both the Corolla sedan and the hatchback are said to have a pleasant ride quality that adequately isolates all but the worst bumps. Their controlled body motions also provide better agility than previous iterations.

The Corolla SE and XSE further separate themselves with a stiffer sport-tuned suspension and the latter’s larger 18-inch wheels (everything else rides on either 15- or 16-inch rims).

Compared with athletic and engaging rivals, such as the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf, the Corolla’s progressive steering is found to be satisfactory.
While neither Corolla body style is found to have impressive results in a 70-mph-to-zero braking test—requiring between 174 and 183 feet—their brake pedals are described as dependable and easy to operate.

Fuel economy

According to new car reviewers, including motor1.com and Motor Trend, coming long with two fuel-efficient four-cylinders, the 2021 Corolla sedan offers an immensely thrifty hybrid model.

The EPA estimates the hybrid will earn 53 mpg city and 52 highway.

It is estimated the non-hybrid sedan’s 2.0-litre engine will earn up to 40 mpg highway while the 1.8-litre is rated up to 38 mpg highway.

A driver said, “The hybrid we tested exceeded its highway rating by 3 mpg on our fuel-economy test route, earning 56 mpg over 200 miles at a steady 75 mph. The only other sedan we tested—a Corolla XSE—saw 41 mpg. The 2019 Corolla hatchback (automatic transmission) earns up to 32 mpg city and 42 highway, according to the EPA. The manual version receives significantly lower estimates at 28 mpg city and 37 highway. We tested the hatch with both transmissions on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route; the automatic earned 40 mpg, and the manual got 36 mpg.”

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Auto finance: CBN, NADDC discuss new options for vehicle buyers

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The Director General of the National Auotomotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, says the agency has commenced discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to design workable solutions for auto financing to make vehicle purchase affordable for Nigerians.

He stated this in a presentation made at the 9th Annual Transport Lecture organized by Transport Day Newspapers, with the theme, ‘Nigeria’s Transportation For Development: Sectoral Achievements, Prospects and Challenges’, held in Abuja.

“We had a meeting with the CBN yesterday on auto financing. We want to work out a solution that would enable Nigerians to buy new vehicles and pay over a period of six years,” he said.

The NADDC boss said the move was part of the agency’s efforts geared towards promoting and enhancing value addition in the transport cum automotive sector of the economy by creating a conducive business climate to further enhance investment inflow and industrialization.

Aliyu also said the NADDC was rapidly shifting attention to carbonless transport system in Nigeria in a bid to develop and promote advanced transport technology in the automotive industry.

He said, “This is because, vehicle electrification is inevitable, it is the future of automotive industry worldwide and we are working assiduously towards achieving its comprehensive and sustainable adoption in Nigeria.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that poor maintenance culture of vehicles in the transport sector contributes immensely to environmental pollution. The use of EVs that have advanced technology will not only curb these excesses but will also lead to more productivity in the industry.

“Currently, one of our top focus areas is scaling up production of applicable electric vehicles locally, to enable Nigeria meet its target for the Paris Accord and 2060 net zero commitment, both on reducing harmful gas emissions from vehicles” he said.

He further stated the NADDC recently set up a technical committee on electric vehicle development plan aimed at drawing up a comprehensive development programme for vehicle electrification in Nigeria.

According to the NADDC boss, this plan will also ensure that made-in Nigeria EVs are of world standards and compete favourably in the global market.

“As a pilot scheme project, the NADDC has established 100% Solar Powered EV Charging Stations at Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, University of Lagos and University of Nigeria Nsukka and also discussing with other stakeholders for collaboration in establishing more charging infrastructure all over the country.

“In conclusion, NADDC is committed to establishing and giving support to development programmes that will aid the Nigerian transport sector.

“I therefore urge all stakeholders to begin to think of a paradigm shift from the conventional vehicles to carbonless transportation system and key into the vehicle electrification projects of the Council with a view to achieving cleaner air in Nigeria.”

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AutoTrends: Stop driving your old crossovers, Mercedes warns, recalls ML, others

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Mercedes-Benz has asked owners of certain older crossovers to stop driving due a to corroded brake booster that could cause the brakes to fail.

The automaker said the request and corresponding recall applied to 292,287 ML-, GL-, and R-Class crossovers and SUVs from the 2006-2012 model years.

Recalls are common, but urging customers to stop driving is not,  according to thecarconnection.com.

In the affected vehicles, water exposure in the brake booster housing can cause a joint to corrode, leading to a leak in the brake system.

Brake force may also be reduced, forcing drivers to press harder on the brake pedal to decelerate and come to a stop. In rare cases, Mercedes said, it may be impossible to stop if there has been severe corrosion.

The risk of a crash or injury would increase, although Mercedes said it was aware of no known crashes or injuries related to the issue.

According to the premium brand automaker, the emergency brake pedal is not affected, and could be used in case of a regular brake pedal failure. Mercedes will provide complimentary towing of the affected vehicles to service centers.

Dealers are expected to inspect the brake booster housing and replace parts as required. If the part cannot be fixed immediately, Mercedes said it will help “coordinate an individual solution for the customer, including alternate mobility.”

 

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AutoTrends: Hyundai Sonata models face fuel leak risk

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A potential fuel hose leak in 2013 and 2014 models of Hyundai Sonata has again led to the immediate recall of the vehicles globally.

The NHTSA disclosed this, noting that the factory fault could increase the risk of a fire.

The 2013-2014 Sonata and 2013-2014 Kia Optima had previously been recalled for a fuel hose that can crack prematurely and leak fuel.

The tape and zip-tie remedy for those earlier recalls did not stick.

With the new recall, the fuel line will be replaced at no cost to owners, Hyundai states.

Without the proper fix, the leaking fuel could come in contact with a spark or ignition source that could cause a fire in the engine compartment, thecarconnection.com notes.

The recall encompasses 215,171 Sonatas. Owners may smell fuel on vehicles equipped with either the 2.0-litre turbo-4 or 2.4-litre inline-4 engines. Hyundai reported 138 incidents in the past two years of the defect, but the automaker said there were no known crashes, fires, or injuries.

Hybrid versions of both sedans from those model years were recalled for a separate fire risk.

Hyundai and sister brand Kia have issued a series of recalls for increased fire risk for a variety of reasons, ranging from a faulty electrical socket (2011-2012 vehicles) to a short circuit in the braking system (2006-2011 Elantras).

Owners will be notified by mail as early as July 5, and will be instructed to take their affected Sonata into a dealer to have the fuel feed line replaced at no charge, regardless of warranty status.

Hyundai owners who paid for fuel line repairs to address the leak will be reimbursed.

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