Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • 12 Best Family Cars of 2014
  • 10 Most Affordable Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000
Go

2012 Toyota Corolla

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Toyota Corolla Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 5.8

The 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan continues to be one of the best known, best selling compact sedans in America. The 2012 Toyota Corolla's reputation for longevity is legendary, as is its high resale value and fuel economy figures. Yet over the years, Toyota has become complacent with the Corolla, allowing the front-wheel-drive sedan's design to stagnate, its features to become antiquated, and its core audience to grow much older. A major refresh in 2011 brought a more aggressive face and better wheels, but placed next to a 2012 Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra or Chevy Cruze, the 2012 Toyota Corolla still looks a bit frumpy. With cars like Elantra and Forte offering more features for the same or less money, and new performance models such as the VW Jetta TDI and Mazda3 Skyactiv delivering both excitement and 40-mpg fuel economy, the 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan will have to rely heavily on its merits, as well as the faithful legion who return to Toyota showrooms time and time again.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you've been burned in the past by promises of "great reliability" and "bullet-proof resale value," the 2012 Toyota Corolla should help rebuild your faith that some promises do come true.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for cutting-edge style or the latest engineering features, the aging Corolla platform with its 132-horsepower engine and 4-speed automatic transmission probably won't impress you. A Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 or Ford Focus is likely a better match.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Toyota Corolla L gains color-keyed power side mirrors, power windows with driver's auto-down feature, power door locks, and keyless entry. The LE trim gains steering wheel audio controls and 16-inch alloy wheels. The LE and S trims also get a new audio unit with MP3/WMA CD playback capability, a USB iPod interface, and Bluetooth connectivity for cell phone and music streaming.

Driving the Corolla

Driving Impressions While the S trim is the most enjoyable to drive, all of the 2012 Toyota Corolla sedans deliver a solid, comfortable ride and no rude surprises. The S trim's larger...

wheel-and-tire package and available manual transmission allow it to at least attempt some fun on twisting back roads, but don't look for a lot of zip coming out of the turns, because the Corolla's 1.8-liter engine can't provide it. Again, as a standard mode of transportation, the Corolla does just fine, but any attempt to run with likes of a Mazda3 or even the new Honda Civic fall short. The bottom line is that the Corolla is a good, solid, front-wheel-drive 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 Corolla's many rivals.

Tilt/telescopic steering wheel
This much-appreciated standard feature helps drivers of all sizes find a comfortable position.

USB iPod input
Standard with the new audio head unit on LE and S, this feature allows for control of your iPod via the car's steering-wheel controls.

2012 Toyota Corolla Details
Interior

While the 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan's interior is highly functional and very roomy, it falls far short of the styling and color offerings of its competitors. Dull gray or beige plastics, and gauge faces with fonts that look two decades old don't inspire much enthusiasm. Again, if you want to see a great looking interior at a sub-$20K price, look inside a Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus or Mazda3. The Corolla's rear seat offers good hip and shoulder room, but the all-important headroom and legroom figures come up a bit short. We do like the S and LE trim's 3-spoke steering wheel with touch controls, and the new audio unit is a definite step in the right direction. Standard gauges include a tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature, as well as a multi-information display that offers a clock, outside temperature, fuel economy, range, average speed and elapsed time. The 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan includes multiple storage bins, a split upper/lower 2-compartment glove box and four cup holders (two in front and two at the rear). Cargo volume in the trunk is a generous 12.3 cubic feet, but can be expanded thanks to the 60/40 split folding rear seats.

Exterior

It's not hard to see where Toyota went for inspiration when restyling the Corolla. The 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan bears an uncanny resemblance to its big brother, the Camry. Beyond its racy front grille and swept back headlights, the 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan is still rather pedestrian when viewed from the side, although less so in S trim guise. Features such as color keyed power side mirrors that appear on the base L trim are a nice touch. But, unlike its competitors, upper level Corolla trims don't afford owners such high-tech options as high-intensity-discharge (HID) adaptive headlamps, 17- or 18-inch wheels, or rain-sensing wipers. While the base and LE cars might not do much to raise your pulse, the S trim offers enough visual pizzazz to at least get your attention.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Get ready for the lists: The 2012 Toyota Corolla L sedan comes with standard air conditioning a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seat, color-keyed power mirrors, AM/FM/CD (SiriusXM satellite-ready) radio, outside temperature gauge, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, a driver's-seat height adjuster, and driver and passenger front, seat-mounted side airbags, traction and stability control and side-curtain airbags. The LE adds an MP3-compatible CD player, USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth, cruise control, and color-keyed heated side mirrors. The S has fog lights, front and rear spoilers, sport seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Optional Equipment

The 2012 Toyota Corolla sedan offers only a few options. A power moonroof can be added to the S trim, while both the LE and S versions can be equipped with a navigation radio and Toyota's Entune multi-media system. The LE can be equipped with the Premium Package, which simply combines the power moonroof with 16-inch, 5-spoke wheels, and fog lights.

Under the Hood

With the loss the XRS trim last year, there is only one engine offered on the 2012 Corolla: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder good for 132 horsepower. This engine is great for reliability and economy, but, as would be expected, only so-so for performance. Driving through a choice of either a 5-speed manual or old-fashioned 4-speed automatic transmission, it delivers a respectable 26 city and 34 highway EPA-rated miles per gallon (automatic model).

1.8-liter in-line 4
132 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/34 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Toyota Corolla Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 487 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Unimpressed

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Reliability and excellent gas mileage"

Cons: "BORING"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Received car as a graduation present in 2012. Good on gas and very reliable. That's about it. It is very much so a boring car. The only thing up-to-date about it is the plug-in for an aux cord. It literally is empty on the inside. Disappointed with the interior. The exterior is ok, extremely better than what it used to be. Overall, ehh. I'm just not impressed. It's a car at best. For me it's just a transition car, an intermission until better comes along. I went from driving a VW Beetle convertible, which was the worst in terms of reliability, to this. So, the Corolla wins in that aspect. But, it's horribly noisy and the sound system is mediocre. All it offers is good gas mileage and reliability."

I love my 2012 Corolla S

By on Friday, September 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Economic gas mileage, $35 fill up @ 3.80/gal :-)"

Cons: "Didn't get a manual, seatbelts could be more comfy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had my car for a year, it is black with a spoiler on the back and fog lights in front. I take at least 5 cross country trips a year, going to Florida, Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan. This car has a big car feel from the inside. Lots of head room, gigantic trunk for a small car, lots of leg room for all passengers. I have Bluetooth, so hands off talking on phone and texting with my Android. It even tells me how far I can go on a tank of gas so I never fear running too low. Everyone loves this car. My brother visited from Portland, OR and drove my car all week. He said he is going to look for one when he gets home. The only problem I have with my Corolla, is everyone wants to drive it!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Gets from A to B

By on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "convenient, meets basic tech. needs"

Cons: "cheap interior materials, dull driving experience"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I've had this car for almost two years. LE model. It gets the job done. Wireless connectivity with my iPhone is extremely convenient. Major step up from my Saturn Ion. Interior materials are kind of cheap, and the dashboard vibrates in the cold weather when everything starts to shrink. My biggest complaint is from under the hood-- acceleration is incredibly sluggish. All in all, good starter car, but I think for the same price I could've gotten something else with better materials and a better driving experience."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Nice looking car - comfortable and affordable.

By on Monday, September 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price"

Cons: "I really don't have anything bad to say"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car brand new in 2013. I am well satisfied with the cars looks, ride and how comfortable it is. This is my second time buying a Toyota. The last one was purchased new in 1998 and had 294,000 miles on it before I bought this one."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Strong and reliable. Love more than new 2014 model

By on Saturday, September 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "You get what you pay for. It's a strong car."

Cons: "No LED light or mirrors with with signal lamp."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Purchase the 2013 model to replace a 2003 Toyota Matrix but ended up keeping the Matrix also. Just could not let go of the XRS Matrix. This model S has great features and a super design. Engine is strong and with most hill driving I get great gas mileage (28.3 mpg). Gas mileage in part is due to low rolling resistance tires. This corolla has a manual trans that also sounds great. Newer cars are now using synthetic oil which has a higher cost for oil change, no metal filter to replace just need to change the element. I have just one complain; it has no led lights or mirrors with signal lamp (I can live without them). Other than that the car is great, comfortable, attractive, safe, lots of room and sound system is very nice. Interior is very nice with the black seats with blue stitch accent and very comfortable, easy to use control buttons, steering radio controls and you actually feel safe in the car. Fits 4 adults and one child with comfort or you can fit up to 5 adult but not to comfy. Trunk room is super, roomy for it's class. Acceleration is fast and breaking is great and safe. Give it a try..."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I enjoy driving this car.

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliable and efficient. Low gas consumption."

Cons: "None."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought my 2010 Corolla in 2009 and have had one problem with the car. I have a moon roof and it started to rust in 2013. The dealer said it was not covered under warranty but the area representative agreed to replace the moon roof door without charge. This is my third Corolla and I love it."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?