Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize Sedan Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Compact Car Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $35,000
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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 524 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

Corolla is a very powerful & reliable car.

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,850

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, maintenance and service backed by Toy"

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

"I have driven my Son's BMW 325i for a few years while deployed overseas and I can say the agility, stability and power of my Corolla LE 2011 is unbelievable. On the freeway, you can be driving 85 mph and the feel is about 35 to 40 mph. I have been monitoring my mileage every time I fill up for gas and I average 24 to 27 mpg city, 35 to 42 hi way. I have a black 2011 LE bought certified 2nd hand in Nov 2012"

Decent

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fuel economy, Reliability"

Cons: "Design, Boring"

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

"It is basically a really nice car to get to and from work. Not a whole lot of special things going on in this vehicle. Very reliable, even in winters. Drives pretty well in the snow although I did need to push it out once. If you are looking for a car to just commute with, it will get the job done."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

One of the best vehicles I have ever owned 65 yrs.

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Only routine maintenance in 115,000 miles!"

Cons: "No sunglass holder (as many cars do!)"

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

"I have owned this vehicle since July 2008, when they first arrived on the market. The vehicle is a 2009 model. I have always had the routine maintenance done at my local dealership, and the vehicle has never let me down. No repairs and continues to drive like a new car. Last check up..no leaks of any kind. I plan to drive this baby to the grave. Low to no maintenance. (No timing belts to replace) Excellent vehicle. Would highly recommend Toyota of any kind...but most especially a Corolla. We also own a Camry and Tundra. Love, Love, Love these vehicles!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Get what you pay for

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,805

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price, reliable, cheap to fix yourself"

Cons: "uncomfortable seats (front)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"If do not like to spend much on a car but what a reliable car at the same time, this is the car to get. I had a toyota corolla previously and had to let it go because the previous owner neglected it. This led a large amount of moeny to repair it if I wanted to. Instead, I purchased the 2013 corolla. It is not much different that the early 2000's other than electronic power steering and oil filter (It now uses 0W-20 oil). The rest is almost exactly the same. Same engine size and build. Just a different body. The electronic power steering was a bit weird at first but I got used to it after a while. I have had no problems mechanically with this car. However, I do wish they would have improved something other than aesthetics over those years. The interior looks nice and the sport version (Just a spoiler and different interior) has nice looking seats that are even water/stain repellant. The seat is a little bit uncomfortable however, at least for me. I have back problems anyways. It is a reliable, cheap car and it was meant to be that. If you want speed and luxury, this is not what you will get. You also get ample trunk space. Really, I was surprised at the trunk size with this car. It is also good to note that it comes with an emergency spare tire. Something that more and more cars seem to lack nowadays. I have driven the new corolla that came out, it feels like a ford focus and is smaller. Although I believe they come with CVT transmissions now but the interior has been improved in that one in my opinion."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Good car, handles well, gas mileage not as high as

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "handles well"

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

"Good car, handles well, gas mileage not as good as I thought it would be, looks good and I like how it looks better than the new Corolla"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Reliable. Service kept up during ownership.

By on Saturday, April 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Must have body repaired."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Good Gas mileage. Dog Ruined upholstery in back seat. Accident took out front driver side. Driver seemed to have blacked out. Head scan showed a small stroke. Some small scratches or dents on sides. Two hub caps missing."

1 person out of 6 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?