The Corolla is Toyota’s long-running entrant in the compact car class. It competes with models like the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus (see their specs compared here).
For 2017, the Corolla gets updated front styling and new standard features, like a backup camera. There are new standard active safety features, too, including forward pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and prevention, automatic high-beam headlights and adaptive cruise control.
The Toyota Corolla base price starts at $19,365, including an $865 destination charge. We tested an uplevel XLE trim with an as-tested price of $24,086 and EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28/36/32 mpg city/highway/combined.
Exterior and Styling
Toyota’s exterior styling has become more distinctive in recent years, and the Corolla shows how the brand’s look has evolved. With a massive lower grille, slim upper grille and slit-like LED headlights, the Toyota Corolla’s front end has an aggressive — if slightly cartoonish — look. It’s quite a departure from the rest of the car’s traditional styling.
Standard features include LED daytime running lights, power side mirrors and 15-inch steel wheels. The XLE trim gets 16-inch alloy wheels and adds a power moonroof.
How It Drives
There are aspects of the Toyota Corolla driving experience that don’t let you forget you’re in an economy car. Competitors like the Cruze, Civic and Mazda3, by comparison, make you feel like you’re driving a more expensive car.
The Corolla’s drivetrain is a good example of this. In most trim levels, a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder engine works with a continuously variable automatic transmission. While I like the CVT’s responsiveness, which helps make the most of the four-cylinder’s power, its persistent droning sounds are a drag. The four-cylinder gets the car up to highway speeds reasonably well, but like other compact car engines, it has modest power to spare for high-speed passing.
The Corolla’s ride quality also underwhelmed. Like many compact cars, the Corolla has a firm, controlled ride, but there’s an unappealing brittleness to the Toyota’s suspension tuning and you end up feeling more road imperfections than you’d care to. That said, the car is settled and confident at highway speeds and there’s minimal body roll in corners.