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Toyota Corolla E170 (2013-present): review, specs, problems

Toyota Corolla's eleventh generation (codename E170) debuted in 2013, with the North American version leading the launch, followed by the European and other international variants.

Considered a compact vehicle in the US, the Corolla spawned four versions that shaped the range: L, LE, LE Eco and S, while design cues came from the Furia concept.

The (only) engine was pretty much similar to what the previous generation brought to the table, and a new CVT showed up to the party. In 2016, Toyota operated a facelift effective in 2017 featuring restyled front and rear ends, new infotainment systems and additional color choices.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • comfortable ride
  • frugal
  • cheap to run
  • spacious cabin
  • logical interior layout

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • mediocre performance
  • lack of engine diversity
  • boring package overall

Stay Away From
  • the CVT is noisy and fails to suitably manage the motor's shy power output
  • stay away from the four-speed manual
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • users reported rough engine idle and loss of power while driving, together with unintended acceleration at low speeds
  • some 2014 Toyota Corolla models were recalled for faulty wipers
  • other nuisances include rattling dashboards and seat heating failure

Car Details
Powertrain

Toyota opted for a 1.8-liter petrol unit tasked with putting the US Corolla in motion. The four-cylinder mill offered two power outputs: 132 hp/128 lb-ft for the L, LE and S versions, and 140 hp/126 lb-ft for the allegedly more efficient LE Eco derivative.

The driving experience, however, falls in the insipid category. There's plenty of noise on acceleration (especially when the CVTs manage the engine). Otherwise, both the four-speed and the six-speed manual will tempt the enthusiastic driver with long yet crisp shifting credentials.


Handling

Since Toyota made some efforts (and succeeded) to drop the Corolla's weight, the eleventh generation feels a tad nimbler on the road, although the numb steering quickly brings you back to reality.

So does the suspension, a body-roll magnet but not more than you'd expect from a laid back sedan. After all, the Corolla is here to offer a comfortable ride, and it does just that, as the soft suspension setup acts like a proper firewall for potholes, bumps and other road irregularities.


Safety

A five-star rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS place the Toyota Corolla in the safe family car club. It would have earned a Top Safety Pick+ badge, but it barely passed the small overlap crash test.

Other than that, every Corolla comes with traction control and ESC, together with ABS, front side and curtain airbags plus driver knee airbag and passenger seat cushion airbag.

Comfort

Up front, the seats are comfortable and also soft, although lateral support could have been better. The S version fixes that with better-shaped seats.

Tall drivers will fit in with no fuss, and the same goes for the backseat, where space is more than enough - the amount of legroom, in particular, impresses when compared to the competition.


Quality

Materials are alright (not exactly Ford Focus or Kia Forte territory, but still adequate), and there's a noticeable lack of cohesion in the Corolla's overall build.

Controls and knobs sit within ergonomic reach, and the infotainment displays get decent graphics - yet glitchy most of the times - and easy-to-read interfaces.


Practicality

Cargo space stands at 13 cu-ft - it's not the best out there, yet loading and unloading require less effort courtesy of a wide trunk opening and low loading lip. Plus, the rear seat is split-foldable 60/40 for extra luggage space.

Inside, storage spaces should accommodate bits and bobs like small water bottles, phones, and whatnot. The medium-sized glove box also comes in handy, but you'll appreciate the generous door pockets the most.


Infotainment

Every US-bound Corolla gets Bluetooth phone connectivity and a CD player connected to a four-speaker system with USB/iPod ports.

As you go higher up the trim level pyramid, the infotainment options get more diverse, including a six-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, six-speaker sound system, satellite radio and a navigation system.

Efficiency

According to EPA data, the Corolla LE Eco returns 35 mpg combined (30 mpg city/42 mpg highway), but that's the frugal variant.

For the 132-horsepower variants, efficiency ratings say 31 mpg combined/28 mpg city/37 mpg highway (with the six-speed manual) and slightly better for the CVT-managed versions - 32 mpg combined/29 mpg city/38 mpg highway.


Equipment

The entry-level Toyota Corolla L has 15-inch steel wheels, LED low beam headlights, adjustable driver's seat (height only), plus electric windows and side mirrors.

Corolla LE adds heated mirrors, a rearview camera, cruise control, 16-inch rims (also made of steel) and a six-inch infotainment display. For alloy wheels, go for the LE Plus trim or if you fancy premium-like vinyl upholstery, then turn your attention towards LE Premium models.

The range-topping Corolla S is where the treats are: chromed grille, foglights, rear spoiler and sport front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and - thanks to the S Plus, larger 17-inch alloys and firmer shocks.


Acquisition

Although there are better options out there in terms of quality and looks, the Toyota Corolla retains its comfort credentials while doing nothing to spice the driving experience which is still lost in the dull territory.

But if you're looking for a frugal everyday car, the Corolla might do the job especially around the city and on short, weekend-long escapes.

Click on a model to learn more about it.

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