The Toyota Corolla got its name from the Latin word meaning ‘little crown’. For Toyota, it certainly has been that. The Corolla has been on sale in one shape or another since the mid 60’s. Toyota has sold over 30 million Corollas worldwide and it’s fair to say they have figured out how to make an inexpensive, reliable sedan in the process.
Its palatable looks, impressive safety record and extreme reliability over the last couple of decades have given the Corolla a reputation as the ultimate A to B car; the best car for people who aren’t extremely picky about what they drive.
This most recent design, the tenth generation since the Corolla’s inception, went on sale in the 2009 model year and has undergone some changes to carry it through 2011.
Updates for 2011
The Corolla received a slimmed down set of windshield pillars, and sound absorbing carpets that aim to reduce noise inside the car. The noise is quite obviously still there though, and you may notice it if you spend a lot of time in the car or while driving on more abrasive road surfaces.
The new model also received some styling changes in the update. Toyota says they have collaborated with some Italian studios while penning the new design. Whether or not they listened to the Italians they consulted with can be debated; but the headlights, front and rear bumpers, trunk lid and grille have all been changed. The effect is subtle but somewhat noticeable from the previous car.
One major change from the 2010 Corolla is the engine options list. The 2.4 liter four cylinder is gone, leaving only a 1.8 liter 132 horsepower engine left to choose from. The Corolla is capable of accelerating to freeway speeds, and has a comparable level of performance when compared to the Honda Civic or Chevrolet Cruze.
The 2011 Corolla received the title of ‘Top Safety Pick’ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The car is loaded with safety features including six airbags, a slew of electronic traction and stability control systems and a disconnect that prevents a driver from accelerating while pressing on the brake.
Basic transportation in a few flavors
Inside, the car is typical Toyota economy style. Some of the panels on the car we tested seemed poorly fitted, with seams from plastic molding jutting out from the panels. That said there were no noticeable rattles inside the car.
The Corolla comes in three trim levels, a base trim, the S model and an LE. The base Corolla comes with next to no options, while the S model comes with some extra flair that is intended to make the car look sporty. The LE looks more like the base Corolla but it has available options like sunroof and an upgraded stereo system.
The 2011 S model now gets a slightly flat bottomed steering wheel, which is supposedly to make the car feel a little more sports-like, the effect is almost completely diminished when someone points out that it’s almost exactly the same as the wheel on the Prius hybrid.
The seat rails for the driver and passenger seats have been modified so taller occupants can fit a little better in the front. This is a good thing, because the back seat lacks the space for anyone over six feet tall to fit very comfortably.
When it comes down to it, the 2011 Corolla is sufficient. The Corolla didn’t become the best selling car in the world for nothing. As a tool for transportation, the Corolla gets the job done exceptionally well.
If you’re the type of person who has a bumper sticker that says what you’d rather be doing than driving, this may just be the car for you.