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Entry price: $18,600

Price as tested: $23,457

Likes:  Price, upgrades, top line safety, history.

Dislikes:  Rear drum brakes still used on L series models, not much else. 

Relying on renowned owner satisfaction ratings and offering a car that attracts consumers in all demographic age groups, our tester this week is the 2018 Toyota Corolla, arriving in mid-level XLE trim. Completely restyled last year, Corolla is no longer the tiny lightweight compact we experienced when it debuted in North America in 1968 riding on a 90-inch wheelbase.

Today, Corollas traverse highways on a 16.3-inch longer wheelbase along with growth roominess and curb weight. These modern day dimensions find Corolla categorized as mid-size vehicles on the EPA fuel mileage estimate chart, a fact that solidifies Corolla as one of the “biggest little compacts” out there. 

Now in its 11th generation and undergoing several nice upgrades along the way, the ’17 and ’18 Corollas feature new front-end designs, LED headlights and the elimination of the outdated four-speed automatic in favor of a contemporary automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Our XLE tester listed at a base of $22,035 well equipped. The entry “L” starts at a most impressive $18,600 while the LE starts at $19,035. The remaining Corolla models, each with increasing amenities and features, find the LE Eco (economy) starting at $19,435, SE at $20,545, and top-line XSE  for $22,780 giving prospective buyers six different Corollas to choose from.

Notable are the standard features on the entry “L,” including all the powers, keyless entry, a great sounding stereo, and USB and Bluetooth features. Therefore, don’t think the entry model is a stripped down Corolla because it isn’t. 

With the exception of the LE Eco, Corolla comes powered by Toyota’s proven and fuel efficient 1.8-liter four-cylinder that delivers 132 horsepower and 128 lb. ft. of torque. It performs all duties adequately with surprisingly good low end torque. If you want to shift manually, you still can still purchase the SE model as it comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission.

Fuel mileage is near identical be it manual or CVT. The six-speed churns out 28 city and 35 highway versus the CVT, which does one better highway at 28 and 36, respectively. The LE Eco comes with a 140-horse 1.8-liter engine, lighter curb weight, less coefficient of drag and is a California emission LEVEL 3 model. It generates 30 city and 40 highway EPA, the best of the bunch. From millennial to baby boomer, Corolla’s outstanding low entry price coupled with the above EPA estimates and an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick makes it a winning choice. Your Toyota dealer is awaiting your visit to explain all models and features.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications.

 

Did you know

You can find your vehicle’s proper inflation pressure in the owner’s manual.

 

Auto bits

AAA study: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto are less distracting than native systems

A study conducted by AAA shows that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a bit less distracting than the “native” systems that automakers themselves offer. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety worked with the University of Utah to evaluate five modern vehicles to determine the amount of visual and mental demand placed on drivers by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto versus the automakers’ built-in infotainment system options. 

The study concluded, “Both CarPlay and Android Auto generated an overall moderate level of demand, while the native vehicle systems created very high levels of demand for drivers.”

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allow mobile device users to connect their mobile devices with a power cord, or in some new cases wirelessly, to the vehicle’s audio system and information screen. 

Once connected, the two apps allow an occupant to view and have limited interaction with the information that would appear on their mobile device.

AAA’s study also emphasized that not all automakers integrate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto identically. 

The functions that get locked when the vehicle is in motion vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

John Goreham/More Content Now