I have driven many different vehicles since the mid 1960s and cars have certainly evolved over the years. I have also done minor repairs and maintenance on cars. Have owned several sports cars and even a Honda Hybrid a few years ago. The Corolla offers the best of all worlds. Over 30 mpg city (32 to 34), with the standard transmission. A solidly built and realible vehicle, good gas mileage, fun to drive and attractive enough in design and style (the "s" model). While the Corolla may be a bit more expensive than similar competitors, "you get what you pay for". Toyota's reliability is worth the price alone.
Gas mileage close enough to the hybrid, but with significantly more engine power. "S" model is attractive enough, without the sports car price or the potential for speeding tickets. Also love the Corolla's reliability.