A sporty economy car is more than just the sum of its parts, but the parts still factor in. Leave too many things on the table, and the end result will feel purgatorial, trapped between what it is and what it could be. That, dear readers, is the 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex in a nutshell.
Don’t take that to mean that the Corolla Apex’s upgrades are for display purposes only. Quite the contrary, actually; the Apex packs a number of tweaks that work to live up to its handling-adjacent badge. New springs lower the body by more than half an inch, and they work in conjunction with new shocks, solid sway bars and a unique tune for the power-steering system.
I can feel every single upgrade. In fact, I can’t stop feeling them. The Corolla Apex is demonstrably stiffer than its pedestrian sibling, entirely too much so, in fact. The one super-smooth road I experience is met with a fine ride, but the second the pavement swaps over to something a little more worn, the ride becomes tiring. Every bump or highway expansion joint is met with an incredibly sharp vertical jerk, and just about every undulation in the roadway