By on January 18, 2017

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE – Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE

1.8-liter I-4, DOHC, (132 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 128 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm)

Continuously variable transmission, front-wheel drive

28 city / 35 highway / 31 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

8.3 city/ 6.7 highway/ 7.5 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

32.2 mpg [7.3 L/100 km] (Observed)

Base Price: $19,425 (U.S) / $17,980 (Canada)

As Tested: $24,130 (U.S.) / $26,900 (Canada)

Prices include $925 destination charge in the United States and $1,690 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada.

So you say you want to understand Toyota. You want to look the company in the eye and get a sense of its soul. Without spending hours studying kaizen and poring over 2000GT imagery and learning the significance of the number 86, you want to know why Toyota is different from, say, Porsche.

Allow the 2017 Toyota Corolla to be your tutor. In LE Eco guise, the fuel-sipping Corolla’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder produces 140 horsepower. In “sporty” SE and XSE trims, the 1.8-liter produces eight fewer horsepower.

No kidding.

With nothing more substantive than rear disc brakes, bigger wheels, and wider low-profile tires, the 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE and its less luxurious SE sibling hardly bring performance to the Corolla lineup. The loss of eight horsepower — and the gain of two pound-feet of torque – compared to the more efficient LE Eco aren’t performance-altering characteristics, either.

Think then of this Corolla XSE as just a Corolla, as merely a Corolla, as only a Corolla, as perhaps the most prudent transportation-oriented purchase a North American car buyer can make this year.

Or as the most joyless way to spend $24,130 on a new car.

XSE
New to the Corolla lineup for the 2017 model year, the XSE trim level combines the “sportiness” of the SE and the “luxury” of the XLE. To the $21,765 SE, the $24,130 XSE adds a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, full Softex-trimmed seats, sunroof, proximity access, and navigation.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

In between, for a $1,220 premium over the SE — and accompanied by a sunroof, navigation, proximity that otherwise cost $1,535 as part of the SE CVT’s premium package — you can get a Toyota Corolla SE with a manual transmission. It’s the one and only trim level in which Toyota still permits DIY shifting in the Corolla.

Of the roughly 31,000 new Corollas currently in stock at Toyota’s U.S. dealers, according to Cars.com, 1 percent are three-pedal cars.

All Corollas, regardless of trim, are now equipped with the same elevated standard of safety equipment, the SE/XSE’s larger rear disc brakes aside. Gone are the days when eight airbags and anti-lock brakes impress. Even the lowliest of Corollas include lane departure alert with steering assist, auto high beams, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, and radar cruise control.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE rear Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

DRIVING
Though undeniably a meaningful aspect of the Corolla owner’s daily grind, radar cruise control and all its high-tech cohorts play no role in turning the Corolla into a driver’s car.

Granted, there’s no expectation that the Corolla behave like a Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S.) A rough ride, instant turn-in, and arrow-sharp throttle response doesn’t suit any mainstream car’s character.

But the Corolla runs so extremely far in the opposite direction that there’s nothing about its on-road repertoire worthy of compliment. Ride quality? Never busy, to be fair, but the Corolla’s structure can’t cope with the harsh impacts a Camry can shake off.

The steering is disconcertingly lacking in feel (and the steering wheel’s finish on the backside, right where the lower spoke meets the rim, is decidedly unfinished). Worsened by winter tires, there’s scarcely any grip to speak of, even on the XSE’s 215/45R17 rubber. And the 1.8-liter sounds rough when revved.

Combine that roughness with a throttle pedal that fights against further application and you have a car that simply does not want to accelerate.

132 horsepower, down from 140 in the LE Eco? It feels like about 100, and they’re not happy horses.

The continuously variable transmission doesn’t come across as the worst CVT application by any means, but how much blame does the pokey 1.8 deserve for distracting me from any CVT limitations?

Thankfully, despite freezing temperatures, winter tires, and largely urban driving, we averaged an impressive 32.2 miles per gallon over the course of a week.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE interior - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

OCCUPYING
Observed fuel economy is one of the 2017 Corolla’s redeeming qualities. The expansive rear seat is another. Blessed by an almost flat floor and loads of legroom, sliding in child seats was a breeze. For young families in search of inexpensive, spacious, safe transportation, a basic $19,425 Corolla L will surely stand out.

At $24,130, however, expectations rise. Space is good. Safety equipment is also good. The trunk, squared off with 13.0 cubic feet, is good, too. Material quality, however, is a disappointment, with hard plastics in the places both untouched and regularly caressed.

Straightforward climate controls are paired with chunky buttons for the seat heaters that were possibly inherited from the dashboard of a 90s Hino. Circular vents might be cool if they weren’t so out of place. The seats’ SofTex ranks amongst the most plasticky of faux leathers. The so-called “sport seats” don’t offer nearly enough thigh bolstering to merit the title.

Apart from the touchscreen and a generally quiet ambiance, there’s very little about this cabin that looks or feels like a class-leading interior from 2014, let alone 2017.

COMPARING
Much as the safe and reliable Corolla is automatically deemed the safe and reliable compact car choice, there remain numerous options for the Corolla’s intended.

Toyota’s own Yaris iA, a smaller but less costly option, is actually a fun-to-drive Mazda 2. The Corolla iM, which like the iA was formerly known as a Scion, is very much a Corolla, only less stodgy and more flexible and with superior rear suspension. With a CVT, the iM is priced at $20,415, decently equipped but lacking the Corolla’s full Safety Sense-P package.

Outside the Toyota portfolio, the traditional Corolla buyer will still seek a level of long-term security. The new Subaru Impreza builds on a Consumer Reports reputation of reliability with added style and more safety equipment. The latest Mazda 3 provides class-leading dynamics and, says CR, also offers above-average reliability. But the 3 lacks rear seat space and manifests excessive road noise.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE Hartlen Point - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

DECIDING
In 2016, the United States produced 360,483 Toyota Corolla sedan buyers. It’s safe to say some of those buyers would have preferred a Corolla with superior handling, actual steering feel, more power, and greater interior quality. But the Corolla’s redeeming attributes — peerless reputation for reliability, vast rear quarters, impressive value quotient, abundant safety kit — were evidently considered more critical.

Thousands of other Corolla buyers don’t simply turn a blind eye to the car’s aforementioned faults. No, they don’t even see the very transgressions upon which I frown with furrowed brow.

The Corolla buyer and I want different things. Indeed, the Corolla and I want different things.

I want more of an interactive connection with the car, not less.

I want acceleration to be delivered happily, not begrudgingly.

I want to believe I paid $24,130 for a car that ought to cost $30,130 rather than suffer reminders of the pennies Toyota pinched.

I don’t want to be alerted by an incessant ding-ding-ding, even with lights and ignition and audio off, to tell me I’ve opened the driver’s door. And I don’t want to receive fewer ponies for my performance dollar.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE therefore, cannot earn my love.

Respect, however, is an altogether different matter.

Toyota has yet again one-upped the Corolla’s game by adding Toyota Safety Sense-P across the lineup, by playing up the 50th anniversary of the world’s most popular nameplate, and by tinkering with the styling just enough to keep the Corolla fresh.

It’s the opposite of fun. But it works.

History suggests it’ll keep on working.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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123 Comments on “2017 Toyota Corolla XSE Review – A Little Respect...”


  • avatar
    C. Alan

    The improvements are nice, but regardless, I can’t get over the front end that looks like a chipmunk gathering nuts for winter.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      The RoW Corolla looks much more upscale. I think Toyota intentionally dumbs down the looks of the North American version to avoid cannibalising Camry sales.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Corolla#/media/File:2015_Toyota_Corolla_(ZRE172R)_Ascent_sedan_(2015-11-11)_01.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Same can be said for the Camry. The global Camry is positioned more like the ES Lexus is here: “business class” sedan, with more expensive front/rear treatments outside, and a nicer interior and amenities (climate control in the basic trim). They are also substantially more expensive.

      https://goo.gl/images/3bhgVE

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      What improvements? what are you talking about?

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    Drove a rental one of these (SE, though) last year, and if the suspension was not broken, it’s one of the worst riding cars I’ve ever driven in. If possible, it always felt and sounded like we were driving on gravel. And the steering was exactly as described- lifeless. I thought the touch screen infotainment was decent for the price, and I bet a lot of shoppers don’t look much farther than that. Molded stitching on the dash also impresses me not.

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      I’m a Corolla fan and agree, its tuning/setup sucks.

      It may not be such a big deal in the third world where dependability is a very lovable trait. I thoroughly enjoyed Corollas with 250k miles going over poor roads then.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    I don’t mind how it looks (well, the regular SE or whatever trim, I guess) and I actually kinda enjoyed tossing one of these around as a rental once, though I never made it to the highway. The standard auto climate control was surprising, and the powertrain certainly felt more responsive than the Dart and Sentra and even the Focus I’ve also been unfortunate enough to rent. But I suppose that’s not saying much. I guess I was expecting a real turd of a car because the *previous* Corolla was such an abomination. So there are definitely things to like here. But this car just doesn’t have enough horsepower to be worth considering for anyone who enjoys driving.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    All I can say to anyone who’s considering a Corolla: drive everything else in the class first. I can’t really fault someone for buying one of these – it’s a perfectly acceptable transport-module – but far better options exist.

    And if you’re going to buy a Corolla, skip the upper trim levels and go with the base model (LE, as I recall). Why? At a $24,000 price point, you expect Golf-like refinement or Mazda3-like performance, and any Corolla’s a joke given these criteria. But at $18,000 or so, it’s a honest value – it promises nothing but basic transportation and delivers on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      I know many people who visited only the Toyota dealer and only drove the Corolla and bought only a Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Exactly, Tim. I shopped Toyota when I bought my car in November, and I asked the sales guy why the Corolla sells so well. He told me that the majority of his Corolla buyers are current Corolla owners who are trading in their three-year-old, leased model. Apparently Toyota Credit caters to these folks, greases them into a new one, and sells the used ones as certified. It’s a pretty slick system.

        And then there are the folks who bought their first Corolla back in 1986, when the Corolla was one of maybe three decent compacts on the market, and that one was so good they won’t drive anything else.

        So, yeah, it’s a “loyalty” thing, but I think it’s loyalty to an easy sales process, and not necessarily the product.

        (And, yeah, he freely admitted the Corolla basically sucks in comparison to something like a Golf.)

        Either way, I think Corolla buyers would do themselves a service if they actually drove some of the other cars in its’ class – the ***DART*** was a better drive, for crying out loud.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “the ***DART*** was a better drive, for crying out loud.”

          Why do so many otherwise smart people fail to grasp how little that matters to most of us?

          Reliability, reliability, reliability and Toyota beat everyone else in establishing that.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think the Dart was also underpowered as well.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I think the Dart was also underpowered as well.”

            Obviously you never drove a Corolla, 28…

            A freakin’ PRIUS will walk one to 60. I’m not making that up. A Dart feels like HELLCAT in comparison.

            (And, yes, the Dart was actually surprisingly decent to *drive*, with the 2.4 and the six-speed automatic, as long as you ignored the massive list of other issues with the car.)

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            And when the time comes to get a new car, which will be easier to sell or trade a used Corolla or a Dart?

            What some people cannot understand is that buying a Corolla instead of a ‘better driving/handling’ car is actually a logical decision for the majority of consumers.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You’re exactly right, Arthur, but then again, Honda has done an excellent job making the new Civic VERY satisfying to drive…and it’s a top seller as well.

            Even folks who are in it for basic transportation appreciate a car that is better to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have but I haven’t driven one in quite a while. I do however drive a mint Saturn Z-body, and after many years of driving them I have always thought SL2 (the LL0 1.9 DOHC/122ft-tq & 120bhp @5x00rpm version) was barely adequate (well until third gear at least). However the Z-body’s curb weight was about 2400lbs, the PF Dart weights about 3200lb but has only increased torque in the 2.0 Tigershark about 28ft-tq and 40bhp. My guess is the Dart’s issue is dieting, its just too heavy with not enough power added to offset the additional weight (roughly 27% more than Z-body, correct the fuzzy math as need be).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Dart_(PF)
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Gasoline_Engine#2.0_2
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_S-Series
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_I4_engine#DOHC_LL0

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Objectively, 28, the Dart is right in the middle of its’ class when it comes to acceleration. It is one of those cars, however, that feels quicker than it is – IIRC the 2.4 is the largest engine in its’ class. Big displacement + no CVT = feels powerful.

            (Now, if you want a car that feels *slower* than it is, try a Kia Forte.)

            And you’re right about the Dart’s weight – it comes in a little lighter than an Accord Sport. Low tech, old school Alfa platform. It feels like a bigger car than it is. But the handling is darn nice. I tried out a “Rallye” model and it comes with useful suspension upgrades. And I loved U-Connect.

            But the details just murder this car. Example – I opened the hood after returning it to the dealer and reached for the prop rod, and it burned my hand. For the record, when Ronnie tested this car a few years back, he made the same observation. A $.03 plastic wrapping could have fixed that…but FCA blew it off.

            And there was other stuff, like the uber-cheap, flimsy plastic interior, or the engine note – when the windows are down the 2.4 sounds like a John Deere riding mower (that’s when it started – the one I drove actually took two tries to get going, which I’ll attribute to it being lot-bound for the same amount of time humans gestate in the womb).

            Shame, because it’s a decent little car otherwise. FCA sent it into battle half baked and it lost.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            FM: “Obviously you never drove a Corolla, 28…

            A freakin’ PRIUS will walk one to 60. I’m not making that up. A Dart feels like HELLCAT in comparison.\'”

            Tell me, Mike. Did you ever drive a Gen1 Rabbit/Golf? 58 horsepower, IIRC. It was nimble and tight, but any sense of speed was purely illusory. And the DIESEL…40 horsepower. In a league with the breadloaf microbuses they had just quit selling.

            The Corolla, like most of Toyota’s lineup, is to appeal to value buyers. Not “value” as in silly rebates, or even low prices; but value in that it is an appliance that will go and go and keep on going.

            Toyota has had few chinkers over the years…compared to Government MotorZ, which has done about 50-50, with failures weighted on the smaller sector; and Ford…where the rusting is so fast, so loud, you can almost hear it over the pronging of the oilcan-bottom floor pans of their Poverty Package lineup.

            Not everyone thinks it’s appropriate to spend $70,000 and get a ton more of vehicle than they need, just to get basic, well-engineered, well-assembled quality. These things look contemporary, if a little outre, and Mommy has backseat room.

            Driving pleasure is optional; but then for serious families, it generally is. It’s transportation, not recreation.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            The devil is in the details, and Fiat didn’t sweat the details. Shame.

            FWIW my Grand Prix is 3,500 lbs and the Dart is 3,200. Whereas the GP is powered by our LORD who allows 230ft-tq and 200 lazy bhp, the power to weight ratio is beyond sufficient. The engineers should have targeted a min torque range of a out 200ft-tq. and at least 180bhp for the weight of the PF Dart. Even if the car was detail oriented, it still sounds like a bit of a slug in current config. I just noticed the Giulietta this is a cousin to did not even offer an N/A motor, so maybe zee Italians realized the torque to weight issue

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @JustPassinThru

            “Tell me, Mike. Did you ever drive a Gen1 Rabbit/Golf?”

            I OWNED one – a ’81 Rabbit. It was my first car. It had problems getting out of its’ own way. Now, that might have been par for the course for a compact car circa 1981, but this ain’t 1981, is it?

            Back in the day, if you wanted a compact, it was either a Corolla, or a Civic (or a handful of other makes), or it was a junkpile. That’s not even remotely true anymore. Even the least-reliable compact of today is LIGHT-YEARS more reliable than those old, drive-’em-300,000-miles Corollas I grew up with.

            There are alternatives now. Many of them drive radically better than a Corolla does. And even “value conscious shoppers” can tell the difference. I certainly could, and that’s why I passed on the Corolla.

            That’s my point. Sorry if it rubbed you the wrong way.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            Here’s an instrumented Dart test – 2.4 with the six speed automatic, like the one I drove:

            http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-dart-24l-automatic-test-review

            Performance-wise, in everyday driving, it’s mid-pack in this segment (8.2 seconds to 60). FCA tuned the 2.4 for low-end torque and it shows.

            The Corolla and Sentra are the slowest (in fact, the Corolla with the CVT comes in a touch over 10 seconds to 60); the quickest is the Golf. If you can find a manual Golf, it’ll do 0-60 in under seven seconds, which makes it a pretty fair sleeper. My Jetta (1.4T, manual) should come in the high-sevens.

            I believe my LeSabre has the same engine as your GP (and let’s all take a second and get a hallelujah for the 3800) – if it has the same transmission as mine, it’ll feel slow off the line. Probably has to do with how the transmission is tuned. You have to do a mild brake torque for a fast takeoff.

          • 0 avatar
            John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

            RELIABILITY!
            Its why I get a new Corolla every 3 years! They last 400 years but I only need,them for 3. I only buy a new one because…well, not because the old one is old! Or, wait. Maybe it is. Anyways! Anyways! RELIABILITY RELIABILITY THREE YEARS AT A TIME

            something, something RELIABILITY! something.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          “majority of his Corolla buyers are current Corolla owners who are trading in their three-year-old, leased model. Apparently Toyota Credit caters to these folks, greases them into a new one, and sells the used ones as certified. It’s a pretty slick system.”

          But they’re SO reliable! People buy them because in 20 years, they will still run! But, only three years in, they’re traded in/returned to “upgrade” when it isn’t an upgrade so much as it is a slight styling and the actual model year change.

          Hell, an average VW or Hyundai/Kia will be trouble free for three years. To say nothing of Honda, Subaru, Ford, GM or nearly any other modern car. This isn’t 1976. Its not all Pinto Ponys and B-210 Honey Bees.

          Drive everything else first? Excellent advice that will be followed by 0 Corolla buyers.

          How do I know? If they had driven a Civic, they wouldn’t be Corolla buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        And for good reason, they’re basically the perfect basic transportation car. They get very excellent real world mileage as you’ve shown-on long road trips even in older Corollas you can regularly beat the heck out of the EPA estimate-40mpg even on the old 4 speed automatic equipped models is easily achievable. And they are bulletproof reliable. It’s also one of the roomiest in it’s class and the ride is decent.
        It’s not exciting but if you just need a car to get you around you really don’t need to go drive anything else. A Civic would probably be the better overall package but maybe you were scared off by Honda’s transmission issues a few years back and just want something that’s a sure thing. The Corolla is just that.

    • 0 avatar

      See, I just can’t wrap my head around that. I get it–you don’t like cars. But this is a major financial decision. If only for that, you owe it to yourself to be informed about the other options out there. To only do as Tim described is like moving to a new city and buying the first house you see, all because you know the builder.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        A lot of people but these because they’re nice enough to drive, but, more importantly, there’s ten years of Consumer Reports’ solid red dots backing them up. They intend to keep these cars a while and depend on them.

        It’s likely that they do the research, but what they value isn’t what you value. They’d be similarly vexed as to why you’d buy a BMW that has the less interior space, costs three times as much and whose CR record is mottled with white and black.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “They intend to keep these cars a while and depend on them.”

          Actually, per the Toyota guy I worked with back in November, the overwhelming majority of Corolla owners lease them and chuck them in every three years, an arrangement which Toyota gears its’ leasing programs towards. Then they sell the turned-in Corolla as certified used. It’s a clever program.

          For someone who just wants transportation, it makes sense…and, yeah, if the Corolla wasn’t as reliable as it is, that wouldn’t work. The quality rep adds up to high residuals, and that’s the key to a successful leasing program.

          But if the only people buying Corollas were the ones who put 200,000 miles on them, they wouldn’t sell in the numbers they do.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t buy that the kind of person who walks into the same make’s dealership over and over again–and only that dealership–is any more motivated to spend the time cracking open an issue of CR. They believe in their bones they have the best option and don’t need to consider anything else. Buying a car for them is like buying milk. There’s that much emotion in the process. There are certainly those buying Corollas who don’t fit that mold, but I think they’re in the minority.

          That’s my take on Corolla buyers–they are the kind of folks whose eyes glaze over on the subject of cars in general.

      • 0 avatar
        sutherland555

        I don’t get it either but I guess to some people, buying/leasing a new car is a major PITA. They just want something that is super reliable and will get them from A to B. The Corolla fills that role perfectly, if barely adequately.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          People don’t need to test drive the other 10 options in the class. Just drive the Honda version. The Civic, Accord and CR-V are superior to their Toyota competitor in each class. I can understand someone just shopping Honda but not Toyota. Even Toyota lovers admit Honda are as reliable.

          • 0 avatar
            tubacity

            One person is only one person. However my Hondas have not been reliable. So I stopped buying them. My Toyotas have been reliable. I do remember this history when buying. CR finds the 2016 Civic much less reliable than Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      My sister drove and seriously considered a 3. She admits she liked the 3 better. But she has a Corolla. The main reason why is the sales process. The dealer offered a much better price *and* was far easier to work with.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    A big ball of meh. But a safe choice for those who are shopping in this size class and care not one whit about cars other than getting from point A to point B.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think it looks like a goblin shark.

    Offering the “sporty” trim option like this is weak, but in the lower trim levels the Corolla is a good call for people with a sub-$20K budget and looking for low TCO & low hassle over 10+ years of ownership.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    Eh? “28 city / 35 highway / 31 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)” My Mazda3 hatch has more hp (155) and probably weighs more, and has better ratings than this. I thought the reward for buying cheap econoboxes was good mileage.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    A boring transportation appliance that’s reliable and cheap to operate over the long term. Its popularity shows that many people are satisfied with that.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      If you are a “car person” whose significant other, or whose offspring is college bound, I’d say this Corolla is perfect for both of you. Enough tech in the cabin and nothing over the top tech-wise in the engine compartment.

      As Kendahl said, HASSLE FREE ownership. Your family member fills whatever grade inexpensive fuel in the tank and keeps on rolling. Said “car person” may be inconvenienced & saddled with an oil change every 10k miles. No big deal!

      The low risk of an unexpected dealership visit + adequate safety = worth the base price of this Corolla. Just look at the 2ZR; I could probably repair anything that goes wrong with it with a pair if pliers!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’d go for the iM, myself.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      iM is my favorite cheap car at the moment.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I was kind of tempted on that too, Kyree…plus, you can get a manual on the iM, which makes it far better to drive. Theoretically, Corollas can be had with manuals, but try finding one.

      But the Yaris iA is the real gem in the Toyota small car lineup. I came very close to buying one.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      If Toyota would consider a *slightly* bigger engine in the iM, they’d have my attention. The Lexus 2.0T would be my pick, but of course only some fully amortized powertrain is going in the iM. And even if they had the block to drop in, you’ve got a $26k hatch that will be unfavorably compared to the upmarket Focus, Civic, Cruze, and 3 hatch variants.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    They also hold resale value like nothing aside from a Wrangler.

    Lease for $179/$0 down or $139/$2500 down. Repeat every 3 years.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I know a couple of old people who are doing just that, leasing a Corolla for running around town and grocery-getting.

      But when they hit the road with travel trailer in tow, it’s a Ford F250 Banks TurboDiesel.

  • avatar

    Stamp collectors and accountants everywhere rejoice.

    Toyota gets away with the Corolla because many of its buyers have situational anxiety about risking anything else. They’re the kind of people who duck out on cruise travel because “you’re on a boat in the water”. They figure they’ve found something that works, so they’re not going to give anything else a chance. They’re the guy that buys the same pair of shoes over and over because he gets exactly a year’s worth of use out of them at the price point he likes. They’re the dude that orders the hamburger-no-cheese-fries-extra-salt because by God, that’s what he’s been ordering at the corner for three decades and why change that?

    That’s what drives me nuts about Toyota. This vehicle made by any other manufacturer would struggle to gain the market share it currently has. Toyota isn’t trying because it doesn’t have to, because it knows its customers will settle.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    There was a time not that long ago when cloth was the extra cost upgrade over vinyl seating. Not the other way around.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, but the vinyl was terrible. We had vinyl in our 1990 Honda Accord EX (eggplant-colored vinyl, no less), and it got scratched and thinned out and eventually cracked far earlier than most modern leathers or vinyl solutions would have.

      I find BMW’s Sensatec leatherette to be decidedly downmarket, but most of the other ones are pretty good. I like the V-Tex leatherette in my Golf SportWagen.

  • avatar

    That’s Mustang money for a FWD shitbox.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    My mother has one of these. Honestly, lots of people’s mothers have these.

    It’s profoundly easy to operate and handles the “intermittent” level of maintenance and upkeep that most people inflict on their vehicles* better than just about anything else, save Toyota’s other cockroach, the Yaris. It’s done this not just for the last couple of years, or since the manufacturer had a come-to-Jesus moment, or only if you keep up with the maintenance: it’s been the low-TCO choice for thirty years.

    My only complaint is that the seat cushions are pretty short. Otherwise, this is a really good car, just not by traditional metrics. Assuming you rustproof it, there’s no reason you couldn’t drive one of these for _another_ thirty years.

    * (the old tale was the GM cars run badly for longer than most cars run. Corollas run well despite neglect longer than most cars run with religious maintenance)

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      A Corolla or a 4 cyl Camry are perfect cars for “someone’s mother.”

      I was in Nashville during the holidays visiting my sister-in-law and her guy (husband in all but the legal paperwork) and guy’s mother had recently moved from Texas to Tennessee to be closer to the grandchild. Prior to her leaving Texas a close friend helped her buy a car – a used Mercedes C-sport.

      As we were helping her ensure the correct pressures in her tires (different front and rear pressures) I could hear him muttering: “Why didn’t she just buy a damn Toyota?”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      It’s a really good car as long as all you want is basic transportation…or a highly subsidized lease program where you chuck it in every three years (which, according to the Toyota dealership I shopped, is exactly how most Corolla deals are made).

      If you’re after something more than that, though, far better small cars are out there.

      One sits across the showroom – a Yaris iA.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        As much as I like the Yaris iA (and I’m saving up for one) it isn’t at all like the Corolla: it’s a bit stiffer, lighter, smaller and sportier. Even the driving position is quite different and the ICE ergonomics are worse.

        The Sentra, Cruze and Elantra are about the most comparable, and the Elantra’s probably the most trustworthy of the three, and from what I can tell, that’s where most Corolla cross-shoppers go.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Because the Yaris iA is a Mazda 2.

          Toyota is pulling the same trick the Big 3 did in the 1970s. Let someone else build a small car for them.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “The Sentra, Cruze and Elantra are about the most comparable, and the Elantra’s probably the most trustworthy of the three, and from what I can tell, that’s where most Corolla cross-shoppers go.”

          Actually, I’d say the Corolla’s arch-nemesis is the Civic…and it’s selling extremely well. Both cars come with the same kind of bulletproof rep (whether the Civic’s is still earned is another question), but the Civic is WORLDS better to drive. Could be the reason why Civic sales are up far more than Corolla is, despite the fact that Honda doesn’t do much fleet selling, if any.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam Hell Jr

            The Civic is doing an interesting thing by getting Americans to pay D-segment prices for a C-segment car, but then it’s a compact only in the academic sense anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      My mother has a 2009 Matrix with about 140K on it.

      Mechanically it’s been fine. One accesseory belt, two transmission sensors, one valve cover gasket and then just the basic plugs/fluids/brakes. On the negative side, paint quality is pretty poor and battery cable corrosion has been an issue for the past few years. It is also a bit noisy but that probably isn’t unreasonable for a high-milage compact hatch.

      Overall, I would have rather she bought a W-body Lacrosse, but the local Buick dealer is useless and it might have been too big for her anyway.

      What she *really* wants is something like a Verano but made by Toyota or Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “W-body Lacrosse”

        I’ve heard surprisingly poor reports on those reliability wise, more so than the plebian Impalas upon which they are based.

        Re: transmission sensors, my brother just diagnosed and replaced a solenoid on a ’10 Corolla with 190k miles. $200 or so for the part I think, labor was just dropping the pan and swapping the part and putting new fluid in. The transmission shop the customer initially went to told her she needed a new transmission…

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Indeed. It’s an excellent car. It’s just not an interesting one.

      I know a very nice middle aged lady with a ~2009ish Corolla with well over 200K trouble-free miles on it who knows nothing about cars, cares nothing about driving, wants only for it to start & run with minimal cost and be reasonably comfortable. She’s the perfect Corolla buyer. When inquiring if she should consider a new car given the mileage I suggested she continue to go with old reliable until it actually gives her a reason to trade out. If/when she does want a new car I will recommend another Corolla.

      I’d much rather drive a Civic, Mazda3, Jetta, Golf, or Focus but all of the advantages of those cars over the Corolla would be of zero consequence to her and they all come with compromises that are of consequence. Corolla’s just the ticket for some people.

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    Basically the same ZR engine Toyota’s been using in the Corolla with a few tweaks since 2007. It was barely adequate then, it’s pretty much antiquated now. The only upside is that’s reliable as it gets.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Timothy, why no comparisons with the Corollas most important competitors, the Civic and the Elantra?

    As for handling, driving dynamics, road feel, etc. We petrol/gearheads and auto journalist better get over ourselves. The majority of consumers don’t give a rat’s backside about these. The market has spoken. It wants reliable, consistent, functional and relatively inexpensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      I was simply operating under the assumption, in part because space does not permit us to go into a comparison with every possible competitor, that the Corolla buyer will emphasize reliability. So I chose to compare the Corolla with two highly-rated CR models, one of which stands out because of a redesign and standard AWD, and another that I consider to be the top choice. The Canadian-centric GCBC review of this Corolla is likely to look at more comparables, a few days from now.

  • avatar
    Bigazfordtruck

    I own a 2005 model with the 5spd.
    I have a little over 300,000 miles on it and it still runs like brand new. Even though I own 2 Subaru Wrx Stis I still prefer driving the corolla everyday over those two piles.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    Speaking as someone who may have these exact vehicular priorities in the fairly near future, I’ll echo the comment that a new, crashworthy, sub $20k car with rock bottom TCO and a backseat and trunk that can swallow up car seats is bloody attractive.

    The Corolla driving experience crosses over from unobtrusive to genuinely irritating, so I’m way more likely to spring for a lightly used midsizer, but still. Can’t help but respect the packaging.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Re: Car Seats – forward facing or rear facing? (wife had a 2005 Vibe – built on the Corolla platform. Unless they have significantly increased the rear seat room for this new generation.)

      My daughters rear facing seat meant that the passenger seat was in a position where anyone over 5’5″ was going to be eating their knees. Forward facing was no problem.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The rear-seat issue is a failing in any small car other than the original-generation Nissan Versa. I don’t think there’s been another car in this class since that can fit a normal adult in front of a rear-facing seat.

        Possibly the new Fit, but I haven’t tried.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam Hell Jr

        Would be rear-facing. Mrs. Hell and I are planning on our first next year but her lease is up this summer. And I drive a paid-off tC, so the next vehicle would have to be baby-mobile.

        Not challenging the contention that a rear-facing seat wouldn’t be a squeeze, just that it’s feasible in this generation of compacts, which is either an impressive achievement of design efficiency or a horrifying statement of how bloated cars have become depending on your perspective. I do know some young families in big cities who made it work with Corollas and Sentras.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Just bringing it up. I don’t know how long you keep cars. We’re planning our 2nd child and that was one of the motivations for trading the Vibe for a 2016 Terrain. She didn’t want two car seats in Vibe and have to make anyone suffer in the passenger seat. (She also has an love of the sales/service experience of the local Buick/GMC dealer.)

          • 0 avatar
            Sam Hell Jr

            And I assume that’s where we’ll end up as well. The wife has a strong preference for a CUV for all the usual reasons but that means an older, less-optioned model in our price range.

            And man I hate them. Terrible seats, terrible driving positions, all of them.

            Wasn’t commenting on my own intentions, in any event, just that I can absolutely see why people would get a Corolla over the competitive set.

      • 0 avatar
        bhtooefr

        They added 100 mm to the wheelbase for this generation, so, yes.

        It’s basically a European midsize now.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The Corolla continues to Corolla.

    A loaded S or SE or XSE or whatever has never been a value proposition.

    Most people will be perfect with a sub-$20k model and all of the aforementioned qualities are present and appealing–space, efficiency, safety features.

    I would never willingly choose to drive a Toyota, but they are the perfect appliance for those who view cars as such.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Corolla: The car for people who don’t like cars. Or driving.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      The same has been said of the Fit.

      Actually, in my experience, it’s true of most cars. The driving positions are ideal, not for driving but for airbag positioning. You can’t move the steering column meaningfully, for the same reason.

      The electric power steering, in vogue, may be the best energy-efficient way of providing assist, but no matter WHAT car it’s on, it’s as numb as on a Case David Brown tractor with full-hydraulic steering. NO feedback. Engine response is computer-regulated as you’re driving by wire on the throttle. And an automatic transmission, takes the driving out of driving…you’re just working controls, as you might with a blender.

      It’s the New Age Driving Experience. No wonder so many young people are so disenchanted, so bored with it, they need Smartphones to distract…and they can’t WAIT for the self-driving car.

      They never have, and most never will, feel a big V8 with a four-speed, or a torquey six with a three-on-the-floor; or the tactile overload of a Jeep CJ with a six and three-speed and power nothing, with the pavement whizzing by your left foot.

      A pity.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d say the Fit is a lot more fun to drive than the Corolla.

        I might have popped for one had it not been so damn loud on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          And there you have it.

          The rawness of old cars has disappeared because the market demanded so.

          Car manufacturers don’t add Dynamat and isolate suspension/steering components for fun. They did those things because people wanted less NVH.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Those sticker prices sounds absolutely insane, I can only assume a more realistic ‘on the ground’ price is $18k-ish for this top trim model? Driving one of these and a new Civic 1.5T (priced similarly IIRC) is probably a real eye opener.

    I agree with others that when shopping a old school small/tinny compact car like this (not a Golf or new Civic), all the gingerbread just runs the price up needlessly. I’d MUCH rather put that extra money towards jumping up to a midsize Camry with superior power, ride, comfort, space at a fairly minimal cost in fuel economy. If you want cheap and really efficient, then a plainer Corolla LE or Sentra makes sense. My neighbor, a single lady in her 60s leases a black Corolla LE every few years according to her. Her similar age sister does the exact same thing. With how cheap the leases are (owing to the high residuals), it makes a lot of sense. Just simple A-B motoring around town, never worry about anything except oil changes and tire rotations.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Driving one of these and a new Civic 1.5T (priced similarly IIRC) is probably a real eye opener.”

      Driving ANY Civic back to back with a Corolla – even one with the normally aspirated engine and a CVT – is an eye opener too.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        We can only hope that Toyota comes out swinging with the next gen Corolla like Honda did with the Civic, coming off of the dowdy (but reliable/competent) 9th gen Civic. Sounds like the Prius and Camry both ride on the same architecture now, one assumes so will the Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @gtemnykh: Agree. I understand that the automakers generally provide only the ‘tarted up’ models for testing. And that TTAC is trying to break out of auto reporting norms with its ‘Ace of Base’. As in general auto ‘journalists’ nearly always recommend the ‘fully loaded’ version. Well why purchase a fully loaded Corolla when for the same or less you can get a mid-market Camry? Which is a superior vehicle. Not advocating ‘shopping by the pound’ but merely that many options are generally just profit centres for the manufacturers that most consumers can do without.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    You are pulling up to a red light on a 2-lane road. There’s one car ahead of you in each lane. You want to stop behind the car that will accelerate faster, but you haven’t seen the cars ahead driving, and you have to guess which one based solely on the car.

    I play this game all the time. If one of the cars is a Corolla, I always get behind the other car. Rarely is this the wrong choice. Anyone else have picks for this situation?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Don’t get behind the Subaru.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I play a similar game. Live in the Washington DC region. Heavy traffic and frequent backups are a fact of life. Situation: You’re in stop & go traffic, or a crawl, and you need to change lanes. I always look for Toyotas (Priority: Prius, Corolla, then Camry) to try to cut in front of them. My theories/reasons: 1) Most T drivers are excessively cautious and stay well far behind the car in front of them. 2) A lot of T drivers just aren’t good drivers and don’t have quick reflexes. 3) Many loyal T drivers are immigrants and don’t want to get in any trouble with the law see #1 4) T is for the average driver and these days the average driver is on their phone and not paying attention to the road or working on keeping up with traffic. I also have a regional bias based on the jurisdiction of registration, and look for cars with those plates, but I won’t go into that. This system has been pretty reliable for me.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      On a 2-lane road? I’d pick the car not occupying the lane for opposing traffic…

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      “If one of the cars is a Corolla, I always get behind the other car.”

      Exactly. While some Corolla drivers have a clue, the vast majority drive like being on the road is a burden and try to do the least effort.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I pick the one without the Uber or Lyft sticker; they’ll just randomly stop.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Anyone else have picks for this situation?”

      Sure. Always stay in the right lane regardless of what you pull up behind ’cause it’s easier to make a pee stop from the right lane.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    And Toyota continues to build cars with crappy seats. I’ve owned a Celica and a Camry and both had crappy driver seats – not a long enough bottom cushion and not a wide enough range of adjustments. Maybe most Corolla buyers won’t notice or won’t care – but I do.
    Never another Toyota for me – even if they do last “forever”.

  • avatar
    badhobz

    I agree the seats sucks. Compared to the 2012 corolla i had before, the seats in my 2016 are garbage. The cushions are much thinner and shorter. You dont get enough thigh support. The range of motions on the driver seats are also pretty sub par with only 4 way movement ability. The passenger side doesn’t even raise or lowers, only goes back and forward (even on S models).

    But here’s why i continue to lease corollas. They are cheap. Period.
    My 2016 corolla LE comes (which is basically base) with cruise, ac, power, backup camera, bluetooth and heated seats.

    Monthly payment including taxes is $250 dollars canadian with no money down (MSRP was 18,002). I tried to find a similar civic (280-290 a month), a Jetta (300 a month) or golf (320 a month) and nothing really comes close to that price range. Even the sentra was at 270 a month and performed worse than the corolla.

    I wasnt looking for a “sporty” car to get stuck in traffic with, i have other cars to do that. I just needed a basic run of the mill economy car that can adequately fit a 6’2 adult male and is cheap on gas. I usually beat the hell out of these corollas and yet they’ve never given me any problems.

    Compared to the more finicky cars in my stable, its nice to just drive the quiet and peaceful little shitbox around town. Nobody takes a second glance at you and you can just carry on blending in with the rest of society.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I think Toyota is a better all around car company than Honda, but the Corolla has always been a misfire.

    For almost every generation, I would prefer to own a Honda Civic over the Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “the Corolla has always been a misfire”

      May Spaghetti Monster permit my stocks to so misfire.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Man, no kidding. If Corolla is a misfire, then what is considered a success? Granted, it’s no bahnburner, but that many buyers can’t all be wrong. Full disclosure, my parents owned two…a new 1981 two door in marvelous burnt orange metallic (that my dad would quickly put a flip-top sunroof on…glorious!) and my mom’s 1993 Corolla that was also bought new and then sold 10 years later for more than I was asking when I sold it for her. Both ran ten years without fail. No major (heck, not really even minor) issues. Soulless? You betcha. Stupid-reliable and dependable? Roger that. We should all have such misfires.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I hope they fixed the headlights on these things. I see a lot of newer style Corollas here in Eastern Canada and they all have LED headlights. For some reason, the Corolla’s lights produce a ton of glare.

    I don’t seem to notice this with other factory LEDs, even those on other Toyotas. I wonder if they’re just aligned incorrectly from the factory or something?

  • avatar
    brettc

    Toyota needs a turbo Corolla, like the Sentra SR turbo. I don’t know what the take rate would be like, but if I had to buy something like a Corolla, a higher power option would be my pick.

    But for 99% of Corolla buyers, 140/132 HP is probably “fine” so maybe not…

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    As a proud (not really) owner of a 2006 Corolla Cheapskate Edition with 132k miles on the clock, the Corolla can be summed up pretty easily.

    Good/Great: It always starts. It runs without any funny noises from anything mechanical, suspension etc. It doesn’t use very much fuel. Any work it needs costs $8.72 (including tax) and you can do it yourself in 15 minutes.

    NotGood/Bad: Everything else.

    The cheap bare-bones washing machine/refrigerator/vacuum for people who don’t give 2 beans about automobiles in any way.

    I get it. It is about as “free” to drive as an automobile can be. But jeebus it never makes you feel remotely special in even the smallest ways. Unless you’re extremely cash constrained, just about anything else makes more sense and will be much more pleasurable to own.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      In fairness, for much of your car’s 2003-2008 run it was one of the better compacts. Comparatively quiet, top-of-class interior quality, and this same 1.8 was on the quick end of the spectrum. It was far more class competitive than the current Corolla is.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d actually say that mid-2000s era of Corolla was a great car – not a performer, but it was amazingly refined for its’ time. The new one feels junky compared to anything else in its’ class.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Nails the left brain attributes but is a complete joyless lump.

    Toyota has been promising a renewed emphasis on driving character and is gradually delivering some of that, but slapping the SE and XSE trims that mean something on a Camry onto a dynamically inferior Corolla is only going to cheapen that effort. Should have been honest and stuck only with LE and XLE.

    To motivate Toyota on its replacement, I hope the Civic slaps this thing *hard* in the sales race.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    For $24k you can get a loaded Jetta. The base S with the 1.4T starts at $17k. A loaded GLI 2.0T is $27k. It’s a bit better in the NVH department as well as having crisper handling. Most models offer a manual or the highly regarded 6 speed dual clutch automatic. The big drawback is VW reliability has been subpar.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Are you serious?

      Comparing a Corolla to a Jetta, is along the lines of comparing a Camaro to a stripped-down cab-and-chassis truck, of thirty years ago. Diametrically opposites, in form, in use, in value.

      What a German car offers, a Corolla buyer has no interest in.

      What a Corolla offers, twenty years of reliable service and then high resale value with over 150k miles on it…just simply does NOT happen with a M-B or VW.

      The VW offers what soccer-moms don’t care about. And then, about the time the payment book is three-quarters through…when the owner’s basically upside down on residual value…the very, very expensive failures start.

      And about the time the note is paid for, the wonder of German engineering and marketing, is being pawed over by Murilee Martin, as he wonders why an only-eight-year-old Jetta with no collision damage is in the boneyard.

      Not advertised is that the total cost of repairs is far more than the KBB value.

      So…no, I don’t think you’re going to persuade many Corolla shoppers to go German.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Uh, no, they’re both four door sedans.

        And a base Jetta 1.4T isn’t *radically* faster than a Corolla. The difference is about 2 seconds in 0-60. But it’s a difference you can definitely feel, and the overall driving experience is vastly more refined and satisfying.

        And Jettas don’t feel like junk when you open and close the doors. Corollas do. And I’m not the only one who thinks so – the guy who tried to sell me one said a lot of people noticed that too. The Yaris iA was a far better car.

        CR recommended the Jetta, so the reliability is not a real issue (it is with the Golf, apparently).

        The difference is that the Jetta is vastly better to drive. That’s why I bought one.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Yah. Who ya gonna believe, Consumer Reports or your own lyin’ eyes?

          Hit me once, shame on you. Hit me twice, shame on ME.

          I’ve gotten belted twice, at the hands of the highway-robbers who run VW. First, a Gen1.5 Rabbit-by-Westmoreland, which was a POS. All the expense and low performance of the German pregenitor; and none of the quality of assembly or interior materials.

          That wasn’t enough; I had to learn twice, with a mid-1980s Vanagon Waterboxer. Great van…when it was running, which wasn’t always. Fuel system problems; bigger problems with reasonable repair prices and recommendations. To repair a faltering fuel system, the dealer recommended replacing THE ENTIRE FUEL TANK, PUMP, and ALL LINES.

          That wasn’t happening; not at the prices, not for a then-ten-year-old rig with a low KBB value. A relined tank and new fuel pump resulted in a quick re-failure and a refusal by the VW stealer to honor the pump warranty. Why was a cleaned, relined tank not acceptable?

          Why should I care? They are liars, thieves, scoundrels, with the ethics of a grave robber. I’ve spent my last nickel on their ripoff scheme.

          I’ll put up with a dull driving performance – because the first purpose of a car is transportation, not recreation. I’ll take the worst, held-to-sticker-price Toyota over the best-imaginable deal from the proven liars and frauds.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I’ll take the worst, held-to-sticker-price Toyota over the best-imaginable deal from the proven liars and frauds.”

            Bad news…they’re giving away Toyotas too, you know.

            Meh on VW reliability. My first car was a VW and it never broke down. We’ll see about this one. If it turns out to be a dog, well, I leased it, so in three years I’ll be on to something else.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            JustPassin,
            You’re absolutely correct that a Corolla will still net you better high-mile reliability and resale potential, but it’s a bit extreme to reference 30+ year old Rabbits and Vanagons. My 2010 Jetta went 7 years and 85K miles without issue and was fantastic to own and drive over that time.

            For leasing, as Mike is doing, it would be a no-brainer for me: Jetta. 200K mile anticipated ownership? No-brainer: Civic.

            Buying cheap at 100K and keeping to 200K because I want reliability and utility above all else? Now you’re talking Corolla.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Corollas are cockroaches. They won’t be fun to drive, but they will last forever with minimal care. It’s my #1 reference car (or Camry) for anyone who knows and cares little about cars and asks my advice about what to purchase.

    I recently had the LE model for a week-long rental…it was everything Tim describes but lamer since it didn’t have a power seat and ANY Toyota needs a power seat for me to feel comfortable. I did expect better gas mileage (around 34 overall) but I guess it’s par. It was numb but competent.

    I could see the SE with sunroof and safety suite for my kid’s first car. She won’t be able to kill it…

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Myself and 2 siblings all learned how to drive with an 81 Corolla wagon, absolutely indestructible, I’m talkin you could move to Mexico and feed it 63 octane and from that desert gas station in the Terminator. All the while never changing a single molecule of fluid not gasoline.

  • avatar
    badhobz

    I agree the seats sucks. Compared to the 2012 corolla i had before, the seats in my 2016 are garbage. The cushions are much thinner and shorter. You dont get enough thigh support. The range of motions on the driver seats are also pretty sub par with only 4 way movement ability. The passenger side doesn’t even raise or lowers, only goes back and forward (even on S models).

    But here’s why i continue to lease corollas. They are cheap. Period.
    My 2016 corolla LE comes (which is basically base) with cruise, ac, power, backup camera, bluetooth and heated seats.

    Monthly payment including taxes is $250 dollars canadian with no money down (MSRP was 18,002). I tried to find a similar civic (280-290 a month), a Jetta (300 a month) or golf (320 a month) and nothing really comes close to that price range. Even the sentra was at 270 a month and performed worse than the corolla.

    I wasnt looking for a “sporty” car to get stuck in traffic with, i have other cars to do that. I just needed a basic run of the mill economy car that can adequately fit a 6’2 adult male and is cheap on gas. I usually beat the hell out of these corollas and yet they’ve never given me any problems.

    Compared to the more finicky cars in my stable, its nice to just drive the quiet and peaceful little crap can around town. Nobody takes a second glance at you and you can just carry on blending in with the rest of society.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    My significant loved one has caught the Toyota bug and now buying anything else other than Toyota is poor judgement. I may be condemned to Toyota for life. Pity me. Her Camry drives like a subway car, and that’s all it is expected to do. But it is reliable, or at least is reputed to be reliable. We’ll see. Schadenfreude is bad.

    I thought both Dart and 200 deserved better. They should have put “Handling by Alfa Romeo” badges on them.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    LOL at how Toyota trolls its own customers.

    You want a sport package, how about all show and even less go than the base model?

    I mean, every time I see a Corolla S (the older “sporty” model) SE or when I see this XSE, I can’t help but think “now there is someone who knows nothing about cars. Poor guy/gal, s/he thinks s/he truly has a sporty compact.”

    Its sad. But, if they put on blinders when car shopping and only take them off at the Toyota dealer, thats what they get.

    I mean, the only people who will buy a “sporty” Corolla have never heard of a compact that both looks AND FEELS/DRIVES sporty, they think all cars are boring and mind-numbing to drive.

    But, its reliable! Long lasting! A great value! That’s why you’ll need a new one in 3 years.


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