1990 Toyota Corolla

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chicagotribune.com
There comes a time when you simply want to get from Point A to Point Bwithout someone holding the stop watch on you.

You want to travel from here to there without halting at a gas pump inbetween to refuel.

And you want to cart the family plus the luggage and/or groceries without having to use a roof rack. The Toyota Corolla sedan fills the bill.

We test drove the 1990 Corolla DX 4-door sedan.

For `90 all subcompact Corolla`s except the GT-S sports coupe are powered by a beefed-up 1.6-liter, 16-valve, fuel-injected, four-cylinder engine. Itproduces 102 horsepower versus 90 h.p. in the non-multivalve version itreplaces.

Our test car was equipped with 3-speed automatic transmission rather than the standard 5-speed manual. The 1.6 is peppy, but with the automatic you`llhave to kick the pedal a bit earlier and a bit harder to take advantage of the102 horses.

The EPA rating is 26 miles per gallon city and 29 m.p.g. highway with the 1.6 and automatic, numbers that provide ample evidence that mileage takesprecedence over beating a cab from the light.

If you do a lot of stop-and-go city driving you`ll appreciate the easeand comfort of the automatic rather than the 5-speed. But if most of yourdriving is during the non-rush period or on the open road, the 5-speed mightbe the choice for complementing the multivalve`s performance capabilities.

When it comes to ride and handling, comfortable and predictable probablybest sum up the Corolla sedan. The 4-wheel independent suspension helps smoothout the rough patches in the road.

Still, the sedan reacts best if you back off the accelerator and play itconservative in turns and corners. The Corolla comes with 13-inch tires. Only the sporty GT-S coupe offers 14-inch tires. A larger tire would probablycontribute to more sure-footed handling and improved cornering in the sedan.

Toyota`s forte is attention to the little details and the Corolla is noexception. We enjoyed such features as:

- A passive shoulder belt fastened to the door. Close the door and thebelt is secured around your upper torso so that you don`t have to reach for a belt and a receptacle in which to fasten it.

- The automatic transmission has a shift lock mechanism so that you mustapply the brake pedal before moving the lever out of park.

- Though a subcompact, built on a 95.7-inch wheelbase and 170.3 incheslong, the trunk is massive and probably will hold as much luggage or groceriesas a Chevy Caprice or Ford Crown Victoria.

- Despite small dimensions, there are stowage compartments in theinstrument panel and a pullout dual cupholder that complement rather thandetract from interior room.

- Fuel filler door and trunk lid release levers are in an easy-to-see-and-use location under the driver`s seat.

Basically, we spotted only one annoyance with the car. The rear seatholds kids comfortably, but adults will strain for leg room.

Base price is $9,958 with automatic, $9,488 with 5-speed. Standardequipment in addition to that mentioned above includes power brakes, allseason radials, tinted glass, rear window defroster, wide protective bodyside moldings, full carpeting, intermittent wipers, and reclining driver`s seat.

Air conditioning runs $775. Our test car also was equipped with an``extra value`` package that included power steering, AM-FM radio withcassette and digital clock, and remote mirrors totaling. The package totaled$1,095 but was discounted to $669.

The sticker read $11,722 plus a $265 freight charge. We repeat-$265 forfreight-roughly half the amount charged by domestic automakers that use thesame trucks as the imports.



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