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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.
Favorite Features

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 449 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

Love my sleek and sporty Corolla S!

By on Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Style, reliability, near silent interior, & mpg"

Cons: "Clock is in odd area, no backseat arm rest"

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

The baby when she's all clean!

"This car is truly the best car you can purchase in this segment for its style, comfort, reliabilty, and MPG hands down. I purchased my Corolla S with 35k miles on it, mounted 4 new tires, and the car simply rides like a dream. The cabin is put together very nicely and road/wind noise are kept to a minimum, even at highway speeds. It is very comfortable riding as well; except on some bumpier roads, where the imperfections of the road are easily transmitted through the cabin, but never harsh. You just know they are there. For the best riding car, I recommend the LE. The exterior looks very sporty with the mesh grille, fog lights, chrome exhaust, spoiler, ground effects, and 16 inch alloy wheels. Step on inside the cabin and you are welcomed with black cloth seats (which are a very nice and durable fabric), leather steering wheel w/ audio controls, adequate stereo, sunroof, heated mirrors, and loads of storage and space for people or simply just stuff. The optitron gauges with their sweeping needles light up like a Christmas tree and add an elegant touch. The automatic headlights are also very much appreciated. Back seat space is quite decent as well. (I am 6 foot and fit behind my driving position quite nicely.) And like I mentioned earlier, it is very quiet inside. The trunk is also very large for this size of vehicle and the easy fold rear seats add extra space if needed. The engine is peppy enough for everyday driving, but never feels fast- just adequate. Highway passing at high speeds may take a moment w/ the 4 speed auto. Although, the engine is quite smooth and refined. The sportier suspension makes going around curves a breeze. Feels fun to drive actually! MPG is paying off too with around 32mpg daily. (Mixed driving). The Corolla also performs nicely in the snow as I just recently took it out in three inches of snow on the road with little to no slipping or sliding. Traction/stability control is a welcomed touch. I'm sure this car will treat me well as long as I do the same. My family has always owned Toyotas and they have all been wonderful cars with the miles just continuing to rack up on them. They are truly reliable and safe vehicles. I plan to have this car for a very very long time with little to no issue. I recommend this car for anyone searching for a first vehicle or to anyone who needs a smaller, reliable, sporty, and economical compact sedan. It has truly been an honor owning and driving this vehicle. I cannot say enough good things about it. PS- the A/C is ice cold, the car heats up quick, and the heated outside mirrors are a great touch!!"

The baby when she's all clean!

Corolla has never failed me!

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable and affordable"

Cons: "Noisy when driving on highway"

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

"This is my third Corolla. My first two lasted over 200,000 miles. I'm expecting this one to last as long. Looks great, runs great. Only thing I would change is it's a little noisy when driving on the highway."

Corolla has never failed me!

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable and affordable"

Cons: "Noisy when driving on highway"

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

"This is my third Corolla. My first two lasted over 200,000 miles. I'm expecting this one to last as long. Looks great, runs great. Only thing I would change is it's a little noisy when driving on the highway."

Great driving conditiion

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great mileage and easy to drive"

Cons: "cup holders in drivers side and rear passenger"

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

"Body has hail damage and a few scratches but drives great. Great for gas mileage and have kept up with Dealer oil changes and any updates car needs. Does have car security added."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

I'm a big fan of my car, it has never let me down.

By on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "It's got bluetooth. Cup holders, front. AC & heat."

Cons: "It's blue, some weirdos might not like that."

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

"I'm moving to the city and can't afford to keep both this car and my apartment. Otherwise I would never sell this beauty. Never had an accident, only really drive it on the weekends, does great with gas. I really have nothing to complain about."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Little excitement but rock solid reliability

By on Saturday, March 15, 2014

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

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
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Good gas mileage, reliable"

Cons: "Cramped interior if tall, plain interior"

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

"Car is a no nonsense commuter vehicle that is extremely reliable. I will admit that this car is not the most fun to drive, and the interior is about as dull and basic as they come. Also, if you are over 6 feet tall, consider this car a two seater. When the front seat is all the way back (which you will need if 6' tall), I can just barely squeeze my small kid in the back of this car. The legroom back there is non-existent unless you keep the front seats adjusted forward quite a ways. However, this car runs very well. If you are someone who does a lot of driving and need a reliable car that gets decent gas mileage, look no further than the Toyota Corolla."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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