By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
Toyota’s Corolla sedan for 2016 continues to offer buyers a proven commodity that delivers value, efficiency and peace of mind. To keep competitive with cars like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, Toyota has improved the Corolla’s content, adding more features such as Entune Audio with standard USB iPod integration. The Corolla’s cabin is also roomier than most compacts in this class, with a whopping 41.1 inches of legroom for rear-seat passengers. However, although extremely fuel-efficient, the Corolla’s 1.8-liter engine isn’t big on power and can’t compete with sportier rivals such as the Mazda3, Dodge Dart and the new Honda Civic, all of which offer more powerful engines and better handling.
KBB Expert Ratings
Siri Eyes Free Mode is added to the Entune Audio Plus, while the Entune Premium is available on LE, LE Eco and S trims.
Toyota’s 2016 Corolla compact sedan won’t light fires in the hearts of most driving enthusiasts, but just about everyone else will find a lot to like in this not-so-compact 4-door....
... The ride is smooth and confident, with bit of playfulness in the sporty S. Interior noise levels are on par with most compacts in the class, although we think the Ford Focus is a tad quieter inside. The Corolla’s front seats could do with better lower back support, but most of our test drivers found them comfortable even on long drives. As for power, both versions of the 1.8-liter engine produce respectable power for passing and merging, but lack the low-end torque found with some competitors. While we enjoyed the standard manual transmission, the 2016 Toyota Corolla sedan delivers its best performance and fuel economy when teamed with the CVTi-S automatic transmission.
AN INTERIOR HOME RUN, PART I: MATERIALS
The 2016 Corolla sedan from Toyota offers a level of sophistication and quality materials we’d like to see more of in this class. From its soft-touch surfaces to the elegant dash design, this is one compact that doesn’t feel entry-level.
AN INTERIOR HOME RUN, PART II: TECH-READY SETUP
Even the base Corolla offers a 6.1-inch audio display, USB port and iPod interface. Higher trims offer Siri Eyes Free and navigation with full apps suite, including Slacker Radio.
Telling the real story of Toyota’s 2016 Corolla sedan means talking about what’s inside. As we mentioned, this is a very nice interior – even the car's headliner material is impressive. There's plenty of stretch-out space in the front seats, and the long wheelbase gives rear-seat passengers world-record legroom. Rear headroom, however, is compromised by the jaunty sweep of the Corolla's C-pillar/roofline into the trunk – good to look at, but requires ducking from tall-torsoed riders in back.
The 2016 Corolla sedan’s styling has allowed it to move away from an anonymity suffered by previous generations, with an appealing series of folded edges in search of big wheels and tires to punctuate its stance (15-inch steel wheels are standard on base models, but find a way to move up to 16- or 17-inch wheels in steel or aluminum if you can). The car looks especially good in darker colors. And while the trunk capacity is laudable, the trunk opening could be a tad bit bigger.
Like most of the players in this class, the 2016 Toyota Corolla L comes pretty basic. The most notable exceptions – Nice interior! Cool, iPod connectivity. Ahh, Bluetooth hands-free calling. – have already been outlined. Don't worry, the car gets air conditioning and a decent 6-speaker audio system, plus power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and – all the rage in luxury cars these days – LED headlights. Always thinking of you, Toyota also includes a manual height adjuster for the driver's seat. The Corolla also offers the protection of eight airbags.
As is the habit these days, carmakers don't offer options so much as they offer option packages and add equipment by trim level. The 2016 Toyota Corolla sedan follows this lead. The LE adds automatic climate control, Entune Audio Plus, bigger wheels and remote keyless entry. Reaching up to the Corolla S rewards you with a sportier environment that includes fog lights, a chrome-tipped exhaust and a rear-deck spoiler, plus bolder seats and instrument cluster. The Driver's Convenience Package (standard on Premium trims) nets you Entune Premium audio, integrated navigation and apps as well as a power moonroof and push-button starting.
The 2016 Toyota Corolla is offered with two versions of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. The first version, used in L, LE and S Corolla models, produces 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque – not much bragging rights for power, but the fuel economy is strong for the class (see the EPA numbers below). The second 1.8-liter, in Corolla LE Eco models, gets to tout fuel economy as high as 42 mpg on the highway – superb for a non-
hybrid – mated to Toyota's CVTi-S continuously variable automatic transmission. That fuel-conscious CVTi-S also hosts the power in Corolla LE and S automatic-transmission models. A 6-speed manual gearbox is available in Corolla L and S versions, while a 4-speed automatic is available in the Corolla L.
1.8-liter inline-4 (L, LE and S)
132 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
L: 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual), 27/36 mpg (4-speed automatic)
LE: 29/38 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
S: 29/37 mpg (CVTi-S automatic), 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual)
1.8-liter inline-4 (LE Eco)
140 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
126 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
LE Eco: 30/42 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
LE Eco Plus & Eco Premium: 30/40 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
Starting with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $18,065 for the Corolla L and reaching over $24,000 for a Corolla S model loaded past the point of "a good value," the 2016 Toyota Corolla resides right in the heart of the compact-sedan pricing spectrum. Notably, that high end is also where you can enjoy some really nice midsize sedans as well. Before you close a deal on your new Corolla, be sure to check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what kinds of deals other folks in your area are getting for theirs. As expected, the Corolla shines when it comes to long-term resale value, easily matching the segment leader Honda Civic and outpacing the Kia Forte, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart, Nissan Sentra, Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda3.