2018 Toyota Corolla

2018 Toyota Corolla Review

The 2018 Toyota Corolla is a competent if not overly exciting choice for a daily driver.
3 star edmunds overall rating
3 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

With a low price tag and history of solid reliability, it's easy to see why the Toyota Corolla has become one of the world's best-selling vehicles over the last 50-plus years. The 2018 Toyota Corolla builds upon the success of its ancestors with expressive styling, a surprisingly roomy cabin, plenty of advanced safety features and comfortable, supportive seats. But while the Corolla covers the basics well enough, a few deficiencies make its rivals better picks overall.

The Corolla's cabin is fairly plain and does little to make you think you've bought anything more than a basic small car. Its underpowered engine and so-so handling mean it isn't much fun to drive, either. Factor in a small trunk and poor smartphone integration and you have a car that is difficult to recommend in a class stacked with more desirable choices.



what's new

The 50th Anniversary Edition trim has been dropped. Otherwise, the Toyota Corolla carries forward unchanged.


we recommend

If you don't want to spend too much money, the LE Eco is the way to go. We like it because you get plenty of features, a slightly more powerful engine, and modest fuel economy gains over the L and LE. Our top pick, however, is the Corolla SE. It adds a modicum of fun to the Corolla's otherwise snooze-inducing driving experience. It's also the only model available with a manual transmission. Select the manual over the drony CVT automatic and you'll also get extra goodies such as a sunroof and upgraded infotainment system.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota Corolla sedan is sold in six trim levels. L, LE, LE Eco, SE, XSE and XLE. Every Corolla is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Most models produce 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, though the LE Eco is a bit more powerful with 140 hp and 126 lb-ft. Power is routed to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) on all models, though the SE can be optioned with a six-speed manual.

Standard equipment on the base L model includes 15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information display, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 6.1-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, a USB port and, for iPhone users, the Siri Eyes Free voice control system. Standard safety systems include a rearview camera, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist (to nudge you back into your lane) and automatic high beams.

The LE adds 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, remote locking and unlocking, metallic cabin accents, upgraded upholstery, a rear armrest and automatic climate control.

The LE Eco starts with the LE's features and adds engine and suspension tuning designed for maximum fuel efficiency, 15-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler and enhanced aerodynamics.

The XLE builds upon the LE's set of features, adding 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded headlights, LED taillights, bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, simulated leather upholstery (Toyota's SofTex), a power-adjustable driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an upgraded driver information display, a 7-inch touchscreen display, an app-based navigation system (Scout GPS Link), and satellite and HD radio.

The SE is the sporty Corolla, although we use that term loosely. It starts with the LE's features and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, unique front-end styling with a black mesh grille, a rear spoiler, steering wheel with paddle shifters (for CVT automatic models), sport front seats, SofTex upholstery with cloth inserts, and a sport-style gauge cluster. Also included are the XLE's upgraded headlights, bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Opt for the manual transmission and you'll also get a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and the upgraded infotainment system.

The XSE has the SE manual transmission's extra features and adds heated front seats, the eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, the paddle shifters and full SofTex upholstery.

A few options packages are also available. LE and LE Eco models can select the Premium package, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, bumper-integrated LED running lights and the upgraded infotainment system. A sunroof can be added to this package for the LE (it's included with the package for the LE Eco).

The Premium package for SE CVT automatic models includes keyless entry and ignition, a sunroof and the upgraded infotainment system, while XLE and XSE models can opt for an integrated navigation system and smartphone integration via the Entune App Suite.



Standard equipment on the base L model includes 15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information display, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 6.1-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, a USB port and, for iPhone users, the Siri Eyes Free voice control system. Standard safety systems include a rearview camera, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist (to nudge you back into your lane) and automatic high beams.

The LE adds 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, remote locking and unlocking, metallic cabin accents, upgraded upholstery, a rear armrest and automatic climate control.

The LE Eco starts with the LE's features and adds engine and suspension tuning designed for maximum fuel efficiency, 15-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler and enhanced aerodynamics.

The XLE builds upon the LE's set of features, adding 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded headlights, LED taillights, bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, simulated leather upholstery (Toyota's SofTex), a power-adjustable driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an upgraded driver information display, a 7-inch touchscreen display, an app-based navigation system (Scout GPS Link), and satellite and HD radio.

The SE is the sporty Corolla, although we use that term loosely. It starts with the LE's features and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, unique front-end styling with a black mesh grille, a rear spoiler, steering wheel with paddle shifters (for CVT automatic models), sport front seats, SofTex upholstery with cloth inserts, and a sport-style gauge cluster. Also included are the XLE's upgraded headlights, bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Opt for the manual transmission and you'll also get a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and the upgraded infotainment system.

The XSE has the SE manual transmission's extra features and adds heated front seats, the eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, the paddle shifters and full SofTex upholstery.

A few options packages are also available. LE and LE Eco models can select the Premium package, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, bumper-integrated LED running lights and the upgraded infotainment system. A sunroof can be added to this package for the LE (it's included with the package for the LE Eco).

The Premium package for SE CVT automatic models includes keyless entry and ignition, a sunroof and the upgraded infotainment system, while XLE and XSE models can opt for an integrated navigation system and smartphone integration via the Entune App Suite.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Toyota Corolla SE (1.8-liter inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Toyota Corolla has received some revisions, including the deletion of the SE 50th Anniversary Special Edition (which will not affect this rating, as the trim was little more than an appearance package for the XSE). Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Toyota Corolla.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.0 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration2.0 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0
Climate control3.5 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Driving position2.5 / 5.0
Roominess4.5 / 5.0
Visibility3.5 / 5.0
Quality2.0 / 5.0

Utility

2.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space2.5 / 5.0

Technology

3.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration2.0 / 5.0
Driver aids3.0 / 5.0
Voice control3.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Performance has never been a strong suit for the Corolla, and it still isn't, especially with the current crop of compact cars. The engine under its hood hasn't changed since 2009, and the CVT automatic seems conflicted about its identity. If you value an engaging drive, there are many better options.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The aging four-cylinder engine delivers underwhelming acceleration and whines unpleasantly when asked to work. This characteristic is exacerbated by the CVT automatic, which tries to simulate transmission gear changes without success. We needed 10.1 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is quite slow for the class.

braking

edmunds rating
Around town, the brakes have a good feel, are smooth and easy to modulate, and don't have the pedal squish that plagues some of the other Toyota models. In our emergency braking tests, the Corolla needed 125 feet to stop, which is slightly longer than average for this segment.

steering

edmunds rating
At low speeds, steering effort is light, but there's no feel of being connected to the road. It's better in Sport mode at higher speeds; there's less assist, better on-center feel and even some semblance of feedback rounding a corner. Most buyers in this segment will find this adequate.

handling

edmunds rating
Without any real sporting intentions, the Corolla exhibits surprisingly tidy handling. There isn't much grip supplied by the all-season tires, but we were surprised by how composed the Corolla remains at a mildly spirited pace, which is more than enough to make it feel lively around town.

drivability

edmunds rating
The powertrain delivers decent throttle response despite its lack of power and unrefined character. The CVT automatic is a little more fickle in how it adjusts ratios on the fly but also simulates gearshifts in certain instances. Putting aside all the aural idiosyncrasies, the Corolla is a decent driver.

comfort

edmunds rating
The sport seats that come with the SE provide great support, even if they seem a bit misplaced. There's nothing outstanding about the ride in the Corolla, but we did find the climate control to be more than sufficient in keeping cabin temps in check.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The SE trim includes sport seats with generous lateral support, and despite its sparse adjustments, the seats proved comfortable over a three-hour trip. Cloth center sections provide breathability, preventing the seats from getting swampy over a longer drive stint.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Ride comfort is no better than average for a compact car. It isn't overly floppy and bouncy but it transmits bumps like the small car it is. Higher frequency vibrations are especially prominent and it doesn't seem like much effort was put into making it ride like a larger car.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
There's an average amount of road noise, a little more than some and less than others in this class. There's also some wind noise around the mirrors, but it's not enough to be a nuisance. The biggest noise offender is the racket created by the engine at full throttle.

climate control

edmunds rating
The climate controls are straightforward with a set of three rocker switches in the center for temperature, fan speed and vent control. The auto climate setting works effectively to maintain comfortable cabin temperature.

interior

edmunds rating
Slipping in and out of the Corolla's cabin is easy, and once you're in, there's ample room to stretch out. All cabin controls are straightforward, and the touchscreen is responsive, if not a bit oversensitive. Unfortunately, some will find an issue with the lack of steering column extension.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The Toyota Corolla's cabin layout is clear and familiar and doesn't try to be fancy, so it's pretty easy to use and figure out. The touchscreen is responsive, but it's easy to inadvertently brush a finger against a control you don't mean to, which can be frustrating.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Ingress and egress are easy thanks to a low step-over height and wide door openings. Even the rear doors have a good head clearance, which helps minimize the amount of ducking needed to slip into the back seats.

driving position

edmunds rating
There are few seat adjustments beyond the basics. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes, but the puny amount it extends is laughable. Taller drivers will likely have to compromise legroom to accommodate their reach. At least the steering wheel is leather-wrapped and has a nice ergonomic feel.

roominess

edmunds rating
There's an abundance of room up front, though the sport seats may feel a little narrow for larger drivers. There's decent headroom in back and 41.4 inches of legroom, which obliterates everything in the compact segment and embarasses many midsize cars. A nearly flat floor pan also aids foot space.

visibility

edmunds rating
The front windows feel large, and pillars that are thin in your line of sight make for good forward visibility. Rear visibility is also decent thanks to fairly sizable rear windows and headrests that aren't obstructive. A rearview camera is standard.

quality

edmunds rating
The Corolla lacks in quality feel especially when compared to Honda, Mazda and Subaru. Hard plastic abounds in most areas, which unfortunately cheapens an otherwise attractive interior design. The seats, infotainment, climate controls and steering wheel look of quality; everything else does not.

utility

edmunds rating
Compact sedans aren't sought after for their outstanding utility, but some do a better job of maximizing the space they have. The Corolla isn't one of those cars. While we like the wide trunk opening and split-and-folding seats, the level change from the trunk kept us from loading some longer items.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Storage options for small items is average. There's a small tray ahead of the shifter and a relatively small dual-level armrest bin. The door pockets will hold a standard water bottle, but not much else. The glovebox is an average size, and there's no flip-down storage for sunglasses.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The Corolla's trunk has a fairly wide opening and a broad floor ahead of the rear wheelwells but, at 13 cubic feet of volume, space is on the lower side of average. The rear seats are split 60/40 and they fold, but there's a pretty significant two-level step up from the trunk floor.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
Two pairs of LATCH anchors are tucked away somewhat deep into the rear-seat cushions, which doesn't make for easy access. But the upper tethers are located under flip covers and are easier to access. The Corolla's generous rear legroom is advantageous when it comes to rear-facing seats.

technology

edmunds rating
The Corolla is just average across the board when it comes to technology. The driver aids don't quite function to the standard of other competitors such as Honda and Subaru, and Toyota's smartphone integration, through its own proprietary app, is a poor substitute for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The audio system is fine, but sound quality begins to get a little fuzzy when you crank up the volume. Navigation comes courtesy of your smartphone after downloading Toyota's Entune app. The screen resolution is sharp, but the glassy piano black surfaces surrounding it are a magnet for fingerprints.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
There's a USB connector, and Bluetooth pairs quickly and works well. Toyota provides smartphone integration through its own app called Entune, which isn't nearly as robust as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

driver aids

edmunds rating
Lane departure/lane keeping assist doesn't operate below 32 mph, though it does a decent job when it's operational. The adaptive cruise control had some trouble maintaining uphill speed and, like Mazda's system, won't bring the car to a stop. Bummer. But this stuff is standard! That's rare.

voice control

edmunds rating
The voice controls respond well to commands, though if they don't there is an option to train the system to recognize your voice. Functions are limited to audio and phone calls unless you use Toyota's Entune app. Siri Voice will work with a paired iPhone if you hold the button longer.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.