With a production run of half a century and counting, the compact Toyota Corolla is the best-selling nameplate in automotive history. And with good reason: This is the quintessential economy car. It's small, inexpensive, fuel-efficient and reliable. Put gas in it, give it the occasional oil change, and it will provide dependable transportation well past the 100,000-mile mark. That's why it's typical for more than 200,000 Americans, from high schoolers to retirees, to buy Corollas every year.
Since its 1968 introduction in the U.S., the Toyota Corolla has come in a variety of body styles, including a sedan, coupe, hatchback and wagon. More recently, however, it has only been available as a sedan. It is also more expensive than earlier models but still provides the usual benefits of Corolla ownership, along with a substantially more refined driving experience. The latest Corolla boasts significant increases in fuel economy and rear passenger room as well as more distinctive styling. Although rivals have sportier designs and more entertaining driving dynamics, a Corolla nonetheless makes an excellent choice for those seeking a comfortable, reliable and economical compact car.
Current Toyota Corolla
For 2017 the Toyota Corolla lineup puts no less than seven trim levels on the menu and comes with a handful of notable changes. Highlights of the latter include more standard features on the base L trim, revised front-end styling with LED headlights, and the adoption of high-tech safety features not typically seen on cars in this class. The Toyota Safety Sense P system is standard on all Corollas and includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist. The previous L, LE and LE Eco trim levels are joined by the XLE, SE, 50th Anniversary Special Edition and XSE. The L's generous standard equipment list now includes adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera, while LE upgrades include keyless entry, heated mirrors and automatic climate control. The LE Eco optimizes fuel economy via low-rolling-resistance tires and enhanced aerodynamics. The sporty SE trim features larger wheels, a rear spoiler, front sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A manual-transmission SE further adds a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, and upgraded audio. The 50th Anniversary Special Edition is essentially an SE with commemorative badges as well as unique wheels and upholstery. Stepping up to the XLE brings keyless entry and ignition, alloy wheels, a sunroof, heated seats, and an upgraded audio system with a touchscreen display and satellite radio. Meanwhile, the XSE combines most of the features of the SE and XLE trims. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers every Corolla, and in all but the LE Eco model, it produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. For the LE Eco, the engine is tweaked for more efficiency and makes 140 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional on the SE and standard on all other trims. Fuel economy is rated as high as 34 mpg combined for the LE Eco.
From behind the wheel, we've found that the latest Toyota Corolla provides comfortable, economical and low-stress — if uninvolving — transportation. Driving enthusiasts will find it rather bland dynamically, but excitement has never been the Corolla's forte. Most drivers, however, should be pleased with its easygoing demeanor and high level of day-to-day practicality.
Read the most recent 2017 Toyota Corolla review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Toyota Corolla page.
For more on past Toyota Corolla models, view our Toyota Corolla history page.