The Corolla may wear its automotive appliance status on its sleeve but it is a car that fulfills its intended function and makes car ownership fuss-free.
The Toyota Corolla sold more than 300,000 units this year in North America, which should come as a surprise to no one — it’s the best selling car in the world for many good reasons. This nameplate is the poster child for the quintessential no-frills, affordable car.
The mild refresh in 2017 brought subtle changes to the exterior and interior, strengthening its prospects in the rapidly improving compact sedan segment. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of this massively popular car.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Toyota Corolla Review
2018 Toyota Corolla Pros and Cons
Standard Safety: In addition to having the usual front and side airbags as standard equipment, Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of driver assistance features that includes lane departure alert with steering assist, a reverse camera, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control comes standard on all models. Even more impressive, every Corolla has LED headlights installed from the factory, which is something not seen in many of its competitors.
Benchmark Rear Seat Legroom: For a vehicle with typical compact car exterior dimensions, the Corolla’s more than 40 inches of rear seat space is not too far off from its bigger midsize sibling, the Camry. This puts it several inches above most of its competitors.
It Will Probably Run Forever: This vehicle doesn’t need to prove that it’s a reliability superstar. Its legacy speaks for itself and owning a Corolla means you won’t be going to the mechanic often — it’s not crazy to see six-digit odometer readings without experiencing any major mechanical issues. Long-term ownership costs are cheap due to Toyota’s impeccable build quality and bulletproof engine design. For this reason, resale values are also quite solid.
Distinct Individual Trim Levels: The Corolla comes in differing trim levels. The LE Eco model emphasizes fuel economy while still offering impressive standard features. The L and LE trims are the entry-level trims for this vehicle and are for consumers in need of a cheap and dependable vehicle. The SE has a more sporting bent and even comes with upgraded shocks to tighten the driving feel. Finally, the XSE adds a touch of luxury to the proceedings and acts as the premium trim level for the model.
Corollas are even available with heated seats, a push-button start, keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-like seating, a sunroof, and navigation as options.
Nothing Will Excite You: The Corolla does a lot of things well and it does them so well that it can oddly become a negative attribute after a while. The driving experience in this car is completely predictable and nothing ever surprises you, good or bad. If you need a vehicle with a semblance of character or engaging driving, look elsewhere.
Chintzy Interior Trim Pieces: The Corolla has a fairly minimalist dashboard and center console design with intuitive and easy-to-reach controls, but the materials used are quite sub-par. The expanses of hard plastic on the doors, B-pillars and even the gear lever could have been executed better. Even the top trim XSE’s attempts to rectify this fall short of expectations.
Outdated Powertrain: In a segment filled with advanced turbo engines, direct injection, forward-thinking hybrid engine designs, and advanced automatic transmissions, the Corolla is left feeling dated with its decades-old 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT. The combination works well in the city but makes highway driving a bit depressing.
No Blind Spot Monitoring: Weirdly, blind spot monitoring isn’t available in any Corolla, technology that drivers find very useful. The adaptive cruise control also doesn’t work in stop-and-go traffic and is meant exclusively for highway use.
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