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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.
This new Corolla sedan, available in five "grades" from base to sporty and the more powerful XRS, is a better-looking car than the plain-Jane previous generation. It's also quieter and slightly roomier, achieves better fuel economy with its standard 1.8-liter engine and offers better performance and handling in 2.4-liter XRS trim.
Toyota argues that the Toyota Corolla is all-new for 2014, but that's a mixed truth. With roomy seating for five, the front-wheel-drive 4-door looks all-new, and its interior is certainly newer and nicer than ever. But the mechanicals include the Corolla's tried-and-true 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and the true-but-tired twist-beam axle rear-suspension setup, both deeply refined but neither revolutionized. Competitors like the segment-leading Honda Civic, the Ford Focus and the new Mazda3 all have something tempting to lure compact-sedan buyers away from a Corolla – even an all-new one – but none of them can match the no surprises, bread-and-butter goodness of a Toyota Corolla.