Toyota’s Corolla just celebrated “The Big 5-0,” and unlike humans celebrating the same longevity, it just keeps getting better and better.
The first Toyota Corolla went into production in November 1966 and made its U.S. debut in 1968. By 1970, Corolla was already among the more popular import cars in the country. The Corolla has evolved over the decades, becoming roomier, more powerful, more efficient and gaining ever more advanced safety technology.
Forty-three million and counting. That’s the number of Corollas that Toyota has sold globally since it began building the landmark model in the fall of 1966. And that makes Corolla the best-selling nameplate of all time.
Today, Toyota sells approximately 1.5 million Corollas globally each year. Sixteen plants worldwide assemble Corollas, including Toyota’s assembly plants in Blue Springs, Miss. (since October 2011), and in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada (since November 1988). With customers in more than 150 countries, the Corolla has earned its title as “The World’s Car.”
Phew. My 2017 Corolla XSE compact sedan will no doubt keep the car’s reputation and momentum – intact – along with the L, LE, LE Eco and XLE models.
The 2017 Corolla upholds the model’s well-earned reputation for value and quality, starting with roominess. My XSE seats four adults with generous rear-seat legroom and a large trunk – for plenty of junk. It receives a more than respectable 31-miles-per-gallon rating by the EPA in combined city/highway driving. It’s powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve engine with continuously variable automatic transmission that generates 140 horsepower.
The Corolla gets a sportier look for 2017 thanks to a new front grille and complex LED headlamps. A Barcelona Red Metallic paint job and 17-inch machined alloy wheels increase its street appeal.
And the interior is loaded with a lot more creature comforts than the original’s AM radio. Goodies include standard Bluetooth and Entune audio along with satellite radio, heated front seats, climate control, push-button start and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
What Corolla customers are sure to appreciate, even more than great audio, is the advanced Toyota Safety Sense-P technology. Standard on all Corollas, TSS-P is a safety system that bundles the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high beams.
Toyota is committed to making Toyota Safety Sense standard on nearly all its models by the end of this year. That will put Toyota (and Lexus) four years ahead of the 2022 industry target announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
For a model that started as an econo-box, the Corolla has transformed into a fashionable commuter car that does not compromise safety – or comfort. And it’s probably a better value now – than ever.
Base Price: $22,680
Price As Driven: $23,545
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.