Corolla safety fea­tures add value

Up for auc­tion: 2005 Ford GT once owned by rac­ing cham­pion Jen­son But­ton XSE: Safer and sleeker but still not very fun to drive

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - LIFE - Jodi lai

The Toy­ota Corolla is si­mul­ta­ne­ously one of the most loved and most hated cars on the mar­ket. Mil­lions of peo­ple buy Corol­las, yet car snobs will go on and on about how bor­ing they are.

Here’s the truth: For what it is — a bud­get com­pact sedan — the Toy­ota Corolla is per­fectly fine, es­pe­cially be­cause it has just been re­freshed for the 2017 model year.

There are a lot of mis­con­cep­tions we have to clear up about the 2017 Toy­ota Corolla.

Peo­ple will tell you it’s garbage be­cause it feels like a cheap car. But while the Corolla can’t match a Lexus or even a Honda Civic in terms of swank­i­ness, but it’s not as bad as you’ve heard.

The 2017 Corolla gets a new look that gives the sedan some per­son­al­ity. It doesn’t seem as cheap, both in­side and out. LED head­lights and a backup cam­era are now stan­dard, but more im­por­tantly, so is Toy­ota’s safety tech­nol­ogy pack­age.

Where most other cars in this class make you pay ex­tra, the Corolla in­cludes au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, lane de­par­ture alert with steer­ing as­sist, adap­tive cruise con­trol and au­to­matic high­beams as stan­dard equip­ment. That’s a huge deal, con­sid­er­ing this car starts at $18,500 in the U.S. and $16,390 in Canada.

One odd­ity is that blind spot mon­i­tor­ing is an op­tion on the Corolla, some­thing driv­ers may find more use­ful day to day.

An­other mis­con­cep­tion is that the Corolla is aw­ful to drive, which isn’t 100 per cent true ei­ther. In the city, the Corolla is ac­tu­ally pretty great. It’s easy and fuss-free, it has great sight­lines and off-the-line ac­cel­er­a­tion isn’t ter­ri­ble. The turn­ing ra­dius is nice and tight so park­ing and com­plet­ing U-turns is easy.

It’s when you take the Corolla on the high­way where it be­comes a lit­tle de­press­ing. The steer­ing gets ex­tra vague and twitchy, but even worse is that the en­gine is bor­der­line un­re­spon­sive when try­ing to make a pass. The Corolla is pow­ered by a 1.8-liter four-cylin­der en­gine with 140 horse­power and 126 pound-feet of torque — great in the city, but just not very good at high speeds.

As tested, this Corolla comes with heated seats, a push-but­ton start, key­less en­try, au­todim­ming rearview mir­ror, an eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-like seat­ing, a sun­roof and nav­i­ga­tion as op­tions.

In terms of value, the Corolla un­der­cuts the Civic on price while still of­fer­ing more im­por­tant stan­dard fea­tures at base level. Even fully loaded, the pric­ing isn’t out of whack, but topline models start to step on the toes of much bet­ter, more com­plete cars that might of­fer a bet­ter driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence or feel more lux­u­ri­ous.

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