Published in CAR REVIEWS

Toyota Corolla turns 50 and gains some standard tech features for 2017 Featured

Feb 26, 2017 Hit: 613 Written by 
Toyota's Corolla has hit the half-century mark, a rarity in the auto industry.
Toyota's Corolla has hit the half-century mark, a rarity in the auto industry. Photo courtesy of Toyota

50 years is a rare birthday for a car make to reach … Only a select few have done it; but the Toyota Corolla has now joined that group.

Toyota has sold a ton of these things over the years (technically, it’s the best-selling car of all time with over 43 million sold), and it’s gone through many changes through the years, but the nameplate persists, and strongly too.

To put the model’s popularity in perspective: Once you get past the pickup sales, the Corolla only trails Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Civic in overall U.S. sales … that’s impressive.

I recently drove a Corolla and I’m back to let you all know whether the car measures up to all the hype it’s been creating for the past five decades.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2017 Toyota Corolla
  • Price as tested:: $24.831 (starting price is $18.500)
  • Best feature:: Reliability, spacious interior
  • Rating:: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Small car buyers seeking an inexpensive option with high reliability and resale value



The best point that can be made about the 2017 Corolla’s interior is the surprising amount of space you get, especially in back. This is officially a compact sedan, but it feels like a midsize sedan. It’s a segment leader in this regard.

Exterior design is pretty standard and won’t win any awards; it looks like a Corolla. You do get standard LED headlights up front, which is a nice addition.

Interior design is a no-frills affair; we’re not in the luxury price bracket. Power moonroof is an option, but not much else. A hatchback version (now called the Corolla iM -- formerly the Scion iM) is also available if you’re a hatch-lover.



The Corolla I tested was powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine; producing 132 horsepower and 128 lb.-ft. of torque. A CVT automatic transmission is offered; as is a manual option.

To get to the point, power is underwhelming in the 2017 Corolla and the overall driving experience is nothing to write home about. Blame it on a variety of factors -- engine, suspension, steering, etc., but this isn’t a vehicle you’ll be pumped up about driving. It does get you from Point A to Point B very well though, and that’s what a large percentage of drivers care about most these days. So that is the target audience. But if you want to go 0 to 60 quickly, look elsewhere.

If you know going in that this isn’t a performance car, you can limit the disappointment. If that is important to you, I would recommend steering clear of the Corolla and going with the Ford Focus or the Mazda3, a couple of sportier driving alternatives to the Corolla.


The Corolla’s Entune infotainment system works well most of the time, but its overall design and function lags behind others in the industry. Navigation was adequate and got me where I needed to go. The size of the screen is either 6.1 inches (standard size) or 7 inches if you upgrade.

The biggest change in 2017 for the Corolla is new standard tech features.

While blind spot monitoring is unfortunately not offered, several other features are included on all Corollas; This list includes helpful features like:
-- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
-- Lane-departure alert
-- Lane-keeping assist

-- Adaptive cruise control (one of my favorite features … slows you down if others veer into your lane while you’re on cruise)

One area where the Corolla lags is that there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capability.

Safety tests were ranked well, among the best scores in the segment and beyond, so you can feel good about carrying your loved ones around in the Corolla.

And just to speak to longevity … Part of the reason that the Corolla is such an icon is that it lasts so long, and people keep buying it for that reason. Now, I am a bit of a skeptic at times (i.e. I do NOT believe the guy who tells me that he drove his car for 400,000 miles and only changed the oil … that’s a fish tale), but I do recognize that certain brands and car makes last a lot longer than others. The Corolla seems to be one of the vehicles with a very healthy life span, which also helps its resale value.

Official numbers on the Corolla that I tested were 28 city/35 highway/31 combined. These are decent numbers for the segment, but are bested by its top rival -- the Honda Civic. It does beat other compact sedans in the segment. Fuel tank is just over 13 gallons, so you’ll max out around 400 miles per tank, perhaps a bit higher.

My test vehicle was at the top of the line and came in just under $25K; base price starts about $18.5K. That’s basically the range right there. Considering how long these things last and the high resale value, the price is definitely right on the Corolla.

While the Corolla ride may lack excitement, it’s hard to argue that the Corolla isn’t one of the top choices in its segment, just based off its roomy interior and reputation for reliability. Even after 50 years, this little car that could continues to impress and be a worldwide success, and I see no reason that is going to change in the years to come.

============================ can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Last modified on Monday, 27 February 2017 05:52
Read 613 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

K2 Tags

K2 Calendar

« June 2018 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Most 5 Read

Video galleries