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2016 Toyota Corolla LE Plus Review by John Heilig +VIDEO


By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


MODEL: 2016 Toyota Corolla LE Plus

ENGINE: 1.8-liter DOHC 4


HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 132 hp @ 6,000 rpm/128 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm

WHEELBASE: 106.3 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.6 x 69.9 x 57.3 in.

TIRES: P205/55R16

CARGO: 13.2 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway/26.5 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 13.2 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,820 lbs.

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus

STICKER: $22,803 (includes $835 destination, $2,903 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Toyota Corolla is a good to very good small sedan, with ride and drive quality above the norm for a small car. The economy is decent over a variety of roads.

There’s a reason the Toyota Corolla nameplate has been around so long and has sold so many cars. First, the Corolla is responsible for making Toyota the top-selling brand in the world.

It’s easy to see why. Corolla is a good, solid compact four-door sedan, even though the EPA classifies it as a mid-size. Compared to other “real” mid-sizers, it’s right in the middle.

The 1.8-liter double overhead cam four under the hood has decent power for the light (2,820 lbs.) vehicle. During our test ride we felt no lack of power, even though I will always ask for more. We drove the Corolla on local roads and Interstates and always felt comfortable. The CVT transmission is a perfect match.

Corolla rides on a fairly long 106.3-inch wheelbase. The overall length is just 182.6 inches, meaning there is minimal overhang beyond the bumpers and maximum interior space. We parked the Corolla next to a two generations old Camry, and the two cars are essentially the same size.

The cloth front seats are comfortable and offer some side support. In our tester, they were manually adjustable, but there was no problem finding a comfortable setting. Manual versus power seats is a trade-off, especially in our family, where I do most of the driving (all of the driving of test cars), so once a setting is reached, it stays there. If you have different drivers shuttling in and out of a car, powered seats make more sense.

Rear seat legroom is very good. There is a fairly flat center hump so an adult passenger could sit there if that passenger is thin enough. Rear visibility is very good. The pull-down rear armrest has a pair of cup holders. Water bottles can fit in all four doors. In addition, the rear seat backs fold flat for increased cargo capacity. Even with the rear seat backs up, the cargo capacity is very good.

The driver faces an instrument cluster with a large central speedometer, a smaller tachometer to the left and a fuel gauge to the right. The information panel at the bottom of the speedometer is configurable; we had it set for outside temperature and overall mpg.

A very good audio system with multiple choices is in the center stack. Choices include AM/FM/XM/Bluetooth/CD, with USB and AUX connections in a cubby at the base of the center stack. The HVAC system is fairly simple – one button for temperature, three buttons for fan speed and direction, and two more for the defrosters. The audio screen is small and shares space with a map. However, it is adjustable for full audio or full map.

As evidence of the compact nature of the Corolla, the center console/arm rest is small.

Our tester wore a very striking metallic “British Racing Green” color, called 4Evergreen Mica. I’d recommend it.

I’ve been spoiled by some fairly fully optioned vehicles lately, so I missed the blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alerts. Their absence forced me to be more aware of my surroundings, which is good.

The Toyota Corolla is at the top of its class, if that class is compact. As a mid-size, it’s about in the idle. Still, it is a good value for the sticker and is n excellent entry into the Toyota brand.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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