2017 Toyota Corolla XSE

2017-toyota-corolla-inline2-photo-667222-s-originalSusan Frissell

The year 2017 marks the Toyota Corolla’s 50th Anniversary. Do buyers care? Maybe. But they know the merits of the successful Corolla and sing its praises when thinking ‘buy for life.’ The bestselling car nameplate of all time, the Corolla is historically a reliable, practical and affordable car. This writer has known a handful of first-time Corolla buyers who are still driving that 20-year old model.

It would be interesting to interview those die-hard Corolla owners to determine how much styling changes matter. If it does, perhaps the refresh for 2017 that also includes some newly available safety features to the Corolla’s eleventh generation compact will appeal. And if you’re so motivated, you may purchase a special-edition 50th Anniversary Corolla, loaded and featuring a few visual standouts.

For 2017, the Corolla lineup changes somewhat: the sporty S trim (we favored) is no longer, and replaced by the SE and XSE trim levels. Moving closer to its big sister’s offerings, the Corolla resembles the Camry in some ways. A XLE trim gets added to the Corolla lineup, and the L and LE models remain untouched.2017-toyota-corolla-xse-cvt-automatic-natl-angular-front-exterior-view_100572150_t

New safety features for 2017 include a backup camera on all trim levels, darkened headlights on the XSE model, along with a larger wheel and rear lip spoiler. Looking at the 2017 Corolla head on you notice the reshaped grille. Somewhat resembling the Lexus update last year, the front end also gets different headlights, and taillights.

Competition is aplenty for the compact segment, and two of the better-looking competitors-Mazda3 and new Honda Civic-outshine the updated Corolla. Hard to compete. Depends, as always, what consumers are looking for: Something that looks updated or is sure to be dependable.

New safety features abound on the Corolla and include the Toyota Safety Sense P package; available on any trim level that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and assist and automatic high-beam headlights. This stand-alone package demonstrates Toyota’s commitment to ‘standard safety suites’ on all their vehicles by the end of 2017.

Hopefully, no one really thinks about a powerful engine when sitting behind the wheel of a compact car. While the Corolla’s engine is peppy and adequate, performance is lacking. The1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is teamed with either the six-speed manual version, or a four-speed automatic, or CVT automatic.

Corolla’s mid-cycle refresh offers better safety equipment, great value, more leg room for rear passengers, standard LED headlights and Toyota’s easily-operated Entune system. This is a vehicle that will get you anywhere, on time and in good stead. Not necessarily true for all vehicle purchases, the Corolla will give you good years of service, will most often start first time, every time, and for a reasonable price.

The average public today simply cannot afford to purchase a new vehicle. Most, at an average price of over $30,000 today is a huge purchase for many earnest workers.

We truly enjoyed our time in the Corolla this week. So easy to drive, maneuver and park. There’s little to dislike. As with most mid-cycle refreshes, pricing shouldn’t change much compared to the outgoing Corolla, which today starts at $18,135 for a base Corolla L with a manual transmission and reaches up to $23,960 for a Corolla S Premium with a CVT, but the new trim designations will surely see some variations in how much content you get for how much money.

The most efficient Corolla, the LE Eco, manages fuel economy upwards of 42 mpg on the highway. The rest of the lineup isn’t far behind: between 27 mpg city, 36 highway, and 31 combined and 29/37/32 mpg, depending on configuration.

When highway driving, we found the wind noise to be fairly noticeable. The ride is even and predictable and braking adequate. There isn’t much one can say that’s negative when considering this ever-popular compact car. It would be a great second car to keep on hand for quick trips to-and-fro in town. Some days it’s just preferable to drive an ‘easy’ car. Headroom can be tight for a tall driver

The Corolla could, of course, use a little more power and while the new look isn’t dramatically different, it’s a little more up-to-date. If consumers want to stand out a little in their Corolla, they can opt for the 50th Anniversary Edition, of which only 8,000 will be sold, and in three colors only. They also feature a 17-inch alloy wheel, special floor mats and badges, contrast stitching in Black Cherry color hues on a black interior, and dash and door accents. If you need to add on, two options available are a power moonroof and Entune Premium Audio System with navigation and app suite.

The Anniversary edition does stand out some, with a bit of an wedge-look design, angled front shapes and tilted upward window line at each rear door. Opt for the XSE model and you’ll add a blacked-out grille with fog lamps, aggressive air dam and integrated rear spoiler.


MSRP: $22,680; total vehicle price $24,416, destination $865
Engine: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve, dual VVT-1, 135 hp., 128 lb.ft. torque
Transmission: CVT, FWD
Wheelbase: 106. 3in.
Height: 57.3 in.
Width: 69.9 in.
Length: 183.1 in.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gal.
EPA Fuel Economy: 28/35 mpg., avg. 31 mpg.
Tires: P215/45R17
Curb Weight: 2,885 lbs
Wheels: 17-in Machined Alloy with Black Painted Accents
Warranty: 3 yr/36,000-miles Basic; 5 yr/unlimited corrosion; 5 yrs/60,000-miles drivetrain; 4 yrs/25,000-miles maintenance; 2 yrs/unlimited roadside assistance

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