BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST
There are so many vehicle choices consumers are challenged to make in the auto world today. Many of the decisions are based on price and fondness for historic brands such as Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Ford. However, the influx of cars that started 50 years ago with the Japanese car invasion has continued with outstanding vehicles manufactured in South Korea, Italy, England and China.
The competition in cars drove Ford to discontinue their sedans and go to trucks, SUV’s, and Mustangs. Ford and General Motors stock prices have barely budged in recent years. Ford is remembered as the U.S. car manufacturer that did not take a government bailout in 2008, while General Motors had to be saved by the Obama administration.
The intense foreign competition in quality, innovation, and pricing has been a boon to U.S. consumers as manufacturers offer massive discounts and low interest rates on vehicle purchases. It is relatively easy to purchase a vehicle and credit is available to almost all vehicle buyers. The debt on cars and trucks in the U.S. is massive as we have become a nation on wheels as more jobs have been created from the strong Trump driven economy.
New auto plants have been constructed in Texas, Alabama, and Georgia with jobs coming back from cheaper Mexican labor south of the border.
The rise of the electric and hybrid vehicles is in full swing as more charging stations emerge. One new charging station is in the parking lot at the Centennial city building on Arapahoe Rd.
The technology of hybrids has become attractive and the warranties on batteries extended up to ten-years on improving battery efficiencies.
The latest test vehicle is a Corolla Hybrid LE sedan that averages 52 miles per gallon with a 1.8L four-cylinder engine. The car will operate efficiently with the engine or battery driven power from an easy drive shift to battery power. A slight “whine” can be heard from sole battery power, but the acceleration is identical. A charging image appears on the center console screen showing the engine recharged the battery to full power during the drive. The system works flawlessly and 52 mpg. is attractive mileage.
The Corolla hybrid is fun to drive, fast and nimble, four-doors, and a five-star crash safety rating. The best part of all is the very attractive manufacturers retail price of $22,950. A few options can be added, but this is a stellar Toyota bargain for consumers.
This Corolla is attractive with a sleek design and “Celestite” gray paint with final assembly in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
Toyota offers a Toyota Safety Sense system that includes all of the new major safety systems such as pre-collision and Smart Stop Technology. These systems are designed to keep the vehicle from striking a frontal object. This Corolla is loaded with safety features, LED lights, and back up and forward cameras.
Missing were XM satellite radio and power seat controls. Handles adjust the seat height and length. With a little adjustment to body size the seats become comfortable and in place for the drive. It appears that Toyota put safety number one in the car design along with the hybrid features.
This is a car of the future for all ages and easy on the billfold.
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