Produced by Toyota since 1966, the Toyota Corolla has been in the automobile market for 50 years. The model has slowly evolved over time to keep up with changes in technology and contemporary design. Its origins as a subcompact car have long been abandoned for its current design, officially classified as a compact vehicle.
For 2017, Toyota is releasing a special version of the Corolla called the 50th Anniversary Special Edition. It features special badging, 17” alloy wheels, 50th-anniversary floor mats, black cherry interior accents and black cherry contrast accents.
Besides the 50th Anniversary Special Edition, the Corolla is also offered in seven other trim levels, for eight trim levels in all:
- L (base model)
- LE Eco (includes a special Eco driving mode)
- SE 6MT (manual transmission version of the SE)
- 50th Anniversary Special Edition
The Corolla, being a compact car, stands at a height of 4 feet, 9 inches. It is about 15 feet long and 5 feet wide. The trunk volume is 13 cubic feet and the volume for passengers in the interior is just under 100 cubic feet, at 97.5 ft3. All models of the Corolla have four doors and seat five passengers.
The MSRP lists the base models of the Corolla, the L and LE, at $19,800. The LE Eco version is $400 more, listed at $20,200. The SE model jumps more than $1000 and breaks the $21k mark, as its MSRP is listed at $21,310. The manual version of the SE is about $1200 more at $22,530. Toyota lists the XLE at $23,215, and the 50th Anniversary Edition is priced $400 more than that at $23,615. Finally, the top of the line XSE tops out at around $24k with its MSRP of $24,070.
Performance, safety, and entertainment features vary by model of the Corolla. The top of the line trim level, the XSE, has all the bells and whistles of luxury features for safety, entertainment, convenience, and comfort. Other models can be upgraded with different packages that allow you to customize particular features.
All models of the Corolla, aside from the LE Eco version, include a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The double overhead cam (DOHC) engine has 16 valves and makes use of dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), a valve technology developed by Toyota which improves fuel efficiency. This engine produces 132 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 128 lb.-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm.
The LE Eco version also features a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with a DOHC and 16 valves, but it features Toyota’s Valvematic technology, first introduced in 2008, which is an electronic valve timing system that is designed to improve engine performance (by 10 percent) while also reducing fuel consumption, by as much as 15 percent, during regular driving conditions. It produces slightly more horsepower – 140 at 6100 rpm and 126 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. It is only available on the LE Eco model of the Corolla.
Standard now on all Corollas is Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes the following safety features:
- Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, to help you maintain control of the vehicle in adverse weather conditions.
- Traction Control
- Anti-Lock Brake System
- Electronic Brake-Force Distribution
- Brake Assist
- Smart-Stop Technology
All vehicles are also equipped with eight airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, and body panels that are strongly constructed and designed to protect the driver and passengers in the event of an accident.
Other advanced safety features include a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with controls for audio, Bluetooth (including voice command), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, which visually and audibly alerts you when you are veering out of a lane of traffic. The steering assist helps to guide the car back to safety.
All models of the Corolla include some version of the Entune Audio System. It is offered at three levels – Entune base, Entune Plus, and Entune Premium. The type of system included depends on the trim level that you select.
The Corolla L, LE, and SE are equipped with the base level Entune Audio system, which includes:
- 1” touchscreen
- iPod, USB< and aux inputs
- Bluetooth hands-free calling
- music streaming
- Siri hands-free using your compatible iPhone
Upper-level Corolla models feature either the Entune Plus (which has a bigger touchscreen at 7” and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and a navigation app in addition to the above-mentioned features) and Entune Premium audio, which includes integrated navigation and an app suite.
Additional packages enabling you to customize your model of the Corolla are available for additional costs. This is helpful if you want to save money by choosing a lower trim level but want to upgrade certain features.
Available on the LE:
- LE Premium Package: upgrades the Entune Audio System to the Plus version. It also adds 16” alloy wheels, a roof mounted antenna, and LED daytime running lights.
- LE Premium Package with Moonroof: includes all of the above features plus a moonroof.
Available on the SE:
- SE Premium Package: upgrades the Entune Audio System to the Plus version, Toyota’s SmartKey system for the front doors and trunk, a push-button ignition, and moonroof.
Available on the XLE and XSE:
- Entune Premium Audio package, which upgrades the existing audio system to the premium version.
- Available on the 50th Anniversary Edition:
- Moonroof Package, which adds a moonroof with a sliding sunshade.
With the Corolla’s new look for 2017, it is much more daring and edgy than previous models. Its interior is spacious and ergonomically designed. It stands up very well against the competition, including the Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. It is generally considered to be more reliable and more stylish than the Civic or even a Ford Focus. It is a car that has been around for a long time and a favored choice for seasoned commuters.
No other vehicles in its class offer as much standard safety features as the Corolla. It is clear that Toyota is invested in continuing to produce cars that are safe and reliable, even as the technology to do so becomes more complex.
It is also priced similarly to its competition when compared to the Ford Focus and Honda Civic. All of these vehicle’s base prices are between $18k-$19k.
The LE Eco stands out with its fuel efficiency ratings, since it is equipped with Toyota’s Valvematic technology and engineered to decrease fuel consumption while increasing performance.
- LE Eco: 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg highway
- SE 6MT: (6-speed manual): 27 mpg city, 35 mpg highway
- All other models: 28 mpg city, 36 mpg highway
- CVT transmission is innovative and optimizes performance and fuel efficiency.
- Affordable – MSRPs are in similar ranges as the competition.
- Strong reputation for value and reliability
- Lots of standard safety equipment features
- Larger backseat than its competition – meaning there’s more room for rear passengers.
- Could use a bit more pick-up power
- No hybrid offering if you are concerned with fuel efficiency and/or emissions.
- No V6 engine option – you have to upgrade to the larger Camry for that.
Overall, the Corolla is a fantastic choice for you if you are concerned about fuel efficiency and performance but also want quality and reliability. It continues to be one of the most reliable cars in its class, especially when compared to the Honda Civic or Ford Focus. It is functional and safe, but also stylish and sporty with its newly designed interior and exterior. At the same time, it is also affordable and less expensive than other cars like it. Finally, the Corolla offers more standard options than the competition, particularly in the areas of entertainment and safety.