The Corolla, Toyota's mainstay compact gets more aggressive and contemporary styling with its redesign, along with a four-inch longer wheelbase for an improved ride and increased interior room.
Toyota says to expect highway fuel economy on the far side of the 40-mpg barrier, thanks to better aerodynamics and mechanical improvements including a new continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Four trim levels will be offered. L, LE, and S models are all powered by a 132-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. In an interesting, throwback twist, the base L is available with a cost-conscious four-speed automatic. Other trims get the CVT as the automatic choice. This transmission uses software to mimic the feel of a conventional transmission with seven separate ratios. A six-speed manual will also be available on base L and sporty S models. A new mid-level LE Eco model gets a 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, low rolling resistance tires, and other mpg boosting tricks to deliver that 40-mpg plus on the highway. Toyota has not released estimates for the other versions.
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Inside, soft-touch surfaces and piano black trim highlight upgrades to a more refined interior that Toyota says will be both quieter and roomier than the outgoing model, with almost three inches added to the rear seating area. All models get eight standard airbags and Bluetooth connectivity. Optional features include touchscreen audio, push button start, a moon roof, and backup camera.
Excellent fuel economy and top-notch reliability have historically made the Corolla one of our top-Rated, if somewhat boring compact sedans. The new model looks like it has the potential to build on those strengths, in a more interesting package.
Pricing has not been announced, but look for the Corolla to hit dealerships in the fall.
—Jim TraversMore from Consumer Reports:
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