Toyota’s designs aren’t going to be loved by all. That’s an understatement, in fact, as some people downright loathe the new looks of their vehicles. I find it curious, especially when placed on vehicles like the Avalon that have older buying audiences who will be more hesitant to accept it, but on the Corolla I think this look is a good fit. It’s a lower-priced vehicle that is among the best-selling in the world, so many younger buyers will flock to it and appreciate the unique styling.
Inside, in a stark contrast, the Corolla is very basic and no frills -- the opposite of high-end. You’re not getting the Lexus treatment here. It’s a simple, low-priced sedan that is comfortable to sit in for sure, but the opposite of fancy in its design setup and materials. On the plus side, I will say that the back seat was very roomy for the compact sedan segment.
The 2018 Corolla features a couple different engine options, both being 1.8-liter, four cylinder engines with varying horsepower levels (132 or 140) and torque levels (126 and 128).
A CVT transmission is offered, and you can also opt for a manual 6-speed, which will please those who enjoy controlling the gears. Front-wheel drive is the only option on the Corolla.
No one denies that the Corolla is a great vehicle -- it has been around for more than half a century, and continues to sit near the top of sales charts year in and year out.
But to be kind, it’s not the kind of car you look forward to driving.
It’s not very fast, handling is so-so, getting up to speed is a chore, and even using the Sport mode setting doesn’t spice up your ride very much. It’s a quiet and comfortable ride, though the CVT transmission can be a bit loud at times.
Let’s call it what it is: The Corolla is one of the best Point A to Point B cars that you can get for your hard-earned bucks. You just need to know what you’re getting going into the deal.
It’s the opposite of a hot rod, and that’s OK. Everything has its place in the automotive landscape, and the success of the Corolla shows that not everyone is focused on power.
One area where Toyota gets big points is safety. They’re serious about it across their lineup.
Toyota Safety Sense P is standard on the Corolla, and includes: Pre collision system with pedestrian detection, Dynamic radar cruise control, Lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams.
You also get anti-lock brakes, and forward collision warning with auto emergency braking is now standard. 8 airbag are included too.
This level of attention to safety in a smaller car is one of the main reasons people choose a vehicle like the Corolla despite some of its other faults.
Speaking of faults, the Toyota infotainment system is one that’s in need of an update. While functional and generally easy to use, it’s not my favorite system out there by a longshot, and looks quite dated and simplistic in design. The menu system could also be streamlined, but thankfully the voice controls do work well and limit the need to use physical controls.
Another tech feature not available: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity for smartphone mirroring, which most competitors do have.
Official fuel mileage numbers for the 2018 Corolla are 28 city/35 highway/31 combined.
I averaged 30 mpg In my testing. These are decent numbers but not the best you’ll find in the class. At the same time, they’re not so bad as to dismay buyers who otherwise like the vehicle.
My test vehicle was just under $23,000; base price starts about $19K. That's a pretty decent price range right there, and when put up against competitors, most of them are in the same ballpark. So it comes down to which vehicle you prefer and is less about the cost.
Reliability is a key factor here too. Corollas (and Toyotas in general) are generally known for lasting a very long time, so that factors into long-term cost calculations when deciding what compact sedan to choose.
The 2018 Toyota Corolla is one of the stronger compact sedans you can buy if you want something steady to get you wherever you need to go. It’s not going to outshine the competition in terms of power or technology, but is top-notch on safety and reliability. Know that going in, and make your best judgment on whether it’s your cup of tea.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.