Last year Toyota sold more Toyota Corolla badged cars in the United States than their entire Lexus brand sold here in total. Worldwide, the Corolla sold more often than the mighty Ford F-150. Since the nameplate was introduced over 50 years ago, almost 50 million have been produced making it the most often sold vehicle in automotive history and represents close to one out of every five Toyotas ever made. Simply put, Corolla is the car that put Toyota on the map and the one that has a large duty to keep it there around the world.
The Corolla may not necessarily be the enthusiast’s first choice, however it can’t be argued that it is not a very high quality automobile that easily does the job expected of it. Millions rely on it every day to get them around, and to do so reliably, economically, and safely. In our market, there are a total of ten different Corolla models/trims available for 2021, with seven of them being sedans and three being the hatchback format.
Of the sedans, there is one hybrid, and the other six are equipped with either of two engines and range from a starting price of under $20,000 to right around $30,000 once every major option is chosen on the top trim level. It’s among the more affordable new vehicles out there and while there may be some that are less expensive, once reputation and durability are factored in, it’s a very safe bet that most would consider an excellent value.
Our tester this week was an XSE version, the top trim. Presented in a color named “Blueprint” with Graphite colored accent pieces (trunk lip and side skirts), to my eyes it cuts a very attractive figure indeed. I’ve been a fan of the current Corolla’s style since it debuted a couple of years ago and find it to be good-looking in every trim level. The XSE is one of the “sportier” trims and as such it has a few gewgaws that the more basic versions lack, however it doesn’t come across as completely over the top either.
The rear three-quarter angle is probably my own personal favorite and I consider that rear fender bulge in particular an excellent piece of design, not just among the economy car genre, but anywhere; what the sculpting most reminds me of actually is the 2007 Audi RS4 although I think Toyota did a better job of relating it into the rear bumper. Of course the little Toyota is no purpose-made Autobahn stormer, however it can certainly hold its own and is powerful enough to handle any road on this continent with aplomb.
Opening the door may make some of you do a double-take, some of what you see looks quite familiar, and that’s because just last week, our own Ed Snitkoff reviewed/compared the $38,000 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid here. Take a close look – immediately it becomes clear that our little sedan base priced at $25k is using the same seats, the same steering wheel, and the same 8″ touchscreen. That’s just the immediately visible pieces. Should we be honored that we are seeing these items from a much more expensive vehicle in this one or concerned that the cheaper car has donated its items to a high-falutin’ CUV with a much higher price tag?
Well, these items can certainly hold their own in either car and are of high enough quality to not appear out of place in either of them. It really is a testament to Toyota’s ingenuity that the same items can be used in so many vehicles that they can provide high-quality pieces and produce them in such quantities that it is likely the case that it is far more profitable overall when you include customer goodwill for Toyota to simply make and include more of the good stuff than to use cheaper versions in the less expensive vehicle.
Ed and I are quite different sized humans and he was comfortable in the RAV4; I have to say I was very comfortable in these seats here as well. Covered in Softex imitation leather with striped cloth material inserts, they seats are well-bolstered and held me securely without pinching or creating sore spots anywhere; the bolstering, while more aggressive than in some more basic cars was not overly confining, it simply felt correct.
Legroom in the front for me was very good, while headroom was just sufficient with the included sunroof, my hair was lightly brushing the headliner. I’m 6’1″ with a 32″ inseam and usually adjust the driver’s seat to its lowest setting with the seatback in a moderately upright position, enough to hold the wheel at 10 and 2 and still be able to grasp any other part of it with either hand at any time.
The gauges were crisp and clear with a digital representation of a speedometer dead center, rpm gauge on one side and the fuel and temp gauges on the other. The center portion of the screen was configurable using a steering wheel toggle to cycle through different menus/information, however the trip meters (2) were accessed by pushing a small knob at the base of the panel causing it to cycle between them and the normal odometer. (There is less glare in real life, the display looks much more “continuous” in person than in this photo).
The center console screen is controlled via touch including some menu buttons on the sides, as well as some steering wheel controls for the audio, or can also be controlled via voice commands. Some functions, mainly to do with settings, are locked out while in motion which makes sense, but everything is generally presented in a user friendly way with a minimal learning curve.
One particularly interesting feature is a whole menu section wherein you can enter dates and mileage for well over a dozen different service items ranging from oil to brakes to wiper blades and more to assist in reminding either when something might be due or just to keep track of when it was last done. Ed pointed out in his review that the screen resolution isn’t up to the latest available standard and while I agree, it’s also still better than a few others on the market, here perhaps it’s more justified based on the price. Overall it gets the job done, but remains low-hanging fruit for Toyota to improve and be recognized for it.
Volume and tuning are done via knobs on the screen or toggles on the steering wheel. Below the center screen are the single zone but automatic climate controls and below that an open area with at its base the rocker switches for the heated seats as well as a wireless charging pad that held my iPhone 11 in place perfectly.
I’ve noticed several makers have recently begun putting these just slightly out of normal driver reach and am starting to believe this is done on purpose. With Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto as well as Bluetooth connectivity for calls (and the ability for texts to be read to you and respond via voice in some cases/vehicles) it makes perfect sense to keep this away from the constant impulse some people may have to pick it up and check it at every opportunity, whether an appropriate time or not.
A sport mode button, electronic parking brake (configured here to engage and disengage automatically in conjunction with the shift selector’s position) and two cupholders behind the conventional automatic shift lever pretty much round out the other points of interest on the center console. The dashboard and door panels are very soft for about the upper half that can be reached while seated and there is an attractive genuine blue thread stitched line going across the upper portion of the dashboard.
Curiously the part of the dash to the left of the steering wheel that corresponds to what is immediately ahead of the passenger is hard but it’s only about 6″ wide, the texture and sheen look the same and there is no reason to touch it bar being a dashboard fetishist of some sort.
Above all of this was the sunroof with a retracting cover, the controls for it, as well as the rearview mirror that I (clearly spoiled) was surprised I had to manually adjust at night to reduce glare. On the plus side it’s hardly difficult to do and I’ve never had one so equipped break.
The backseat was similar to the front, i.e. comfortable, legroom for me was not abundant but not cause for complaint, and headroom was again adequate with my noggin placed in the pocket between the sunroof and the rear screen. Keep it in perfect place with about six inches side to side and a couple fore and aft and all is well, much more than that and slight contact is made.
The center armrest folds down to reveal two cup holders but there are no vents for the rear passengers on the back of the center console. The HVAC fan in front seems powerful enough and the car small enough that air should be able to reach back there though. Door panels are hard where the fronts are soft except for the elbow rest area, however the material quality is still good and fit and finish are impeccable. The passenger seatback also includes a map pocket.
The trunk was very roomy indeed for such a small car, but it’s all one big flat surface, good for loading lots of stuff, not so good for keeping smaller items in place without rolling around. A box or small basket might be a good owner addition here. A temporary spare is below the floor with some extra space for a few oddments that may accrue. A bigger miss is that there is no handle to pull the trunk lid closed again, necessitating grasping the (often dirty) metal edge of the exterior to pull it down.
Opening it however is great, the various options for doing so include a button on the keyfob, a soft touch button/pad above the license plate and one of my favorite time-tested Japanese car devices, the floor-mounted trunk and fuel filler release levers. The rear seatbacks of course fold down in order to fit longer items, in this case with a 60/40 split.
Since the key never had to be removed from my pocket in order to touch the handle to unlock the door, it also stayed there when I pressed the button to start the engine which jumped to life quickly and quietly. The XSE (as well as the SE and SE Nightshade Edition) uses a 2.0liter engine (as opposed to the 1.8l in the L, LE, and XLE) and produces 169hp @ 6600rpm and 151lb-ft of torque @ 4,400rpm.
Both the horsepower and torque figures are about 20% greater output as compared to the smaller engine and surely noticeable in comparison. Toyota (and some others) seem to be doing away with the “vanity” covers on some of their engines as of late, they are quiet enough not to need the noise suppression and might as well put the saved money towards something more feature oriented, it’s unlikely an owner will really care anyway.
The transmission here is what Toyota calls their Dynamic-Shift CVT tuned to behave mostly like a conventional automatic, i.e. extremely minimal droning and engineered in “shift points” as well incorporating an actual first gear into the case which is engaged to start off from a stop before handing things over to the pulley system. This works well and the average driver would not really be aware it was not just a conventional automatic transmission. It operates basically the same as the one I was impressed with in the last generation of Corolla that I took on a very unplanned roadtrip and reported on here.
Sport mode, by the way, seems to just change the speedometer color to red instead of blue and keeps things in a higher “gear”, while there is also a manual gate for the shift lever with fore/aft selections possible as well as steering wheel paddles, it’s not really for the serious enthusiast to get excited about. However, there IS a manual transmission (a 6-speed) available on the SE version this year, so you can get the hotter engine with a stick for under $23,000. That 6-speed is an “intelligent” manual that will automatically rev-match on downshifts.
Visibility is good in all directions bar the passenger rear, where the pillar and the rear headrest combine to make things difficult. Lane changes are well assisted by the Blind Spot system and backing out of parking spots necessitates the wide-angle camera and screen in conjunction with head swiveling in that direction. Forward visibility is excellent, especially at night where the bright LED headlights combine with this car’s Adaptive Front Lighting system that swivels the headlights in turns.
Being familiar with this concept from other test cars as well as the VW Touareg that we used to own, something seemed different, after a few evenings I realized that as opposed to many/most others, in this case only the light on the inside of the turn moves with the turn, which ends up creating an even wider field of brightness than if they both always turned. However, if one comes to a full stop with the wheels turned the lights go back to straight ahead, presumably to irritate oncoming drivers less. Once back in motion, the light turns again, illuminating the intended path to the side. Clever.
The XSE is equipped with larger wheels than most of the rest of the range, machined alloy 18″ers shod with Yokohama Avid GT tires in a 225/40-18 size. Wow, 40 aspect ratio tires on a Corolla! In their defense they rode very well, were not consistently noisy (very dependent on road surface but quiet was possible on some), and stuck well. Steering feel was fine if feel is defined as feeling you’ll make it around the corner, otherwise there was not a lot of communication from the front end but really, who is taking a Corolla sedan at 10/10ths around Mulholland?
Uh, well I guess I might have been that guy if I had a Corolla when I was back in high school as opposed to just learning on an ’83 in driving school back then, but really even the sporty Corolla isn’t expected to carve corners all the time. The wheels and tires look great, the stance is good, and it works well enough to not be boring but even though there is a new multi-link rear suspension to go with the MacPherson struts in front you probably aren’t wavering between this and a GTI. While perfectly competent and able to far exceed the recommended speeds and not about to fall off the road in the twisties, the Corolla has plenty of other attributes in its favor.
One of those is Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0. Here is a maker that even on its sub $20k Corolla base model is including as standard equipment a Pre-Collision System that will apply the brakes if it realizes a collision is imminent, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Road Sign Assist. Blind Spot Monitoring is included in some trims and optional on the others.
While I think that BSM should be standard across the range as well, the other items can be turned off but I know I’m happy to see a new Corolla near me when I’m driving something else as I know that car will try to avoid me no matter what the driver is (or is not) doing. There are plenty of manufacturers with vehicles costing far in excess of this one that do not include any of the above as standard equipment. I’ll happily adjust my rear view manually or use a manual lever to pop open the trunk or share interior items with a more expensive vehicle in order to get this stuff included.
Gas Mileage was excellent overall. I started my week by immediately driving to and around Denver and back which for the first 160 miles resulted in an average of 40.6mpg. This included driving mostly between 75 and 85mph on the freeway with about 20 miles of lower speed city streets. The balance of the week saw me adding an additional 165 miles with about 100 of that on normal country highways that include the occasional light or stop sign and then the balance was standard boring city driving around my house.
The overall average with everything came in at a reported 36.4mpg making it be somewhat better than the EPA’s estimates of 31city, 38highway and 34average mpg, all on regular unleaded. At the prices fuel is likely to remain at for the foreseeable future (and even if not), perhaps the hybrid model really doesn’t get you all that much of a greater return when total expenses are annualized. On a quality note, the fuel filler door was metal, more and more of these are nowadays just painted plastic.
Pricing, as I alluded to above, starts at $25,725 for this top of the line XSE model. This includes pretty much everything I discussed above except for a few options that contain some of the items – those options are one large package (XSE/XLE Connectivity) for $1,715 that includes Premium JBL Audio with Dynamic Navigation – so the 8″ touchscreen, nine JBL speakers, Subwoofer and Amplifier, USB ports, hands-free pretty much everything, Wireless Charging, SiriusXM, AppleCarPlay/AndroidAuto, WiFi, and various Connected Services for various amounts of time included, please see the online configurator for an exact itemized list of those services.
The Adaptive Lighting Package was $450 and while LED lighting all around is standard, the swiveling tech is included with this package as is special ambient lighting inside the cabin. Wheel locks for $67 and a Protection Package (Not TruCoat although “I hear they put that on at the factory…”), this seems to be Floor Mats, a trunk protector applique and a cargo net although my car was missing the cargo net for some reason, all together charged at a somewhat hefty $377.
Destination for $955 (this one was built in Japan so traveled a ways) and all that puts us at $29,289. That’s a hefty sum for a Corolla but someone will buy it, even if the majority will find a less comprehensively equipped one that will serve them just fine.
In fact, that’s how I’d buy a Corolla, start at the top and work my way down to see what I could live without, with as many versions as there are and even the top, most equipped one being far under the average vehicle transaction price these days, some little luxuries might well remain and be completely affordable. After all, even after the warranties expire, a Corolla is likely to need very little attention for a very long time.
The Corolla has been around for a long time, and while sedans are perhaps fading a bit, the Corolla eked out a slight sales gain in the US in 2019 vs 2018 (and introduced a non-sedan version to boot). With over 300,000 sold last year just in this market and about a million worldwide, albeit in some different locally adapted forms produced in over a dozen factories, there is likely still lots of profit in it.
As others (in this country at least) completely retreat from the small-car market in general and especially put smaller sedans behind them, I have confidence that the Corolla will be around for a long, long time yet to come and very possibly pick up business from others. Eventually those buyers may look for something else to replace their Corolla, at which time Toyota can likely convince them to look at their products first and perhaps stay inhouse, after all, some of the included bits may well already be very familiar. Corolla is the very definition of “long game”…a humble Juggernaut indeed that was there near the beginning and is only building on the past.
Thank you to Toyota for letting us borrow this car and supplying it with a full tank of fuel, we appreciate it.
Toyota continue their absolute mastery of providing the exact car that 99% of us need for 99% of the time. Every generation it feels like they sharpen their compromises to an even finer edge – ride vs handing, performance vs economy, price vs luxury, fun vs practicality. I would be all over this if I was in the market for a new car.
We’re living in the last days of the Internal Combustion Engine, and as each “last gasp” muscle car or Ferrari appears, we feel like they’re the ultimate expression of what can be done with fossil fuels. But maybe in reality this Corolla is the best there will ever be? The ultimate refinement of affordable mass transportation that still needs to be refilled at a petrol station?
Another great review. Since 2008, I have been leaning towards the Civic as the compact of choice – it seemed Toyota grew a bit lazy with the Corolla. But this latest version is very nice. Wow, 40-series tires – amazing…
Now if Toyota would only bring that upcoming GR hot hatch model to the US…
Low profile tire look nice but I prefer a little taller tires like 50 or 60 series to protect the rims against curbs and potholes.
The most intriguing thing to me is that transmission that combines a traditional first gear with a CVT. I wonder if this is what cracks the code for the 200k mile CVT – it makes some intuitive sense that relieving it of the first-gear-get-the-car-moving stress might put that technology to work where it is most useful. The availability of a stick shift is a pleasant surprise.
All in all, this looks to be a very pleasant car, one that packs a lot of value into a really nice package.
That XSE is not a bad looking package at all, can’t say I’ve ever seen one in person. It seems like where at least I live, 99% of the sedans are L & LE trims, and the hatchbacks are usually XSE, I’ve only seen one or two base SE hatches ever. I’m guessing it has to do with the sedan competing with the Camry for sales in the upper trims.
It is only a guess, but Toyota rarely offers the full line of models of any of their nameplates in all markets. As a result, most markets get the L and LE, and I would bet that an SE is next to impossible to find while an SE with manual would be a unicorn of sorts in most of the U.S.
As an example, I noticed that the Tacoma with a manual transmission disappeared from dealer availability in my area before Toyota officially withdrew it from the market.
And, I think that occasionally some colors of paint are not always available everywhere.
You’re definitely correct, when I looked at 4Runners a few years ago, Gulf States Toyota wouldn’t stock I believe it was red, or possibly blue, base SR5’s. It would actually gray out the previously available option on the Toyota website when you put your ZIP in.
This nameplate has mercilessly been the whipping boy of enthusiast press and comment threads for as long as I’ve been paying any attention. This one looks like a very strong effort worthy of bucking that trend, but it still gets little love in the press that looks only at sharp turn-in, 0-60 times, and brand perception. It’s nice to see a thorough and balanced review here, and it does align with the little pertinent information that has managed to get through the enthusiast filter: a more sophisticated and refined feeling chassis and suspension tune, a ride/handling balance description that reminds me of my MkV Jetta, comfortable seats and driving position, and decent control of road noise.
The SE with manual transmission would be my pick of the range. The hybrid is only available in the low LE trim and it is a $3000 upcharge over the gas-only LE. That’s a big ask for the low-performance Prius powertrain.
An aside: the hatchback rides on a shorter wheelbase and the backseat and cargo bay are absolutely tiny. It’s a curious discrepancy.
I haven’t driven a Corolla since the mid-aughts generation that still had rich velour upholstery and Lexus-aping interior plastics graining. Those were nice cars. The outgoing generation was hated nearly everywhere and I never drove it, but sitting inside it I could see some clear advantages: the backseat was huge and could serve as a fully functional midsize sedan in all ways but width. The interior materials were also far more competitive than anyone gave it credit for.
I don’t know how true it is, but some magazines and I think even Toyota themselves are touting the hybrid Corolla as being MORE fuel efficient than the Prius.
My sister is on her 3rd Prius and will probably trade it in for a new one within a year. The styling of the Prius is what kills it for me, though the 2019 re-fresh did go a ways to normalize the styling.
If I had no family and really wanted a vehicle this size, I might consider it if they could make the front end look less ugly and have it ride as nice as the Kia. And the steering – I like more road feel, Toyota.
This is the sharpest-looking Corolla since the SR5 coupe based on the 6th generation, and the least-frumpy Corolla sedan that Toyota has put forth. As Jim said, these will probably be around for a long time, especially as they mop up compact sales forfeited by GM and Ford. It’s just too bad the US doesn’t get the slick wagon that the rest of the world gets…
The wagon (called the TS, Touring Sports) 2.0 hybrid, 184 DIN-hp here, is the Corolla to have. Just € 1,000 more than the comparable hatchback. Longer wheelbase, roomier (obviously) and frankly, better looking too.
There’s also the Corolla TREK, which is a lifted TS (only by 20 mm) with The-Great-Ootdoors looks, inside and outside.
Good review Jim. I ike the color too, dark blue metallic, always good. The sedan is offered here, but it’s a niche of a niche, whereas the hatchbacks and especially the wagons are all over the place. The current Corolla sells much better than the previous Auris-series.
I didn’t know about the Corolla TREK; have to check that out, but I see plenty of hybrid wagons around. The wagon is indeed very good-looking while the hatch just looks kind of off. The Auris hybrid wagon I’ve only seen as taxis, and also is awkward-looking.
But to even be able to consider cars like a Corolla wagon is a benefit of emigrating from the US to NL. Back home, reasonably-priced “compact” wagons are long long gone from the new car market.
Hey, look at that!
Another perfect car for my needs, unavailable here in the USA.
I wanted to like the Corolla hatchback, but the tiny back seat ruled it out immediately.
Nice essay! I have a friend who bought her first Corolla in, I think, 1969. I know that in 1970 I rode in it. She is still buying Corollas!
Nice review. The overall profile of the Corolla is not bad, but I am not a fan of the front end and it has the same plastic triangle of shame in the back doors as the 1st gen Chevrolet Cruze and Cadillac CT5.
While I’ve never been enamored with any Toyota, they certainly have got it right with the Corolla.
First and foremost Toyota picked out a name and stuck with it. How many different names have GM and Ford slathered on cars this size? Toyota deserves credit for building name equity instead of starting over every five years.
Second, these are durable. Of the Toyotas I’ve driven, the Corolla has been the most pleasant.
Anecdotally, my brother-in-law has about 240k on the ’03 Corolla he acquired from his father-in-law’s estate. He’s about to break new ground as it is now to the point his wife’s old first generation Neon was when they sold it.
Incidentally, when they were here last week I noticed their ’09 Grand Caravan has 215k on it.
Toyota stuck with the Corolla name for decades. They changed their mid-size name once from Corona to Camry when switching from RWD to FWD in the US. But Corona survived in FWD form in other markets for more than a decade afterwards. On the other hand, Toyota has been rather fickle for the smaller-than-Corolla class: From Tercel to Echo to Yaris (and now cancelling Yaris after 2020)
The name equity thing is something that really only Honda and Toyota seem to realize, but it sure resonates with me. Sure, there are a few exceptions like Suburban, Mustang etc, but the domestic manufacturers and even Nissan and Mazda seem to ignore it. Though it’s hard for me to believe that the Corolla name is now more than 50 years old. I still remember when they were launched here in the US.
A great review. I’m quite a fan of the current Corolla, so much so I’m very close to putting money down on a new Touring Sports GR estate with the 2.0 180bhp hybrid. The only thing that’s niggling me is the CVT-only auto (unfortunately I need an auto for medical reasons) which doesn’t make the nicest of noises but I’m sure I could get used to it.
That would be a good choice! A splendid all-rounder of a car, with great fuel-efficiency.
Yesterday I did a configuration of a Corolla TREK 2.0 hybrid, I mentioned the TREK above. Same shade as the one below. I selected the 18” rims though, 17 is a wee too small to my taste. I mean, you have to do something these days, on a rainy Sunday….
Jim, I concur.
I bought a new ’19 Corolla SE hatchback 15 months ago. Mine’s a six speed manual. This is the first Toyota I’ve owned and I am very satisfied with the car.
First choice was a Golf GTi – mainly for conservative looks and German interior design. But I can not tolerate the lack of VW dealers in the west. The SE hatch serves my bicycle fetish though the front wheel and fender (if it has one) need to be removed from the bike.
Last weekend the Corolla did a two person, one bike round trip from Wyoming to central Missouri – 810 miles each direction. 40mpg but that dropped by 5 on the return trip driving straight into a strong west wind across Nebraska. Car was perfectly comfortable and not irritating in any way.
I did obliterate a racoon at 80mph in the dark at 4:50am so I will need some plastic replaced. We are grateful that the air bags did not trigger.
The looks of the car are jarring to me; it is the only complaint but I knew going in. I am pleased with this car and will keep it a long time.
Might be time for a new Corolla, my ’09 XRS I bought new just hit 80K miles. Don’t have a nickel in it other than routine maintenance but there is an empty bay open in the garage so…….
Ever since the Toyota Corolla came into existence starting in 1966, here is the Evolutionary Family Tree of the U.S. Market Toyota Corolla from 1966 through current.
I only posted the Four Door Sedan models since these were and continue to be more common than either the Two Door Coupe’ or the Wagon. The First Generation Corolla was introduced in Japan in 1966, but we didn’t get ours until 1967 or 1968 so when I mentioned 1966 that’s the same basic First Generation design introduced first in Japan.
I was a kid when they first started showing up around 1968 and at the time I didn’t see the point because of their being even smaller than the already small Coronas that Toyota was importing at the same time. However, they both started getting bigger over time and the Corona was eventually replaced by the Camry.
This is the perfect car for a lot of people, and I agree that it looks more handsome than it has in a very long time.
As far as safety tech, given that Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Hyundai, Kia et al. give you a bunch of stuff standard, I wonder how long the German automakers are going to get away with charging extra for it. I once got a 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i loaner (MSRP $90K) and was floored to notice the adaptive cruise radar missing from the front bumper.
It’s not just the Germans. Take a look at full size pickup trucks and their profit margins and then look at which level you need to start at to get this stuff even as an option. Much of it is simply not even available until halfway up the range. If Toyota can do it on the cars they many people seem to insist are barely profitable then why can’t it be in vehicles that everyone agrees are hugely profitable?
I would counter that Full Size trucks are not hugely profitable in and of themselves, the trim packages and options are where the real profits are.
That said Co-Pilot 360 is standard on the F-150 XLT for 2021 and optional, with other required equipment on the XL. If you do spring for the XLT then you can get the assist package which gives you the adaptive cruise with stop and go, lane centering, though again you have to have other options to get that.
However I don’t think that those features are going to make it on to base model trucks as a standard feature any time soon. The problem is compatibility with up fitting. For example that Blind spot and cross traffic system uses data from the reverse sensing system in addition to other sensors. Those sensors reside in the rear bumper and fact is some vocational up fits replace or remove the rear bumper. Same thing applies up front, push bars, grille guards, winch mounts are not uncommon up fits for fleet vehicles and all could cause problems with the sensors for things like pre-collision braking.
Yes eventually the aftermarket will eventually catch up and have their equipment designed and certified to accept or work with the sensors.
The Corolla is the perfect commuter car for those that need economical, reliable transportation. Not surprisingly, the Corolla sells disproportionately strong in Southern California to the very large Latino population, as it is favored by the vast numbers of domestic and other workers who need to get to their jobs, which are invariably quite some distance from their homes.
In fact one of main reasons Toyota USA decided to offer the hybrid version in the Corolla is because for some reasons Latinos shun the Prius, as it’s seen as a very “white” car.
Thanks for a good review of a car in a class I may be shopping for soon, if I can persuade my daughter not to get a compact CUV instead. The value per dollar for one of the lower trim models far exceeds that of the RAV-4 and its competitors. Thanks for pointing out the same materials, seats, etc. were used on equivalent models of the Corolla and RAV-4, which would underscores this point.
I have always had great respect for the Corolla, but generally preferred the Civic or Jetta/Golf for their sportier feel and generally cleaner styling (at least, until the last generation or two of the Civic arrived). These days, it seems the Corolla would be the best choice of those three, with its unimpeachable reputation for reliability coupled with the safety tech and general level of refinement noted here.
What exactly is “simulated leather”? I hope not just a new name for vinyl. I thought those days were past. Can I have cloth instead please?
Well. Toyota no longer has a monopoly on reliable transportation modules and I’d look carefully at a Hyundai/kia before dropping 20k on this. From other people’s experiences, the cruze wasn’t any great loss in this segment as it wasn’t very reliable. I’d still look at a journey while it’s still being made for the added cargo capacity/accessibility.
At 30k, a lot of much better cars become available and my choice would be a 300, which is FUN to drive. There would be a lot of better choices for 30k including cpo luxury brands.
I’d also pay extra NOT to have all that lane departure blind spot warning beepy distracting equipment.
How is it that considering a CPO (ie used) car is always a contender but for some reason it’s never considered that the subject vehicle could also be acquired as a used car for less money? At which point of course there is again a price differential.
All the safety items can be turned off. For me I’m happy cars have them so that hopefully it helps to keep someone else from ramming into me. If a beeps at you you’re about to have an accident, if you’re a perfect driver it would never come into play anyway.
I’ve actually owned a Chrysler 300. While a fine car, this Corolla is far more “fun” to drive.
You are spot on. Kia/Hyundai has them beat hands down in every aspect.
This looks much better in that dark color than the white rental you reviewed earlier, as the baleen-esque grill isn’t so obvious. Good for Toyota on adding an actual first-gear gear to the CVT.
@ jim; the reason I didn’t mention considering one of these used v a cpo luxury car is that in my experience a) most of the used middle market cars are off rental and those are much harder miles than one owner luxury car lease miles and b) especially for toyotas and hondas, the price differential between used and new is negligible. Used toyotas and hondas cost just as much, if not only slightly less than their new counterparts whereas something like a new lincoln mk?? Whatever the lincoln fusion is drops by 40% compared with a new model.
All the safety features in the world won’t help if the person behind the wheel is an idiot, like in atlanta.
Clearly, this is an ideal car for many people, maybe good and characterful enough to engage some enthusiasts but also absolutely spot on to many non-enthusiast owners and their needs. Capable, reliable, affordable, equipped. So what if it’s a bit dull, so’s my PC.
But could you forgive it that front end? Maybe just, in that dark blue in the dark but in a lighter colour it must look like some form of snow plough? And I suspect those 40 section tyres and wheels will suffer on rougher roads.
Can’t argue with the value, especially compared with UK prices, which start at £24k.
Oops, I could be wrong about this cos here are a bunch of three year old corollas with low miles at some significant savings. https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2018/
I thoroughly enjoy and find Corollas appealing, as multiples have been owned in my family, and all were as reliable as the sun. It certainly is the the car for all people, because last year it was the largest selling nameplate on a passenger car in the world. This newest generation has a big stumbling block for me, however, and that’s the reduction of over six inches of rear legroom. Japan reintroduced the “global” Corolla in this generation to their market, and that dictated a much smaller base to work with due to taxation laws (their previous generation was Yaris-based, new Japanese Corolla sedans and wagons share the shorter wheelbase of the hatchback, and are also significantly shorter and narrower, but have near identical styling). I feel now the Corolla is one of the tighter sized interiors in its class, and the hatchback is borderline unacceptable for me, period. It’s a shame because the new multi-link suspension and the 2.0 four transmission combos are serious upgrades. I wonder how blunted a LE would be with the lesser engine and the regular CTV, because at $21.5 K out the door, it’s positively loaded at that price point compared to nearly anything else.
This is a very good transportation tool. But it is behind the curve because Toyota insists ignoring the electrified trend, so it is no word whether there will be a pure electric version in the near future. Note Corolla main market will ban to sell such vehicle in 15 years. Actually Toyota can quickly make the electric version by using its partner BYD drive train and battery into this excellent chassis, or using the Fuji Electric motor and invertor from Subaru empire. In my view, this world need a electric version of Corolla more Tesla 3 to flight global warming and carbon reduction.
Tygerleo: If there would have been an electric version when I bought my Corolla it would not have mattered; I would have still bought the 2.0 ICE. If Corolla had only been electric I would have ignored it.
It may be that this is the last, best of ICE cars. If so, I am glad I got a good one and I like it just the way it is.
Maybe Toyota knows more about marketing cars than you think they do.
There’s been a gigantic amount of bollocks written about Corollas over the years. Pedro’s picture above has made me realize I’ve driven every single generation, bar this latest. And all were absolutely competitive cars for their eras.
Sure, the ’70’s ones were a bit slow and certainly inefficient compared to a flashy FWD Euro like a Golf, but so were all the Japanese (and T-car) competitors. In fact, it’s only those E40 (I think) ’70’s ones that really were the only dull ones, being equipped with the little 1.3 in many markets. All the rest, before and after, had real virtues as enjoyable things to flog along, perhaps especially knowing you’d have to empty the sump and set fire to it before any amount of your abuse would kill them.
Maybe they weren’t Best in class each time, yet for many of us, best is the one that does 95% of what Best does, but does that 95% every single time.
Look at this thing – really does make something like a Mercedes A-class look silly (and that’s from me, a known lover of the A-class). It has one of everything modern that opens and shuts, is super-competent, and I haven’t the slightest doubt a good driver could harry a Golf driver in it without trying. By which I mean, in the real world, modern cars do not have meaningful dynamic deficiencies: old Corollas, like all old cars, did, and criticism of the missing 10% to a Golf was completely justified. Not now, and not for many years, either.
I do have to add to the chorus of More Senior Lower Winds on one thing, though – good god that front looks f*ing awful.
In which it is, ofcourse, as utterly competitive today as ever it was.
This is a car that I am seriously considering for purchase. The car I am cross-shopping it with would be a lower-level trimmed version of the Camry which would cost about the same and have more room, but with similar performance and gas mileage. It is surprising how good the gas mileage of the 4-cylinder Camry is.
I suppose most people will cross-shop it with small Toyota’s CUVs such as the C-HR and RAV4. The Corolla has a baked-in intrinsic goodness about it. I keep thinking to myself that it should be cross-shopped with cars such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA, the Audi A3 and the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe.
Junk. Toyota is the new GM. They expect people to come back by reputation, but that reputation is gone. The Corolla I rented was very rough-edged, LE model or not. The glove box falls open with a thud; my 2015 Kia Soul’s floats open softly, as does anything else that moves and can be damped. The Corolla is a very disappointing ride. The engine/transmission is a ridiculous mish-mash of confusion and droning. I was very glad to get my smoother, quieter Soul out of the shop (previous owner’s negligence of the oil changes required an engine flush. No fault of Kia. All is now well at 95000 miles.). It is smoother, quieter, and more responsive and much better to drive overall than the junk Corolla. Don’t fall for the name anymore. It’s not a quality thing anymore. Just resting on its laurels like GM thought it was.