Corolla safety features add value
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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.