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2018 Toyota Corolla Overview
Toyota has sold well over 40 million Corollas over the last five decades, making it the best-selling car ever. The Corolla has been successful largely because it’s such a great all-rounder—it’s fuel efficient with more room than a tiny eco-box; it’s affordable without feeling cheap; and thanks to Toyota’s legendary build quality and reliability, it will always get you from point A to point B. The current generation Corolla receives only minor changes for 2018—last year’s 50th Anniversary Edition is now gone, illuminated vanity mirrors are now standard across the range, and the SE and XLE trims get a new leather-wrapped steering wheel. Trims for 2018 include the L, LE, LE Eco, SE, XLE, and the range-topping XSE. A Corolla iM hatchback is also available as its own distinct model.
Under the hood of the Corolla is a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine. It makes 132 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque in all trims except the LE Eco, which has a different valve timing setup for maximum efficiency and actually produces 8 more peak hp than the rest of the lineup, although at a cost of 2 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) comes standard on all trims, although a 6-speed manual is available on the SE.
As is the case with most things on the Corolla, fuel economy is good but not exceptional. The L and LE trims get 28 mpg city, 36 highway, and 32 combined, while the SE and XSE trims have slightly bigger wheels and will do 28, 35, and 31. When equipped with the manual, the SE posts figures of 27, 35, and 30, and the XLE gets 28, 36, and 32. With its tweaked valve timing and special tires, the LE Eco really takes things up a notch. It boasts fuel-economy numbers of 30, 40, and 34 with the standard 15-inch wheels and 29, 38, and 33 with the optional 16-inchers. While these are decent EPA figures, several of the Corolla’s competitors can manage 40 or more highway mpg on their standard models.
The Corolla’s interior has been generally critiqued for feeling fairly cheap, but on paper the cabin is well equipped as far as standard features are concerned. A 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, USB and auxiliary jacks, a reversing camera, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and Bluetooth are included across the lineup. Upgrades to the infotainment system come on higher trims, and the XLE and XSE receive a power driver’s seat and synthetic leather upholstery. XLE and XSE trims are also available with a full navigation system. There aren’t many premium options or features to excite potential buyers, but that’s also why a loaded 2018 Corolla won’t even come close to 30 grand.
Despite its lack of unique interior features, the Corolla does excel in terms of high-tech safety equipment. The 2017 model received Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the 2018 model earned a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA). Toyota’s Safety Sense suite comes standard on all trims and includes automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.
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