Is a posh Corolla an oxymoron? Not in Ireland during the 1980’s.
It might surprise you, but the (AE92-series) Corolla, in 1.6 GLi form, was considered a desirable upmarket car in Ireland during the latter part of the 1980’s, before we became brand snobs like everyone else. This era also coincided with two more appealing slightly upmarket Japanese hatchbacks – Mazda’s 323F and Honda’s 5-door Integra.
Toyota had embraced the art of chassis engineering by then, so apart from being pleasing to look at the Corolla was also quite nice to drive, with sharp handling, a decent ride and a well appointed interior. Add to this the likelihood of it being pretty much bulletproof and one has to wonder why Toyota didn’t see fit to continue the theme, replacing it instead with its more habitual dishwater.
Perhaps it was this lack of consistency that prevented Japanese marques from gaining an emotional foothold with motorists. But a lot of people don’t buy on emotion, and since Toyota hasn’t exactly struggled in the Irish market, what do I know?