Toyota’s Corolla has succeeded like no other car model. Its 50-year run has resulted in more than 40 million Corollas being sold, most of any model.
The new 2017 Corolla furthers that value statement while remaining highly reliable and actually a bit more stylish than in years past. Toyota has put some effort into styling the last few years and the 2017 Corolla looks good and drives well while remaining affordable and economical to run.
Its Safety Sense-P is standard and includes adaptive cruise control, automatic collision braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure and steer assist, plus automatic high beam headlights.
Also standard on all models are LED headlights, a rearview camera with path detection, air conditioning, cruise control, and a tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls on the wheel’s hub. There’s also a 6.1-inch touchscreen, USB port and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with Siri Eyes Free.
Higher end models have automatic climate control and an interior upgrade. Some have push-button start, keyless entry, fake leather seating, a 7-inch touchscreen and an 8-way power driver’s seat.
Fuel economy remains a strong selling point too. The tested dark “blue crush metallic” test car was rated 11Km per litre in city drive and 15 on the highway.
Driving the Corolla is totally predictable. It’s what you expect. The car has a light and easy feel and handles well. It’s easy to turn and maneuver and park. It corners well.
Power is modest from the 1.8-liter I4. Horsepower is 132 and linked with Toyota’s automatic CVT transmission, works mostly to deliver good fuel economy. Acceleration is mild, but the CVT comes with a push-button Sport mode that allows the driver to pump up engine revs just a bit to improve acceleration.
That means a noisier engine when you accelerate in Sport mode, but it helps boost the car’s performance a bit. It’s best used when facing a short highway on-ramp or when the car/truck behind you at the stoplight appears impatient and much quicker than you.
Ride is typical of a small car, although with a 106.3-inch wheelbase I expected a bit better. Ride isn’t harsh, but can become choppy on our worst area roads.
For 2017 Toyota has improved the Corolla’s interior, adding round air vents along with a new dash. That safety package and exterior styling also are new. There’s even a special 50th Anniversary Edition model with black cherry paint job and fancy 17-inch alloy wheels if you’re in the mood to celebrate.
Toyota added illuminated door sills, body side moldings, carpeted floor mats, trunk mat, and mudguards Most impressive were the extremely comfortable supportive front seats that makes the Corolla more comfortable than even many high-priced sedans. The fake leather feels fake, but is soft enough to be comfortable and the seat backs and bottoms are well contoured to support your thighs and lower back.
This model includes an 8-way power driver’s seat, but no lumbar adjustment. The XSE also comes with 2-level heated front seats. And Corolla has a roomy interior. Two adults sat in the rear seat and both said they had plenty of leg and headroom.
Overhead is a sunroof and there’s a rearview camera to help a driver when backing from tight parking spots. Sun visors do not slide here though, a Toyota oversight.
From a pure value standpoint the Corolla remains one of the top buys for a small, family sedan. It likely will remain a top seller for years to come.