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2012 Toyota Corolla

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2012 Toyota Corolla Review

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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)

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2012 Toyota Corolla Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 534 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Small but very reliable.

By on Sunday, August 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very fuel efficient and reliable."

Cons: "Too small.Needs to be a bit bigger."

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

"A very reliable and gas efficient vehicle. I drive 300 miles a week to work and spend only $30 on gas.That is filling up once a week. Sometimes,less than that. Very pleased,overall.Just needs to be a bit bigger."

disappointed in the 4 speed, too slow

By on Friday, July 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,600

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

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

"its just an average car, wish I had taken more time to search for a car, but its good on gas and reliable. Stereo system is fair. I went from a car with lots of great features to this with not so many."

11 people out of 15 found this review helpful

reliable but light

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliable, comfortable, good mileage"

Cons: "does not handle snow and ice well"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I've owned the car for about 6 years, from about 30,000 - 80,000 miles. With regular maintenance, it has not given me any mechanical problems. It starts in cold winter weather even when parked outdoors overnight, and it runs reliably for long trips and everyday driving. The heat and air conditioning don't take long to get to a desirable temperature, and there is a great temperature range for very hot and very cold days and everything in between. The only thing I don't like about it is that it is feather-light on snow and ice, and consequently slides and gets stuck easily."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Very economic but too narrow for tall people

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Overall, it's a good car that's worth the money but I don't recommend it to people who like wide legroom."

16 people out of 24 found this review helpful

I wanted to love this car! BUT too many re calls,

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "cute, fun to drive"

Cons: "too many recalls, bad alternator, terrible service"

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

"I wanted to love my car, but at 3 years and 55k miles alternator went on a road trip to Delaware. Almost exactly another 3 years and at 83K miles alternator went again.. I purchased the extended 6 year 75K mile warranty and while I was on my road trip the service department at the purchasing dealership said that they had no record of my extended warranty, I was forced to buy parts at Pep Boys.. Toyota did reimburse me for that bill, HOWEVER they will not take any responsibility or even consider that the car may have a defect causing this problem again...And have refused to help me, only quoted me a non negotiable price of $1076.00 to install new alternator and battery."

1 person out of 9 found this review helpful

10/10- if you know what you're getting

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

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
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Economy, low maintenance costs, comfort"

Cons: "None, if you know what you're getting"

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

"I love my Toyota Corolla. It has been perfect for our needs; it has excellent fuel economy, low maintenance costs, and low initial investment costs. In the four years and 70,000 miles that we have owned the car, we have had zero mechanical issues- the only trips to the mechanic have been for scheduled, routine maintenance. This is a great car, if you know what you're buying. If you want low cost of ownership, this car is amazing. As mentioned before, we have had minimal maintenance expenses, and we are currently averaging 38 miles per gallon. If you want comfort, this car is great, too. For being a compact sedan, it has a deceptively spacious interior. As a 230 lb adult male, I've been completely comfortable sitting in the driver's seat, passenger seat, or in the back passenger seats. The real comfort comes from the driving. The car has comfortably loose suspension and steering and gradual acceleration. It drives in such a way that you're not concerned with waking a sleeping child or spilling a crock pot full of chili while you're driving. Some might view these points as cons, but, again, know what you're buying. If you want a sporty looking or driving car, this is not your car. As I mentioned before, I love it's driveability because I appreciate its gradual acceleration and braking, and its gentle, smooth handling. If you want tight handling, fast acceleration, and highly responsive driving, don't buy a Toyota Corolla. You will not be pleased. In conclusion, before buying a Toyota Corolla, evaluate your needs and preferences. If you're looking for reliability, low ownership costs, high quality to cost ratio, and comfort, this is the car for you."

21 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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