Long-Term Test: 2015 Toyota Corolla S - Update 5

Odometer at pick-up: 1,744 km
Odometer Current: 7,816 km (6,072 by Autos.ca)
Fuel Consumption: 7.21 L/100 km
Costs: $493.44 (Fuel only)

Summer vacation is over and it’s back to the grind of commuting routine, school runs and weekend activities. We piled another thousand kilometres on with little change in our overall fuel consumption, the Corolla proving to be a paragon of efficiency, maintaining its 7.2 L/100 km pace.

This update we thought we’d take a closer look at the Corolla’s infotainment system, though I’ll be somewhat brief as it’s a fairly simple affair.

As mentioned before, the brilliance of the Corolla’s system is a very straightforward but clever home screen, with easily recognizable quadrants for audio info, phone favourites and a navigation preview. Though the touchscreen is not the fastest responding, it rarely triggers any impatience for those simple tasks of poking one of my phone favourites or entering the audio menu.

Bypassing the audio screen or volume knob is possible via steering wheel controls for volume and scrolling through preset radio stations, of which there are so many that you’re unlikely to use them (I haven’t even filled up the first dozen, and there are at least 18). Old-fashioned knob lovers will find the conventional tuning and volume knobs reassuring.

Toyota Canada was kind enough to activate the SiriusXM satellite radio subscription, so I have access to all the variety available from that. Just the other day, however, I discovered a neat feature available on the AM/FM radio: pausing/recording. If you receive a call or begin a conversation with a passenger, you can pause where you were in the song or show you were listening to, then resume later (which also allows you to skip commercials).

Catch up with the previous updates of our Corolla Long-Term Test: Arrival, Update 1, 2, 3 and 4

While sound quality isn’t spectacular, and the Corolla is not the quietest in class, the sound system is powerful enough to overcome the mild road noise with enough clarity to enjoy all my favourite songs thoroughly.

The phone connection has been completely reliable, always pairing automatically except when my wife hijacks the favourite spot, and delivering fair clarity on the incoming line, with a mic that is sensitive enough that I do not have to yell (though I still find myself yelling – ingrained habit, I guess).

The navigation system is basic yet helpful, again with response to input quick enough to avoid being frustrating, and well-time navigation prompts when using route guidance. At this price point, there is no live traffic, but Google Maps or Waze are easy enough to check before departure, or to have a passenger check for you if you need to get somewhere on schedule.

Beyond those three most common functions, the Corolla’s system also has a trip computer that tracks short-term efficiency and daily history as well as an overall efficiency.

The last area I’ve found useful is the Maintenance advisor, which can prompt for certain maintenance intervals and then store the performed procedures. Right now it’s telling me I need to get the oil changed for our 8,000 km service, so we’ll pay our local dealer a visit and make sure the Corolla is in tip top shape.

While I’ve only experimented briefly with the voice command function, it has not been successful in my few attempts, discouraging me from trying to engage more frequently.

Aside from our upcoming maintenance, we have a comparison planned with an updated compact sedan competitor that was right on the Corolla’s heels in our last big comparison in the segment. No matter the competition, the Corolla is proving endearing and comfortable beyond the confines of a typical test drive, and the reassuring consistency and basic practicality keep it in our good books to date.

Summer vacation is over and it’s back to the grind of commuting routine, school runs and weekend activities. 9/25/2015 6:47:59 AM