Editor’s note: With pricey insurance, rents and student loans handcuffing their finances, many young people are delaying the decision to acquire a car, or making do with beaters. Twenty-six-year old Edward Maloney, a medical resident at McMaster University, is no different. So we placed him in a redesigned 2016 Corolla to get his impressions between old and new.
I drive a 2003 Saturn Ion, complete with cassette tape player and CD changer. Yeah, it’s old school. Or just old.
Frankly, with all the automotive technological advances these past 13 years, my Ion leaves much to be desired.
For example, though now standard on new vehicles, a rear-view camera is seen as a huge upgrade by me, and a lot of friends who are still driving hand-me-down cars. Though years of squeezing into spots on my street and between cement pillars in hospital parkades have advanced my parking skills, I never realized the difference a rear-view camera would make. With the Corolla’s tight turning radius and the camera, I squeezed into spots I would’ve never thought possible.
So it was a welcome change to get behind the wheel of a 2016 Toyota Corolla S for a week. It made for a smooth cruise as I explored the city and drove to and from hospital placements.
For some of my friends in big cities, owning a car isn’t as essential as it once was, what with access to relatively good public transit and car-sharing services. Hamilton, however, lacks these amenities and suffers from urban sprawl. When I drive from one end of Steeltown to the other for work, a reliable vehicle is essential. I also rely on access to a car to drive into Toronto to visit friends, for weekend cottage getaways, and for road trips. Specifically, I want no fuss, no muss. And the Corolla fit the bill. Its spacious interior was comfortable for four people or for a road trip packed full of supplies.
For millennials, a major selling feature would be the Entune infotainment system. Its user-friendly interface, featuring a 6.1-inch touch screen, seamlessly synched to my smartphone. It resumed where I left off on podcasts, audiobooks or music each time I entered the car. I didn’t even have to press any controls. Sound quality was crisp, clear and, with the car gliding quietly along city streets, it made for a pleasant listening experience.
Above all else, I loved to put the Toyota into sport mode to accelerate onto the highway. There aren’t many opportunities to use it while navigating city streets, but on the highway, I couldn’t resist pressing that button to hear the Corolla’s engine sing. Sure, a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine producing 132 horses isn’t exactly Ferrari-like, but it was peppy and powerful enough and worlds away from my Ion, which often feels like it’s struggling to keep up.
When considering a new car purchase, affordability is a major consideration. The base model starts at $15,995 and the Corolla S starts at $19,780. With my Saturn nearing the end of the road, it may be time for an upgrade.