What Is It?
The 2016 Toyota Corolla Special Edition is a low-volume variation of the existing Corolla S Plus trim level that adds special styling elements inside and out.
What's New About This Model?
The 2016 Corolla Special Edition adds to the S Plus trim level with special 17-inch gloss black wheels that match the Corolla's existing gloss black grille. Inside there are red accents on the dash and doors as well as red contrast stitching and unique cloth upholstery. Available colors are Super White, Black Sand Pearl and, unique to the Special Edition, the pictured Absolutely Red. Push-button start is the only non-aesthetic feature that is added.
What Standard and Optional Equipment Is Available?
Like the S Plus, the Special Edition gets paddle shifters for its continuously variable transmission (CVT — gears and shifts are simulated), rear disc brakes, firmer suspension tuning and a Sport driving mode that sharpens throttle and transmission response.
Other standard, noteworthy features are LED headlights, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, more supportive front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a driver knee airbag and a unique passenger seat cushion airbag. A navigation system, Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone apps and a sunroof are optional.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Toyota will only produce 8,000 Special Edition Corollas between August and December 2015. Look for it at dealers between those months.
How Much Does It Cost?
No official pricing has been released yet, but given the price of the S Plus in 2015, expect it to be just above $20,000.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
The Special Edition comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Standard is a CVT that includes shift paddles and simulated gears. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined (29 city/37 highway).
What Models Can It Be Compared To?
The Toyota Corolla, be it the Special Edition or otherwise, falls short of being among our top-rated compact cars. These include:
The Mazda 3, which not only provides Mazda's expected rewarding handling and genuine personality, but also delivers top-notch fuel economy, a well-composed ride, generous passenger space, user-friendly tech features and superior interior quality.
The Kia Forte goes beyond Kia's typical selling points of a long warranty and generous feature content with strong acceleration, commendable fuel economy and a spacious interior that boasts classic design, user-friendly controls and top-notch materials.
The dollars and sense elements that frequently attract customers to the Corolla — reliability, low running costs, strong resale value — are just as present in the Honda Civic. However, Honda's stalwart sedan is sharper to drive and has an airier cabin and a more comfortable, composed ride.
Should You Wait for It?
You'd really have to yearn for gloss black wheels and red interior trim for it to be worth waiting for this Corolla.