Wise with Age – But Keeping it Young!
By Kevin Joostema, Partner, Car-ED.com | July 2017
The 2017 Toyota Corolla brings a long list of updates to its minor cycle refresh that allow it to continue to be a wise choice to get you through the grind of daily life. Whether it is your trip to high school, to college, your commute to work, daily runs to the grocery store and Target or even Starbucks runs, the Corolla provides a safe and secure feeling to leave home with and return every day.
What is this vehicle?
The Corolla is the compact sedan offer from Toyota – and is one of the highest selling nameplates in the world. The 50th anniversary edition was available in 2016 as the first generation was launched back in 1966.
The Corolla became the best selling model in the world back in 1997 – surpassing the VW Beetle. Over 40 million have been sold and this is the 11th generation of the Corolla. The Corolla, along with the Honda Civic and the Ford Focus and to a lesser extent the VW Golf (as a hatchback), define the continuum of the Compact Sedan segment in the US marketplace.
Who is this vehicle for?
Anyone looking at a Compact Sedan; there is no one type of owner, but it often can be for the first time vehicle owner that is focused most strongly on Quality, Reliability, Fuel Economy, and Price.
With its heritage and top global sales title, the Corolla is positioned to appeal to first time buyers. Increasingly, the vehicle is receiving additional style elements and performance cues to support the effort to attract the young, first time buyer.
Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer?
The king of Quality, Reliability, and Durability – the Corolla provides everything one needs in a sedan; along with the latest technologies for safety and connectivity. It often, after the Korean-brand offers, has some of the most aggressive transaction prices – meaning one can expect to get one of the best deals possible in the market with this model.
It is also made in in Blue Springs, Mississippi, supporting jobs in the USA.
Interesting facts about the Corolla!
- Introduced in 1966, it has sold over 40 million cars since then.
- In 1997 it became the best selling model in the world – surpassing the VW Beetle.
- Corolla means “Small Crown” in Latin; it was named this because Toyota had a tradition of naming its sedans in relation to their original Toyota Crown model – and this was the “small” sedan in relation to the original, larger Crown sedan.
What Impressed Us / Top Likes:
1 – We have mentioned elsewhere the fact the Toyota Safety Sense is standard on all Toyotas by the end of 2017. It is standard on the Toyota Corolla.
This is impressive. No other OEMs seem to be making as large an installation commitment on these advanced driving and safety technologies as Toyota.
For the Corolla, this means 4 technologies are standard. They are:
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection(PCS w/PD),
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
- Auto High Beams (AHB),
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) (called Adaptive Cruise Control by others, or ACC)
You can view these settings in the center, color Multi-Information Display.
A description of each one – from the Toyota website – is provided below:
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection(PCS w/PD):
Using an in-vehicle camera and radar to help detect a vehicle or a pedestrian in front of you, the Pre-Collision System 18 with Pedestrian Detection 20 (PCS w/PD) can help you mitigate or avoid a potential collision. If the system determines that a frontal collision is likely, it prompts you to take action using audio and visual alerts. If you notice the potential collision and apply the brakes, PCS w/PD may apply additional force using Brake Assist (BA). 17 If you don’t brake in time, it may automatically apply the brakes to reduce your speed, helping to minimize the likelihood of a frontal collision or reduce its severity.
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
This is actually 2 technologies together – one gives you an alert to leaving your lane; the second actually steers you back slightly from crossing out of the lane (so you are really getting five technologies with the Corolla and TSS – not four.) Under certain circumstances, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) 12 is designed to detect lane departure on roads with clear markings. LDA only activates when you’re traveling at a speed of 32 mph or faster. When you hear and see the alert, after carefully checking the road around you, you should safely direct your vehicle back to the center of your lane. In addition, Toyota vehicles equipped with Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) 19 and Electronic Power Steering (EPS) include Steering Assist 16 functionality. When it’s activated and senses that you’re unintentionally drifting, the system may automatically make small corrective steering inputs to help keep your vehicle in its lane.
2 – The rear seating area is segment leading – it has 41.4 inches or rear leg room. That is the most in the segment and even beats some Midsize Sedans – like the current 2017 Camry.
3 – There is a much improved infotainment touchscreen now available on all trims. There is a new 6.1in screen on most trims, and the upper XSE trim has a new 7.0in screen (shown here). The new interface is faster and feels more “up-to-date” or competitive with the segment. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are missing, but that is not necessarily a bad thing to us.
4 – Stylish components have been designed and are available on upper trims – giving the opportunity to make the Corolla look as rich as larger, more expensive segments. This is a trend overall for compact cars – and we were surprised the Corolla has these options as well. For example – the new front fascia with LED Daytime Running Lights and LED lights are available. 17 inch wheels are available with painted black or grey accents. The blue piping on the interior seating is also subtley executed to give a pop of style to the interior.
Items to Make Better (Least Favorite Things):
1 – The same engine remains in the Corolla as when it launched in 2013. It is the 1.8 liter 4 cylinder that is the old workhouse of Toyota compact offerings. It produces 132 hp / 128 lb-ft of torque. To be honest, this engine is a bit passive – e.g. slow – while driving around and mated to the CVT (Continously Variable Transmission)
However, the saving grace for everyday driving is the Sport Mode button, located behind the shifter and before the cup holders in the center console. By activating the Sport mode you can boost your everyday dynamics. Of course, you are giving up a little in fuel efficiency, but the extra oomph in getting around is sometimes needed in the jam-packed schedules of most people today.
When in Sport mode the center, color Multi-Information Display has a Red sport bar across the top.
2 – USB ports: Additional USB connections should be available simply for charging purposes in the back seat. USB ports are like the cup holders of the 90s – you can’t have too many.
Segment and Competitors:
The leading Compact Sedans with the Corolla are:
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic
- Nissan Sentra
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Mazda 3
- Hyundai Elantra
- Kia Forte
- VW Jetta
Lately, Compact SUVs and Small SUVs are also giving the traditional Compact Sedans additional competition through expanding offerings and similar price points but SUV imagery and AWD offers.
As mentioned prior, the Toyota Safety Sense offering is unique as standard equipment, regardless of trim level.
The Corolla is also unique, but not alone, in offering an ECO version with the LE ECO trim (getting 40 mpg hwy vs. 35/36 on other trims).
The Corolla is also unique in offering the Corolla iM in its model lineup. This is a 5 door hatchback version under the Corolla name that used to be under the Scion brand. Having this bodystyle lets Corolla also compete with the Compact Hatches led by the award-winning VW Golf and other utilitarian oriented hatches offered.
For other specifications and equipment go to:
and see if the Corolla or other Compact vehicle best connects to you.
Pricing and Availability:
MSRP starts at $18,500, going all the way up to 22,680 for the XSE trim, with additional optional content available as well. As delivered and tested, our XSE model cost $24,830. Available at all Toyota dealers with deals leading into the 2018 model year