Toyota's best-selling car (you thought it was the Camry, didn't you), the 2012 Corolla continues to be a viable offering though increasingly faces competitor vehicles just as good, if not better, in power, fit and finish, and styling.
Currently in its tenth generation, the stalwart Corolla is still considered a sales leader in the compact car segment along with rival Honda Civic. Toyota redesigned the Corolla back in 2009 and refreshed the 2011 with a new front grille in keeping with the lineup; updated headlights; front and rear bumpers; and redesigned tail lights and trunk lid. The Toyota Corolla S model adds a front spoiler, rocker moldings, and upper and lower rear spoilers to give the sedan a sportier look and improve aerodynamics.
All three Toyota Corolla models - base, Limited Edition, and S - are powered by a 1.8-liter inline-4 engine mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic. The interior looks a bit dated compared to competitors like the Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra though the Corolla's controls are, for the most part, simple to use and operate.
Body style: sedan
Engines: 1.8-liter inline-4
Transmissions: five-speed manual; four-speed automatic
Models: base, LE, S
The Toyota Corolla underwent a major refresh in 2011 and has carried over mostly unchanged into 2012.
After the Toyota Corolla's refresh last year, the compact sedan features few changes for the 2012 model year. Toyota revamped the exterior in 2011 in keeping with the Camry, updating the front bumper, grille and lower grille; revised headlamps, and a redesigned trunk lid, rear license garnish, taillights, and rear bumper. The side rearview mirrors have also been enlarged to reduce blindspots.
Updates from 2011 that carry over into the new model year include new seat color and pattern; new color on the dash and instrument cluster; and new steering wheel design for the 2012 Toyota Corolla S.
Performance & Handling
The quintessential cruiser, the 2012 Toyota Corolla has a soft, almost springy, ride, and floats over most road imperfections. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine provides adequate acceleration and fuel economy is about average for the segment. Handling is definitely on the soft side, even in the supposedly sporty Corolla S, and feels especially problematic when making tight turns. The electric steering is calibrated to make parking easy in the local school or shopping mall lot.
The 2012 Toyota Corolla, like all current Toyota vehicles, comes standard with the Toyota STAR safety system which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), brake assist, Smart Stop (SST), traction control (TRAC), and vehicle stability control (VSC). The Toyota Corolla comes equipped with two front airbags; two front seat-mounted side airbags; and two front-and-rear side-curtain airbags. A tire pressure monitoring system comes standard as well.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota Corolla with inline-4 and five-speed manual: 28 mpg city/35 mpg highway
Toyota Corolla with inline-4 and four-speed automatic: 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway
- Quiet interior
You Won't Like
- Dated exterior
Competitors offer more features at lower prices
Hanging on, but a new Corolla is needed to stay competitive.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic
- Kia Forte