Car Review

2011 Toyota Corolla: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions January 2015

The 2011 Toyota Corolla gets a minor freshening with a new grille, headlamps, front and rear fascias, taillamps and decklid, plus larger side mirrors. It continues to offer as standard the Toyota Star Safety System, which includes Smart Stop technology, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems and six airbags. As always, Toyota's popular 4-door compact sedan is focused on low-cost operation, practicality, quality and refinement. While it's no Prius, the Corolla's base 132-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine offers decent fuel economy with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 35 miles per gallon on the highway. The sporty XRS model offered in previous years with its 158-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, ground-effect bodywork and 17-inch alloy wheels has been dropped for 2011. Also dropped for 2011 is the more generously equipped XLE model.

The 2011 Corolla is a good option for entry-level sedan buyers looking for a car that has no-nonsense value, comes with highly rated reliability, includes good resale value and is backed by Toyota's extensive parts and service network.

What We Like

Toyota Star Safety System; good fuel economy with the 1.8-liter engine; generous interior storage; minimal hump on rear-seat floor

What We Don't

Plain vanilla exterior; mushy handling of nonsport models; small trunk; lazy acceleration; vague steering

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

All Corollas are equipped with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is not available.

The 2011 Corolla has a single engine offering: a 1.8-liter double-overhead camshaft 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. Output is a modest 132 hp, and it develops 128 lb-ft of torque. It burns regular unleaded gas and has an EPA rating of 28 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with the standard 5-speed manual transmission and 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the optional 4-speed automatic.

Standard Features & Options

The 2011 Corolla has a simplified lineup distilled to base, LE and S trims.

Standard on the base Corolla is air conditioning, a satellite-radio-ready 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, a split-folding rear seat, intermittent wipers, a rear defroster, a center armrest, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, an outside temperature gauge, power mirrors, manual door locks and window winders, 195/65 tires on 15-in steel wheels, stability and traction control systems, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags and roll-sensing head-curtain airbags.

The LE trim adds standard power windows and door locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker audio system and color-keyed side mirrors. The LE is also available with optional 16-in alloy wheels, 205/55-16 tires, a tilt/slide sunroof and fog lamps.

With 2010's XRS trim being discontinued, the S becomes the go-to sporty Corolla. Upgrades include larger 205/55 tires on 16-in alloy wheels, color-keyed front and rear spoilers, sport side rocker panels, fog lamps, sport-fabric-trimmed seats, metallic interior accents, a trip computer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a chrome exhaust tip and a 6-speaker stereo.

Pricing

Toyota's evergreen compact sedan is synonymous with affordable, reliable transportation. Clean, low-mileage models retain their resale value and command higher used-car prices. Supply is plentiful; the Corolla has been a top-selling compact sedan in the U.S. for several decades.

For a better idea of the 2011 Corolla's price range, check out KBB.com, and then search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2011 Corolla:

A compressed front seat cushion may short out the seat-heater wiring, creating a fire risk.

Accessory installed seat heaters or leather seat covers may affect the front-passenger seat-sensing system, preventing the front airbag from deploying appropriately in a crash.

An accessory installed Bluetooth or navigation unit may damage the A-pillar retaining clip, allowing it to detach and cause injury in a crash.

The load-carrying labels on some Corollas are incorrect. An overloaded vehicle has an increased crash risk.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car for free.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The 2011 Toyota Corolla received three stars from NHTSA overall, with a 4-star rating for frontal impacts and rollover performance and only a 2-star rating for side-impact performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), however, gave the 2011 Corolla a Good rating for all crash-performance categories and even made it one of their Top Safety Picks.

Toyota covered the 2011 Corolla with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Toyota certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can't have more than 85,000 miles on the odometer and must be under 6 years old. Every CPO Corolla undergoes a 160-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Toyota CPO warranty covers the whole car, bumper-to-bumper, for 1 year or 12,000 miles, and extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles with a year of roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2011 Honda Civic -- The Civic is as roomy and practical as the Corolla, but it handles better and is more fuel efficient and stylish. Civic buyers can choose from a wider variety of models, including a hot, 197-hp Si sedan or a 43-mpg hwy Civic Hybrid.

2011 Hyundai Elantra -- Offering slightly more bang for your buck than the Corolla, the Hyundai Elantra offers nicer interior amenities and a roomier cabin and trunk. Hyundai's vaunted 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is less of a deal for used-car buyers, however. The coverage shrinks to 5 years/60,000 miles for second owners.

AutoTrader's Advice

While its NHTSA safety ratings were not the best in the small-car segment for 2011, the Corolla is still the car many parents would pack a freshman off to college in. As practical as compact sedans go, a used Corolla is a good used-car choice because a lot of durable and reliable service options will likely remain for subsequent owners. A reasonably well-equipped LE with power windows and door locks, better seat fabric and an up-level stereo will be both more livable for you and easier to sell when it's time to get something else. Make sure the Corolla you're looking at has had any applicable safety recalls attended to. Also, when available, look for a certified pre-owned model.

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Used 2011 Toyota Corolla S
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Toyota Corolla: Used Car Review - Autotrader