2015 Toyota Corolla Review
2015 Toyota Corolla Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Copious rear legroom
- impressive fuel economy
- user-friendly controls
- generous standard equipment
- pleasant ride.
- Modest acceleration
- indifferent handling
- L trim's outdated four-speed automatic transmission.
Following a full redesign last year, the 2015 Corolla adds a fold-down rear center armrest to all trim levels except the base L. The "Premium" sub-trims also receive the Driver Convenience package as standard.
The 2015 Toyota Corolla isn't built to excite, but its sensible blend of fuel economy, features, versatility and value make it a compelling choice for typical small sedan shoppers.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 Toyota Corolla L 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$121/mo for Corolla L
Avg. Midsize Car
If the 2015 Toyota Corolla was somehow competing on a reality TV show it'd probably be voted off in the first few rounds. It's just not an attention-grabbing kind of car. But for a majority of small sedan shoppers, having a car that avoids histrionics is exactly the point. If you're somebody who just wants to set it and forget it with a minimal amount of fuss, chances are you'll find plenty about the 2015 Corolla that's to your liking.
Coming after a complete overhaul last year, the latest Corolla's restyled exterior won't exactly blow your hair back, but the fresh interior is a big step forward, bringing a newfound sense of style along with widely available niceties like a user-friendly touchscreen and automatic climate control. The backseat's cavernous legroom gives the compact Corolla near-midsize passenger space, while the continuously variable transmission (CVT) enables stellar fuel economy. Throw in the Corolla's pretty high crash test scores and its historically robust reliability and you've got pretty much everything most people need and want for a small sedan.
Just keep in mind that if you value driver engagement, the Corolla remains one of the least inspiring options in this class. More dynamic alternatives include the sophisticated and similarly fuel-efficient 2015 Mazda 3 and the frugal yet fun-to-drive Ford Focus. Although the 2015 Hyundai Elantra lacks that sporty edge, it does offer ample style at an attractive price, and the always-popular Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta have been remade into strong all-around contenders. But considering its undeniable appeal for the money, this Toyota still earns a solid Edmunds.com "B" rating. Other small cars will steal the headlines, but don't let that distract you from the 2015 Corolla's fundamental competence.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Toyota Corolla is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that comes in two different versions. On every trim level except the LE Eco, it produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. The LE Eco's more efficient version also makes a little more power, checking in at 140 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque.
The base Corolla L comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, offering a four-speed automatic as an option. The other trims feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT), though the S can also be ordered with the six-speed manual.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Corolla LE Eco sauntered to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, comparable to a CVT-equipped Honda Civic but nearly a full second behind the Ford Focus and Mazda 3.
EPA-estimated fuel economy varies depending on which Corolla you choose. It checks in at 31 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway) with the four-speed automatic and also 31 mpg combined (28/37) with the six-speed manual. The CVT returns 32 mpg combined (29/38) in the LE and a comparable 32 mpg combined (29/37) in the S. The LE Eco leads the way at 35 mpg combined (30/42) in standard form and 34 mpg combined (30/40) in Plus or Premium form.
Standard on every 2015 Toyota Corolla are stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and a passenger seat cushion airbag. A rearview camera is standard on all trims except the base L.
Note that most 2015 Corollas feature cheaper rear drum brakes, with only the S Plus and S Premium upgrading to rear discs. In Edmunds brake testing, a Corolla LE Eco with the rear drums stopped from 60 mph in 130 feet, a longer than average result.
In government crash testing, the Corolla earned the top overall rating of five stars, including five stars for frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Corolla its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, though, the Corolla received the second-lowest rating of "Marginal." Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Despite last year's complete redesign, the 2015 Toyota Corolla delivers much the same driving experience as its predecessor. Partly, that's down to Toyota's tried-and-true but generally underwhelming 1.8-liter engine. Acceleration is adequate but nothing more. The LE Eco's version gets some tweaks that add a few horsepower, but we couldn't detect a difference. We do like the CVT, as it has computer-simulated "shifts" to mitigate the typical CVT's constant-rpm drone during acceleration. Skip the archaic four-speed automatic in the base L unless the price is simply too good to pass up.
The Corolla's handling, too, is familiar. Sporty S-trim touches notwithstanding, there's no playfulness to be found here; instead, enthusiastic driving around turns is met with a lifeless steering feel and pronounced body roll. Instead, this car is all about no-hassle commuting comfort, with a quiet, compliant ride that makes the daily grind seem less onerous.
The current Corolla's cabin is easily the most interesting one to date, and yes, we realize that's not saying much. Still, it's clear that the designers were given freer rein this time, and the result is a reasonably stylish dashboard, accented by un-Corolla-like flourishes such as a sportily contoured steering wheel and an eye-catching asymmetrical shifter surround. The top priority remains ease of use, so the various audio interfaces employ tried-and-true knobs for volume and tuning, while the LE-and-up automatic climate-control panel (a welcome luxury in this price bracket) consists of a large knob and a few foolproof buttons.
Another pleasant surprise is the 6.1-inch touchscreen interface, also standard on LE and above, which provides large virtual buttons and simple, clear graphics. The screen responds quickly to inputs, and its feature set is generous for an economy car offering. The available Entune App Suite integrates smartphone-connected services from Bing, Facebook, Yelp and Pandora, among others, as well as real-time traffic data and sports and stock information. Note that getting started with Entune can be a bit of a hassle, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account.
The Corolla's front seats provide generally adequate comfort, particularly the S trim's better-bolstered chairs, though some may wish for more lumbar support. Also, longer-legged drivers could use more range from the telescoping steering wheel. Thanks in part to a 3.9-inch-longer wheelbase than the previous Corolla, the current car offers considerably more rear legroom than most small sedans, if not a commensurate amount of headroom. The middle rear position is made more hospitable by the nearly flat floor, which lacks the traditional center "hump." Trunk capacity is average at 13 cubic feet, but the wide opening facilitates loading and unloading.
2015 Toyota Corolla models
The 2015 Toyota Corolla is a five-passenger compact sedan available in four main trim levels: L, LE, LE Eco and S. All but the L are further offered in Plus and Premium sub-trims.
Standard features on the base L model include 15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights (low beams only) and running lights, powered accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with auxiliary controls, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The LE adds 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, keyless entry, metallic cabin accents, cruise control, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a six-speaker sound system with a 6-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth audio connectivity, phonebook download capability and voice controls.
The LE Plus adds 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, piano black interior accents and eligibility for both an optional sunroof and the Driver Convenience package, which includes the sunroof and adds keyless entry and ignition, a roof-mounted antenna (versus the standard in-glass antenna), satellite radio, HD radio, a navigation system and Entune App Suite mobile-app integration.
Going with the LE Premium gets you the LE Plus model's standard and optional features plus a power driver seat, heated front seats and premium vinyl upholstery.
The LE Eco starts with the LE's features and adds efficiency-maximizing engine and transmission tuning, 15-inch steel wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, a rear spoiler and enhanced aerodynamics. The LE Eco Plus adds special 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, chrome window trim, an Eco driving mode and the same options as the LE Plus. The LE Eco Premium shares the LE Premium's upgrades.
Should you choose the sport-themed S trim you'll get the LE's features plus unique wheel covers, a chrome grille frame, foglights, color-keyed mirrors with signal repeaters, a rear spoiler, a chrome exhaust tip, sport front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, a Sport driving mode, sport instrumentation and a trip computer.
You can upgrade the S trim with the S Plus that has 17-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning and rear disc brakes (versus the standard drums), and it's eligible for the sunroof and Driver Convenience package like the other Plus models. Notably, if you specify the six-speed manual transmission (offered only on S Plus), you don't get the shift paddles or Sport driving mode, but you do get the Driver Convenience package as standard. The S Premium starts with the S Plus' equipment and shares the upgrades of the other Premium models, including the premium vinyl upholstery.
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
Solid, well built car
2015 Toyota Corolla LE 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
I purchased a new 2015 Toyota Corolla in June 2015. It is a pleasure to drive. I am 6'2" and I fit fine. The CVT takes some time to get accustomed to. I have had a Celica and two Tacomas. I had a Honda Prelude also. I considered Civic and test drove a similarly equipped one. I didn't like the Honda as much and the Corolla was $2000 or more less expensive. I recommend the 2015 Toyota … Corolla. It's not a race car and it's not pretending to be one. It's fun to just take a drive or commute in. The one thing for taller drivers is the center armrest and left armrest are so low taller drivers like me have trouble getting the seat low enough to comfortably rest our arms. Yes, the seat moves up and down....about 2 or 3 inches. All said if the Honda had been cheaper I "might" have thought longer but probably would have made the same decision going with the Corolla. My last Toyota lasted 14 years and there was still nothing wrong with it. I expect this car will last me or future owners 15-25 years if maintained. 1 year update: I have now been driving the 2015 Corolla for just over a year. I love it. The only bad thing that has happened is a rock hit my hood and chipped a small piece of paint off. I got a bottle of Toyota "Super White" touch-up paint. You have to make sure the code matches your specific paint. It's not easy to apply. I ended up using a toothpick and getting a little bit from the brush after shaking it up. I filled the chip and all is well. It has held up for about 10 months. It seems like it didn't take much to chip the paint, but maybe it hit just right. Mine is "Super White" and when washed and a little spray wax it looks just like new. The paint overall seems to have held up fine in the first year in -10F to 110F temps. I have never had any trouble starting it or with any other component of the car. My only real disappointment with the car is the lack of power, but I knew that after test driving it. It's got enough for 95% of needs. It's not made for racing and again.....does not pretend to be. It's got the power it was made to have and it get's on the freeway and passes any time I want it to do so. It has done everything I have asked of the car. Whether I'm going 25MPH or 85MPH it rides fine. Wind noise is noticeable but not excessive at high speed. You just turn the radio up 3 notches and it cures that. They built the Corolla well and it shows. During winter I had snow up to 12" deep. The Corolla did VERY well in the snow and ice. The traction control does it's job very well. I turned it off just to see what it would be like without.....I can't believe we got around safely without it. I recall the days of front wheels drive cars in the snow with no TRAC. It was possible to get around but traction control makes it much easier. All said the first 13 months of ownership was wonderful. Also, insurance is inexpensive for me. I have been driving for almost 30 years (20 years professionally) and have never been in an accident that was my fault, so that might have something to do with insurance prices but not much. Insurance is inexpensive for Corollas if you have the right color and have a good driving record. 3 year update : I still have and love my 2015 Corolla. I got it new in June 2015. Now in July 2018 I just passed 8000 miles. No, that's not a typo. I have driven less than 3000 miles per year. I have had no issues with the car. The interior has only had 1 or 2 guests in 3 years and still appears and smells new. All the tech still works with current phone and accessories. It's a joy to drive. It's like a little go-cart with a Corolla frame put over it. The one issue I have noticed it a few paint chips on the front. It's "Super White" Toyota color and seems to chip rather easily for not many miles, but many of those miles were on freeways and there is always construction in my area. All in all. I can't think of any other downsides. It's not as comfortable as it probably could be, but I'm not average size, so can't hold that against it. Almost 4 year update : I got a “special service campaign” letter so Toyota could update the software on the CVT. I had it done. They gave me a 2018 Camry as a rental. It made me want to keep the rental, but my 2015 Corolla has only 8900 miles now and it’s like new. No complaints except the CVT transmission. It has bugged me over the years because of lack of torque and power. I wish I had a normal 4 speed (or a 6-8 speed like the Camry) 9/18/20 - After over 5 years of use I have put 12,000 miles on my Corolla. It's great! My only complaint to report is the lack of power. I sold this car at it's peak value. 6 years old with 13,000 miles on it. I got a great price. the cost of owning this car was next to nothing. Excellent experience. Whoever gets it is lucky. The 2015 Corolla is a great car for most. I kept mine 5 years and got a Subaru Crosstrek. For the record, Toyota and Honda vehicles are better built than Subaru. I wish I had stuck with Toyota but the price for a Subaru Crosstrek is the best value I’ve seen in a while. I just hope Subaru will last. The ‘21 Crosstrek base review is listed here also.
5 out of 5 stars
Happy Owner, 09/12/2015
2015 Toyota Corolla LE 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
I bought my first Corolla in 2009 and was disappointed in the performance and stability when the weather was wet and windy. I traded it a year later for a different brand. Fast forward 5 years and I picked up a 2015 Corolla in May. The only thing I dislike about the car is the CVT transmission. I've had other cars with CVT's before; I understand how they work and why they're engineered … that way. It's to maximize efficiency. I've learned it's more effective to strategically plan getting on a freeway instead of being able to jump on the gas and having the car take off. The fit and finish of my car is great. I got the Brown Sugar metallic with Ivory interior. The paint doesn't pop as much as I'd like it to, but that's probably because the dealership didn't have time to properly detail it before delivery. I arrived in the late afternoon and left (in my new car) after the dealership closed. Handling is typical economy car...light steering, not very precise but adequate. It's comfortable. I traded in a Lexus IS250 for my Corolla, and the Corolla is more comfortable. I have yet to see how it handles in wet weather, but it's larger and heavier than my 2009 so I expect it to be better. Overall, a solid car. I anticipate hanging on to it for many years. **Update** I've had the car for almost a year, and I still love it. Average MPG is rock solid at 34 combined city/highway. I've driven it in the rain and in generally bad weather and I'm very comfortable with how it handles. I had the opportunity to rent a Camry recently (someone hit my Corolla) and I like the Corolla more. Toyota nailed it...again. **Second update** Almost 2 years and 17,000+ miles in and the car is still a mileage champ. I have a year left on the lease and I'm debating whether to keep this one or maybe upgrade to a newer Camry. Definitely staying with Toyota.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Good little car
2015 Toyota Corolla S Plus 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
After two solid months, I am very pleased with my car. Does it have the best acceleration? No, but then again I'm a grown up and don't feel the need to screech tires, etc... As far as fuel mileage, it's rated at 37 mpg hwy but on a Thanksgiving trip from Shreveport, LA to Austin, San Antonio, and the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex I averaged almost 38 mpg. That's including high traffic areas … of those aforementioned cities. I commute 9 miles to work one way. I average 32 mpg during true combined hwy/city conditions. I can only assume other reviewers complaining about fuel efficiency have poor driving habits and are a little heavy on the accelerator.
5 out of 5 stars
As Expected - Reliable Vehicle
2015 Toyota Corolla LE Eco 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
Bought my 2015 Carolla, December 2015. I had not purchased a vehicle in 10 years. Was looking for something reliable, updated, fuel efficient, fun to drive and looked good. The Carolla has come a long way since its inception. The styling and design is 21st Century. It's comfortable, drives smooth and looks good. It has everything I wanted in a new car. Was also very pleased … with the Dealership I went to and their staff, very helpful. Was able to get what I wanted for the price I wanted!
2015 Corolla Highlights
|Combined MPG||31 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$121/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.8%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestMarginal
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood