In 2010, the Toyota Corolla was the best selling compact sedan in America, just barely edging out the Honda Civic . It seems we have a bit of a crush on the well-priced, economical little four-door. So how do you improve an already well-liked car? Very carefully. For 2011, the Corolla receives minor design modifications to the exterior and a few new safety systems, including standard stability and traction control and a complimentary maintenance plan. Modifications have kept the Corolla in the game until a full redesign is ready (though was there ever any doubt it would fall from its perch?). Despite this, the competition is getting tough, with the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra featuring all-new looks and more technology. Toyota isn't sweating it though, and the Corolla features a good amount of storage space and interior comfort to keep everyone happy.
What's to Like
Spaciousness in the cabin and plenty of cubbies for storage – including a dual-glovebox – make the Corolla livable. A few new tech features have been added over the years to keep the Corolla up to date, such as Bluetooth music streaming and push-to-talk voice recognition features. Pricing is right in the middle of the segment. Rear legroom is surprisingly good.
What's Not to Like
Some interior components feel cheap to the touch; interior design is slightly outdated. Throttle response and steering lack feel. Gas mileage isn't bad, but the newer models on the market are hitting 40 mpg. Horsepower numbers aren't as impressive as those of the competition.
The Corolla has fairly average performance on both highways and urban roads. It's quiet, except when the engine revs, and has a bump-absorbing suspension – perfect for potholed areas. But its age shows through most clearly in other areas of the ride. Toyota's compact sedan is less powerful than both the Civic and the Elantra , a deficiency unmasked during the drive. Coupled with slow throttle response thanks to an underperforming gearbox, it remains underwhelming in passing situations and when you need to get up to speed quickly. The four-speed automatic transmission is outdated, especially when considering the competition has five and six speeds. Steering is vague and a bit loose.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Corolla employs a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It produces 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque using either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission to send power to the front wheels.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
A tilting/telescoping steering wheel is standard, and cruise control is available on the S and LE trims. The S and LE tri...