By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.0
The Toyota Corolla is one of the best known and best loved cars in America. It's not a stellar beauty, nor is it lightening fast; it doesn't even have a third-row seat or all-wheel drive. What the Corolla does have collectively is millions of trouble-free miles, millions more loyal fans and a resale record that has the competition green with envy. Not wanting to mess with success, the 2011 Corolla arrives with some minor cosmetic changes and more standard equipment. Still, the small-car market has heated up dramatically since the Corolla first appeared, and it – along with long-time rival the Honda Civic – must now do battle with newer, sleeker and better-equipped cars such as the new Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Kia Forte. Along with its new styling, the Corolla will rely on its time-tested strengths, a formula that combines great fuel economy, a pleasant ownership experience and a no-nonsense design.
If you're looking for a car that is as modest in appearance and performance as it is affordable, the 2011 Toyota Corolla will probably fit nicely into your life (and your garage).
If you don't think a small price tag should mean a small road presence, you'll find alternatives, such as the new Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, that offer much more modern designs both inside and out as well as cutting edge audio, suspension and drivetrain technology.
For 2011, the Corolla receives new front and rear fascias, an upgraded interior, standard Smart Stop technology (a brake-override system) and the Toyota Care Complimentary Maintenance Program as standard. The XLE and XRS trims have been dropped.
Driving Impressions Of the three trims, we found driving the S model to be the most enjoyable. With its larger tire and wheel package and available manual transmission, the S just feels...more fun. We found that all the Corolla models feature a good ride and competent handling, with brakes that are strong and fade resistant, although we would prefer more feel than is transmitted through the electric power steering and more horsepower under the hood. The bottom line is this: The Corolla is a good, solid commuter car geared toward those whose automotive choices are made with a more pragmatic viewpoint. Those who demand more from their ride than just solid transportation, however, will likely find more to like from the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic Si or VW Golf.
Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel
This much-appreciated standard feature, rare in this class, helps drivers of all sizes find a comfortable position.
USB iPod Input
Optional on the LE and S, this feature allows for control of your iPod via the car's steering-wheel controls.
The 2011 Toyota Corolla features a spacious and comfortable cabin that belies its compact car status. Though the rear seat is still a bit tight for the long legged, hip and shoulder room is impressive. The lowered roof line, however, somewhat cuts into head room, especially for those sitting in the rear seat. Attention to interior details includes new gauges with easier-to-read fonts, more color-contrasting materials on the doors and seats and a sporty new steering wheel on S trims. The instrument panel offers speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant-temperature gauges and an optional multi-information display that includes a clock, outside temperature, fuel economy, range, average speed and elapsed time. Storage bins and cup holders abound, and the glove box features a split upper and lower bin design. Cargo volume in the trunk is a generous 12.3 cubic feet, but can be expanded thanks to the 60/40-split folding rear seat.
For a Corolla, the new exterior is really quite edgy. Looking somewhat like a miniature Camry with Scion-inspired front and rear styling, the four-door 2011 Corolla is sporty and sleek, but still a bit stale when viewed from the side. A trio of character lines run along the door handles to the rear fenders, from the hood to the front pillars and from the front bumper to the front fender flares, while a low front-air intake adds visual width below the Toyota signature grille. The entire package is designed not only to look good, but reduce exterior drag, thus helping to quiet the interior and improve fuel economy. Those seeking the most extreme Corolla will likely be drawn to the S model, which features front and rear spoilers and rocker moldings.
The base 2011 Toyota Corolla comes with 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, power steering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seat, power mirrors, AM/FM/CD (XM Satellite-ready) radio, outside temperature gauge, a driver's-seat height adjuster, traction and stability controls and driver and passenger front, seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags. The LE adds an automatic transmission, MP3-compatible CD player, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry and color-keyed heated side mirrors. The S has fog lamps, front and rear spoilers, sport seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
The base Corolla offers no options this year, so if you want power windows and cruise control, you'll just have to move up to the LE trim. Individual options for the S are limited to a power glass moonroof and an audio package that adds a USB port with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and music streaming. The LE can be equipped with the Premium Package, which combines the power moonroof and upgraded audio option with 16-inch five-spoke wheels and fog lamps.
With the loss the XRS trim, there is only one engine offered on the 2011 Corolla: A 1.8-liter four-cylinder good for 132 horsepower. This engine is great for reliability and fuel economy but, as would be expected, is only so-so for performance. Driving through a choice of either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, it delivers an excellent 26 city, 34 highway and 30 combined EPA-rated miles per gallon (automatic model).
1.8-liter in-line 4
132 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/35 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)
By Sam on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,600overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "attractive car, love my moon roof"
Cons: "Terrible ride, tire whine, MPG inconsistent"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is my 3rd Corolla to own. I had a 2002 Corolla S, a wonderful, pretty car, 36 MPG on highway, without fail. I drove it for 160K miles with no major problems. Only expense was normal upkeep, buying tires, etc. Then I sell it and buy a 2010 Corolla S, same options, etc, used with 12K miles. The MPG goes up and down. I mostly get 23 MPG in city driving and about 30-31 on highway. The ride is the roughest I have ever had in a car, the steering was a huge adjustment, the interior is hardest surfaces imaginable, the undercarriage spoilers are constantly scraping a curb and it had the most annoying whine, like a wheel bearing burned out. Of course, techs could not hear it when I took to 2 different dealers. After replacing the standard tires, the sound is much less. End Conclusion: I should have kept my 2002 a lot longer and bought a Nissan when I needed a replacement. Toyota has lost out with their redesign of the Corolla."
By LC on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value for your money."
Cons: "Not exciting as a sports car, but not as expensive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"It starts first time every time, getting 33.4 mpg. Change oil and filter as recommended, will need a set of tires soon. No other expenses except gas."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By mick on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,499overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value. Very reliable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought this car new. It has been completely reliable. So nice to own a car that the only thing you have to do to it is regular oil changes and recommended maintenance."
By Likemycar on Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handy storage pockets every door/double glove box"
Cons: "Need better rear seat cupholders."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Car does what it promises - provides excellent safety features and drives/handles well on the road. A tight, well-built car. Owned for 5 years with very few minor maintenance problems. I do take care of the car and do recommended upkeep as scheduled."
By pkjones on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality interior, heavy body, latest technology"
Cons: "slow take off into traffic, 4 clylinder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love my new car, it gets great gas mileage and can fit 4 people comfortably, it has the latest technology that corresponds with my iPhone, I have never been happier than I am with my new Toyota."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By djljejm on Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "cool seat fabric"
Cons: "Soft brakes, slow acceleration"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I really like the type of seat fabric. Not a fuzzy cloth but not leather. What I don't like is that I thought this would be a zippier car but it's acceleration isn't that fast. It also pulls to the left when stopping, which I've read from other reviews that it's common to this car; I took it in for an alignment and it didn't need one but still drives this way. Another thing typical with this car is how the trunk cable keeps coming off and I have to push it back in to get it to close. When the trunk is open, after about 30 seconds all the locks automatically lock. Not cool if you happen to close the trunk and don't have any doors ajar, and your keys are in the trunk. I took it to Toyota thinking it needed repair, but it's a standard feature. I'm just lucky I haven't left my purse in the car while loading groceries. The brakes are "soft",which bothers me; I prefer tight, touchier brakes. If you don't mind these things and want a small car (I'm trading up to a larger one since my kids can't buckle the belts in the back without major fights) it's a good car."
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful