Despite the Toyota Corolla’s sensible-if-dull portrayal and borderline process since its last care in 2014, the firm sedan’s 363,332 U.S. sales last year show that it remains a famous facility commodity. While aureate S deviations strive to up the Corolla’s entertaining cause with a slightly sportier bodies sound and some visual addons, that version has previously failed to astonish us when met with its continuously variable automatic transmission. The Toyota Corolla’s accessible six-speed manual—which only about 1 proportion of customers opted for last year—offers enhanced performance over the CVT, but that alone couldn’t persuade us to raise the Corolla’s states in an increasingly agonistic tract. The manual transmission is standard on the Corolla’s base L version and also is accessible in the S Plus experimented here, where it’s $1600 more than the CVT. But that upcharge also includes a sunroof and the Entune information and entertainment system with navigation system.
With either transmission you get a uninspiring 1.8-liter four-cylinder making 132 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque, moving the Toyota significantly down on energy versus contestants such as the Chevrolet Cruze, the Honda Civic, and the Mazda 3. With EPA municipality/freeway appraisals of 28/37 mpg, manual S Plus models such as our experiment vehicle equal the CVT version’s fuel economy around municipality and give up just 1 mpg on the freeway. We totalled 31 mpg over more than 700 miles of mixed driving, which is spot-on the EPA’s combined evaluating and good than the 24 and 30 mpg saved in preceding CVT-equipped instances.
Our 2869-pound experiment vehicle’s enhanced acceleration was more pronounced. Assisted by a grasping sphere and retiring wheelspin, its 8.5- second locomotion to 60 mph is a full second fast than that of the fast CVT Corolla we’ve experimented. The manual retains a flushed benefit at the quarter-mile evaluation, at 16.7 sounds to 17.4, with the guide being out to nearly four seconds as it knocks 100 mph in 24.8 seconds. Unfortunately, those illustrations still lags almost all of the Toyota’s oppositions’, as does this S Plus Corolla’s retiring 0.81 g of side grasping from its 17-inch wheels (orderly S models have 16s) wearing Firestone all-season tires. Despite both S deviations being improved with back disc brakes (yes, lesser models still have old-fashioned sound brakes on the back shaft), our experiment vehicle also needed a depressing 187 feet to stop from 70 mph, a spacing we usually subordinate with pickup trucks.
The grasping act is as dead as the overboosted steering, the notes are poorly put for fast maneuver, and the stagehand is ropey and lacking in affirmative engagements. S and S Plus models drive on tight jolts, springs and insulators, which aggravate contact roughness over crinkled pavement while doing nothing to assist body command during solid controlling.
The Corolla is a pragmatic tiny vehicle with a structural indoor design and quite a bit of useful space, particularly in the back seat. But plastics with counterfeit handicraft and unsightly cutlines are used throughout the compartment, which is woefully subordinated by the Mazda 3 and fresh oppositions such as the 2017 Hyundai Elantra. Agreement hunters will note that the bargain-priced path to get a manual Corolla is at the L version’s $18,135 MSRP, which includes only basal supports such as 15-inch alloy wheels with caps, eight airbags, a tilting-and-telescoping steering column and energy windows, buttons and mirrors. The manual S Plus, however, costs $22,500 and is identified by 17-inch aluminum wheels, a back spoiler, a chromium gas exhaust end, and the S models’ beautiful chromium-ringed, black-mesh opening. Along with the sportier mixture sound, the Blue Crush all-metal colorant on our experiment vehicle is a no-cost more distinctive to sportier Corollas.
There are no options at this stage, but the database of grade tool adds a 3.5-inch TFT display in the device agglomeration and front rooms with deep side bolsters that unfortunately don’t give much extra help. Also included are cruise command, automatic climate command, proximity entry and push-button start as well as the same sunroof and Entune information and entertainment system (a 6.1-inch area touchscreen, navigation system, six speakers, aux and USB ports, Siri Eyes Free ability, Bluetooth music and more).
Customers desiring advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise command and lane-departure informing will want to wait for the rested 2017 Corolla but the Toyota’s bodies and powertrain won’t change much with the 2017 modify. While the six-speed manual does lend more involvement to the driving experience than the CVT, its dull execution had with the Corolla’s subpar performance and tasteless indoor fail to raise this Toyota out of the tiny-vehicle floor. But if you’re one of the few who are determined to find a tiny, entertaining-to-drive Toyota-badged car with a manual transmission, let us indicate you toward the small, more cheap Mazda 2, which Toyota sells as the descendant iA and will rechristen the Yaris iA for 2017.