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2012 Toyota Corolla

Overview
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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 498 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

Average compact car when working. Averages 33mpg.

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good MPG easy to drive/park commuter car."

Cons: "Mechanical issue from date of purchase."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Purchased new from dealer, Having owned multiple Toyota products in the past without issues, i returned a loyal customer. This product is a LEMON! In and out of Toyota dealer for break issues (3x) in first two yrs. without satisfaction to include emergency brake sensor. Ended up rebuilding front brakes at commercial mechanic, no issues since. Had to replace alternator twice, radio 3x (warranty covered the radio) and now the AC compressor has failed. Again, when working car is a good runabout commuter, city car, easy to drive/park good MPG. This car is not comfortable to drive over 2 hrs. Wind/road/engine noise very noticeable. Interior finish is typical of Toyota, nothing special. I am really disappointed in this product and no longer have trust with it nor Toyota! Hope this helps others in the future."

Love it!! Great car!

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 190,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"Everyone that has driven my car really likes it. Easy steering/maneuvering, back seat is comfortable, and the car has great power even in the mountains. 190K miles and no complaints!!"

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

great value ,very reliable car always starts

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"overall this great vehicle.Powerful engine.The interior is really basic.But the value of the car is awesome.I drove to Atlanta from NY and it only took two and a half tanks of gas.Great gas mileage."

Practical and Reliable

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "MPG, Practicality, Safety, Reliability"

Cons: "Somewhat lacking in acceleration"

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

"I traded in my Silverado for a 2010 Corolla. I felt as though I made a great decision after doing so. It has proved nothing but reliable and practical. I replaced the original battery just this summer (the car was built in late 2009; the battery was almost 5 years old) simply because I felt as though I should, not because it was giving me problems - it never gave me problems. My tires had to be replaced because of age - not because of poor tread. I do a lot of in-city driving, and I feel as though the MPG ratings are accurate. The car is spacious. Yes, the seats could be a little better for longer road-trips, but can Toyota be faulted for this? It is a compact, inexpensive sedan after all. I will keep this car until the wheels fall off; when it finally dies, I will buy another Corolla (or at least, a Toyota product). I love my car, and I feel very safe in it."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great car for me

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nice ride. Love the tilt wheel. Great on gas."

Cons: "Wish it would have had better window tinting."

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

"Just recently bought the '13 Corolla LE. Very nice interior, nice smooth ride. Great on gas. Could not be happier about my choice."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Perfect Mid Size Car

By on Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Bluetooth, good on gas, decent exterior/interior"

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

my car

"I recently traded in my 2003 Audi A4 (that I had for almost 3 years) for this car and have zero regrets! well my only regret is not doing it sooner! If you are in the car market for a mid size, reliable, decent quality car, excellent on gas, with low maintenance, then the 2013 Corolla is perfect for you!"

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

my car

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