The 2017 Toyota Corolla is the current offering in a model legacy spanning more than 50 years. Continuously in production since 1966, the Corolla has evolved through 11 generations, sold 43 million units and claims the title of best-selling model of all time.
Despite its long-lived success, the Corolla's no-frills approach gets little love from car critics who are quick to dismiss this workhorse for its less-than-inspiring driving experience. But the latest offering to the lineage feels fresh and well-styled: certainly the nicest Corolla to date. The ride is smooth. The cabin is spacious, with upgraded upholstery and far more rear legroom than most compact sedan options. A 6.1-inch touchscreen and easy-to-use infotainment system are standard.
Toyota has updated the front-end design to feature new LED headlights. Upgraded safety technologies throughout are central to the 2017 Corolla's appeal. Toyota presents drivers with a full range of safety features as standard equipment on all 2017 Corolla trims, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist and automatic high beams. The Toyota Safety Sense P system is a noteworthy safety offering of a caliber not frequently found standard on even luxury sedans.
The 2017 Toyota Corolla is available in seven trim levels: L, LE, LE Eco, XLE, SE, SE 50th Anniversary edition and XSE. Starting with the base L trim, Toyota includes a lot of features standard for the money. The LE adds convenience features like keyless entry and heated mirrors. The LE Eco maximizes fuel efficiency while the XLE maximizes luxury upgrades. The SE and XSE levels are the "sporty" offering (though we use the term loosely) and the SE 50th Anniversary edition honors Corolla's legacy with specialized badging, wheels and upholstery.
EPA-estimated fuel economy ranges from 30 to 34 mpg combined. Automatic models with 17-inch wheels achieve 31 mpg combined (28 city/35 highway) while the Corolla LE Eco tops out the range with 34 mpg combined (30 city/40 highway).
The Corolla's adequate power and speed will work just fine for a highway commute but it accelerates slower than its competitors and will never wow with the gas pedal. Steering is sluggish and soft suspension swallows up road feel. If you really love to drive and you want a car that is responsive, then you'll find yourself agreeing with the critics: There are simply other fuel-friendly compact sedans out there that are more fun to drive.
However, like its predecessors, the 2017 Corolla does what it was designed to do and it does the integral things well. If you toss in the Corolla's long-standing reputation for good resale, then it is a strong contender in the compact sedan class. It may be a modest pick, but the Corolla's down-to-earth mix of fuel efficiency, interior space and competitive pricing have proven it a wise one over the years. If you're considering a 2017 Toyota Corolla, let Edmunds help find the perfect one for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.