Auto Review: The Corolla grows up
By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Wed., Jun. 26, 2013
Since its inception in the 1960s, the Toyota Corolla has now sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 million units worldwide and has been indispensable in terms of affordable transportation for millions of owners. Now in its 10th generation, the car has been manufactured in 16 locations and sold in 154 countries. The biggest improvements for the 2013 model year involve tweaks to the interior electronics to keep pace with the interface requirements of our portable electronic devices, as well as integrating some of the latest mobile technology options in the higher-end trim lines. Numerous refinements over the years have changed the Corolla from basic, low-maintenance economical transportation to a roomier, more comfortable and refined sedan that still has all its original attributes.
Available in three trim levels (Base, LE and S), the front-drive Corolla rides on a 102.4-inch wheelbase and is powered across the board by a 1.8 Inline Four with 132 horsepower. Transmission choices consist of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, and our S test unit was equipped with the automatic gearbox. Acceleration was surprisingly brisk, with 60 mph arriving in an average of around 7 seconds. The transmission shifts crisply, and all in all this drivetrain is very well suited to the car, and we averaged 32 MPG in a week of mixed driving.
Another area in which economy cars have improved dramatically over the years is ride quality, for the Corolla blends a comfortable ride with good control during spirited driving, and bump compliance is notable for such an affordable package. Even though the Corolla is one of those increasingly rare birds that has drum rear brakes, the car regularly stopped from 60 mph in around 120 feet, which is a fine performance for the class. My only quibble is steering that is a trifle light, although I’ve certainly experienced less feedback than the Corolla delivers.
The interior of the Corolla reflects the general improvement of the compact class, in that what used to be a cheap, Spartan experience is now much more accommodating. The S seating is supportive and comfortable with stout, durable fabric designed for heavy use. The controls are familiar and intuitive, and those seeking the latest in touch-screen interfaces will be pleased if they opt for the Display Audio with Navigation package that includes Toyota’s Entune system, which can tie voice recognition with all manner of interfaces with your devices to support streaming audio and a broad range of services. The rear seat passengers are treated to a surprising amount of room considering the compact external dimensions, and a flat floor for generous foot room. Seatbacks can fold forward to increase the usable cargo space via access to the 12.3-cubic-foot trunk.
The 2013 Toyota Corolla S is EPA rated 26 MPG city/34 highway and has a base price of $19,060. With options, the final MSRP came to $21,729. There’s an all-new Corolla coming for 2014, so this will be the last of an excellent generation. www.toyota.com