It's all about what you are looking for and for me this car is about as good as it gets. Near perfect balance between safety, reliability and performance. Love the safety features and the expect great reliability. Sure a few more HP wouldn't hurt but again it's that balance. First road trip felt good and 'only' got 29+ MPG.
I just wanted a car that would get me where I wanted to go with a minimum of fuss, anxiety, and maximum of value & comfort. It works for me. I'm pretty small, so I like a small car. I'm frugal, so I like the mileage. I get 32 mpg for my normal driving, which includes lots of steep hills, and 39 mpg on the hwy. And I need to watch myself on the interstate, or I'm cruising effortlessly at 80 mph! Sure it's basic! But even on my basic L trim, I have a backup camera, auto headlight dimmer (which works amazingly well!), lane assist if I veer across a line, a beeper if I get too close to the car ahead... The only safety feature that I'm trying to figure out is the auto following distance, which slows you down if you are using cruise control and get too close to the vehicle ahead. That doesn't work well in heavy traffic. I like having both a CD player and a backup camera.
750 miles on a new 2018 LE Corolla. It's OK as a grocery getter for your mother-in-law. However, acceleration and highway driving in any hills or mountains is a loser. A lot of engine noise with any acceleration. RPM = Noise in this car. Very slow getting going from a stop, for the first 100 feet, then the engine spools up, making a lot of noise, but not a lot of acceleration. Driving at 60 with cruise control on, the car will go faster down hill to about 65, then the CVT "downshifts" the car and the engine revs to 4,500 rpm to slow it down; however it really doesn't do much but make a lot of noise. The driver gives over control of the car to the lousy transmission. There is only D, S and B. The owner's manual said nothing about these positions. Moving to S, is adds RPM and some slowing. moving to B makes a lot more RPM and more slowing. There is no way to have any other control over this transmission than just those positions. With a real 6 speed manual or automatic transmission, this would be a much better economy car. I've owned five cars with less HP and better acceleration due to 5 speed manual transmissions that did not slip and slide like the CT. The CVT makes it a DUD. One additional thing that I found to be troubling was rear window visibility. With fixed headrests on both sides of the vehicle, and an adjustable one in the center, it restricted visibility when making a quick lane change. The headrests are only needed with rear passengers. I ended up lowering the back rest on the passenger side to remove the visual obstruction of the right and center headrests, meaning we drove around with the trunk open to the interior. A poor design done to save money.
I bought this car based on it's low sticker price and standard safety features. I thought I could tolerate it's lackluster performance. I was wrong. I really hate this car already as I rack up it's first 1000 miles. It has good points but the negatives for me far outweigh the advantages. Highs: Standard safety tech is awesome. The headlights are the best i have ever seen in a car at any price. The gas mileage is pretty good as well although for the anemic performance it should get good gas mileage. Now for the lows. Lows: Even driving in "Sport" mode this is the most boring car I have ever driven. You really have to plan passing ahead of time. The back up camera's resolution is very poor. At night in some lighting conditions it is utterly useless. A lot of little things start to take it's toll on you after awhile...no sliding sun visors. This is huge on a sunny day and can be a safety issue. The ignition isn't light and at night you really have to be careful or you'll scratch up the steering column, no XM radio, I also really miss a retractable key. This key doesn't retract and if I'm holding the key and find myself unloading groceries for example, I have to be careful I don't scratch the car. I may try to keep it for a couple years until Toyota's free maintenance plan runs out so I only need to spend money on gas but I have my doubts whether I can tolerate this car for that long. The prospect depresses me.