Some may argue that the manual transmission may be old tech, but that hasn't stopped Toyota from breathing life into it. The all-new Corolla was recently launched in Japan and they made one announcement that will please the enthusiasts: it will come with a manual transmission.
What's special about that announcement? Toyota added that the Corolla will be using the company's Intelligent Manual Transmission (i-MT), meaning you can do heel-and-toe downshifts without shuffling your feet around the pedals. What it does is match the revs when shifting down, meaning no more jerky downshifts.
If the technology sounds familiar, it's essentially the same one found in the six-speed manual-equipped Hilux. From our reviews, the system works seamlessly and makes the vehicle smoother to operate. The i-MT also comes with an anti-stall system, which should alleviate fears of messing up when setting off in traffic.
For now, it's the hatchback version, dubbed the Corolla Sport, that's been released in its home market. There are some differences between it and the US version. Japan-spec Corollas get a different LED signature, as well as a wider grill. Tail light elements have also been mildly tweaked. It doesn't get a Toyota logo in front. Instead, it has the signature 'C' badge sitting boldly on the grill.
The manual model won't be in Japanese dealerships until August so its continuously variable transmissions for now. Engine choices include a turbocharged 1.2-liter gas unit with 116 PS, or a 1.8-liter hybrid making 122 PS. Toyota hasn't mentioned which engine will get a manual option just yet. As Toyota bills this Corolla the sportiest one yet, it is possible that they will be making an entirely new variant for the manual versions.