By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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."
3 people out of 4 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
By Cat Mom on Monday, June 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The right size for me and good mileage."
Cons: "Phone charger difficult to access."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been completely reliable (hope I'm not jinxing that). Easy to drive and park (I don't like big cars). When I'm ready for a new car, I will likely get another Toyota, possibly a slightly smaller model. It doesn't hurt that my dealer is excellent with their service."