Arguably the Hyundai i30 Fastback’s spiritual ancestor, the 1987 Toyota Corolla Liftback is 30 years old this year.
First published by Eóin Doyle in July 2015.
It might surprise you, but the (AE92-series for Toyota geeks) Corolla, in 1.6 GLi Liftback guise at least, was considered an 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 other quite appealing, slightly upmarket Japanese hatchbacks – Mazda’s 323F and Honda’s 5-door Integra.
The Japanese car giant had fully embraced the art of chassis engineering by this point, so apart from being visually pleasing the Corolla was also quite pleasant to drive, with sharp handling, a decent ride and a well finished, well appointed interior. Add to this the likelihood of it being pretty much mechanically bulletproof and one has to wonder why Toyota didn’t see fit to continue this 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 given that Toyota hasn’t exactly struggled in the Irish market, what do I know?