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2018 Toyota Corolla iM

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2018 Toyota Corolla iM Expert Review

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

Offering a bit more sportiness and a lot more versatility than the Corolla sedan, the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM hatchback gives budget-minded buyers all the quality and high resale that come with owning a Toyota at a price that won’t break the bank. Because most cars bundle popular options into pricey packages, the iM’s one-size-fits-all mono-spec equipment list gives customers popular features that can cost hundreds, even thousands more on a comparably equipped Mazda3, VW Golf or Ford Focus. And, although its fuel economy is impressive, the Corolla iM’s modest 137 horsepower pales in comparison to the competition. Need another reason to buy a Corolla iM? Toyota Safety Sense C (TSS-C) is standard on every car.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a safe and reliable small car, we think the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM is a very good choice. The hatchback allows easy loading of bikes, skis or cargo, a bonus for drivers with active lifestyle, and standard driver-assist safety features include pre-collision warning and braking.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a low-priced hatchback, the Nissan Versa Note undercuts the Corolla iM by about $5,000, although it’s not as well equipped. You’ll find more features in a Mazda3, VW Golf or Chevrolet Cruze, options such as leather seating, Apple CarPlay, a power moonroof and heated seats.

How It Ranks
2018 Toyota Corolla iM Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

There are no major changes for the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM.

Driving the Corolla iM
2018 Toyota Corolla iM Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

What the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM lacks in power, it more than makes up for in efficiency. The 137-horsepower 1.8-liter engine is a mileage champ, but if you’re looking to...

... get the most of the engine’s ability, we suggest opting for the 6-speed manual. The story improves when we get to the ride and handling department. The Corolla iM’s light body and taut suspension make it quite enjoyable on curving mountain roads, yet amazingly maneuverable in tight city confines. We dare say it’s as enjoyable as the more robust Mazda3 and far more connected to the road than a Kia Rio or VW Golf. Best of all, unlike a Mini Cooper or Fiat 500, the Corolla iM’s ride isn’t harsh or punishing over rough pavement. The cabin is fairly quiet at highway speeds, and what noise does get through can quickly be mitigated by turning up the iM’s excellent standard 6-speaker Display audio system.

MONO-SPEC PACKAGING
The 2018 Corolla iM comes as one, well-equipped model, taking all the hassle out of buying a car. Most of the iM’s best features are optional on other cars, leaving buyers with only two choices: transmission and color.

TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE C
TSS-C is Toyota’s comprehensive suite of driver assists that includes pre-collision braking, lane-departure alert and auto high beams. Where other manufacturers make you buy expensive packages or top-line trims to get these features, the Corolla iM delivers them as part of its standard-equipment list.

2018 Toyota Corolla iM Details
2018 Toyota Corolla iM Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Boasting an edgy-yet-tasteful layout, the Corolla iM's cockpit emphasizes functionality. The audio and climate controls are as straightforward as they come, while symmetrical armrests and an adjustable steering column yield an appropriately neutral driving position. Power seats are not available, but the 6-way front buckets leave nothing to be desired in comfort or lateral support. And while rear legroom can’t measure up to rivals like the Mazda3, Kia Rio5 and Volkswagen Golf on paper, the Corolla iM’s rear quarters feel plenty roomy in the outboard seating positions. Space behind the rear seat stands at 20.8 cubic feet, topping the Mazda3 and Rio5.

Exterior
2018 Toyota Corolla iM photo

Design-wise, the Toyota’s Corolla iM hatchback for 2018 keenly embraces the tuxedo T-shirt philosophy: It wants to be formal, but it’s also here to party. A sweptback roofline, aggressive lower body panels, and LED running lights and taillights suggest all the makings of a hot hatch, while projector-beam headlights and a versatile liftback speak to the iM's practical side. For those who desire some additional show without the go, Toyota offers a host of dealer-installed accessories like TRD lowering springs, carbon-fiber window trim and body graphics.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Every Corolla iM comes with 17-inch alloys, LED running lights and taillights, power-folding/heated side mirrors, power windows and door locks, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a nifty 4.2-inch driver-information display, a rearview camera, plus a 6-speaker Display audio system with Bluetooth and a USB port. Toyota’s Safety Sense C driver-assist suite adds pre-collision braking, lane-departure alert and automatic high beams, as well as eight airbags including front-seat side, side-curtain and a driver’s-knee airbag. Moonroof lovers, you’re out of luck.

Optional Equipment

The Corolla iM's mono-spec packaging structure means that aside from the transmission and exterior color, your options are limited to some dealer-installed equipment such as a navigation system, the aHa Radio app, body-side ground effects, side graphics, rear wind deflector, paint protector and interior lighting.

Under the Hood
2018 Toyota Corolla iM Engine photo

The Toyota Corolla iM is powered by Toyota's 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine with Valvematic continuously variable-valve timing, which is also used in the Corolla sedan. Developing 137 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque, it can be paired with a standard 6-speed manual or optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) featuring a 7-speed simulated sequential-shift mode. Beyond altering shift points, there's a Sport setting that also quickens throttle response and adds weighting to the electric power steering. Combined fuel economy averages rank in the low-30-mpg range and, as you might have guessed, all Corolla iM's run on regular gasoline.

1.8-liter inline-4
137 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
126 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35 mpg (manual), 28/36 mpg (automatic)

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM 5-door compact begins just under $19,750, including destination and delivery fees. Adding an automatic transmission to the mix still keeps the price under $20,500. If this sounds like a terrific value, you would be right. Similarly equipped models from Mazda, Ford and Volkswagen linger in the $23,000 range and up, and none of them can match the Toyota Corolla iM when it comes to long-term ownership costs and resale value. But regardless of which model you choose, checking out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price tool is the best way to ensure you get the best deal on your next car.

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