The 2016 Toyota Corolla presents a fresh, contemporary exterior design, a roomy cabin and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that considerably improves fuel efficiency. The 11th-generation design updates the best-selling car model of all time, yet despite the newfound styling flair, the Corolla continues to be the default choice for no-nonsense, economical transportation. It was the best-selling 4-door compact sedan in the U.S. in 2016.
The Corolla LE Eco model is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at an impressive 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The Corolla S model is available with a Sport mode that simulates a more direct steering feel and offers seven gear steps in the CVT, which the driver can upshift and downshift manually. Standard is Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Smart Stop Technology, 4-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control systems, antilock brakes, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, roll-sensing head-curtain airbags, a new driver’s-knee airbag and a front-passenger side-cushion airbag.
The 2016 Corolla is a sensible choice for entry-level sedan buyers looking for a car with good safety ratings, legendary reliability and top-notch resale value. For 2016, a new Special Edition package on the S model brings gloss-black 17-in alloy wheels, keyless access with push-button start and red interior accents. The Entune audio system adds a Siri Eyes-Free mode for iPhones and Slacker Radio is a new Entune app. See the 2016 Toyota Corolla models for sale near you
What We Like
Contemporary styling; the Toyota Star Safety System with eight airbags; good fuel economy; generous rear-seat room
What We Don’t
Excessive road and wind noise; mushy handling; small trunk; lazy acceleration; vague steering; no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 Corolla L, LE and S models continue to use a version of the well-proven 1.8-liter double-overhead-camshaft 16-valve 4-cylinder engine, accompanied by Toyota’s patented Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology. Output remains a modest 132 horsepower with 128 lb-ft of torque. The 4-speed automatic versions are EPA-rated at 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Models with the 6-speed manual transmission achieve 28 mpg city/36 mpg hwy, and Corollas with the CVT get 28-29 mpg city/36-37 mpg hwy. The 6-speed manual is standard on the Corolla L and Corolla S, the 4-speed automatic is available on the Corolla L only, and the CVT is available on the Corolla LE and Corolla S. This engine burns regular unleaded gas.
The Corolla LE Eco model is the fuel economy-optimized version of the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with Toyota’s Valvematic system, a more efficient update of VVT-i. Output rises to 140 hp, although torque dips slightly to 126 lb-ft. With the standard 15-in low-rolling-resistance tires, it achieves an EPA rating of 30 mpg city/40 mpg hwy. It also uses regular unleaded gas.
All Corollas are equipped with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is not available.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Toyota Corolla is available in L, LE, S and new LE Eco trims.
The Corolla L is pretty basic, but does now include a 6-speaker Entune AM/FM/CD stereo with a 6.1-in color touchscreen, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone connectivity, iPod and USB jacks and Siri Eyes Free, plus standard air conditioning with a pollen filter, power door locks, power color-keyed mirrors, power windows with a driver’s-side auto-down feature, a split-folding rear seat, cloth seats, a center armrest, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, an outside-temperature gauge, a trip computer and 195/65 tires on 15-in steel wheels.
The LE trim adds a standard CVT, a backup camera, automatic climate control, cruise control, remote keyless entry, auto power locks, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, metallic and piano-black interior trim, variably intermittent wipers, heated side mirrors and 205/55 tires on 16-in steel wheels. LED low-beam headlamps and LED driving lamps are also included.
The sporty Corolla S upgrades with a chrome-ringed black grille, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, sport-bolstered fabric-trimmed seats, sport gauges, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with paddle shifters and audio controls, a chrome exhaust tip and a Sport driving mode for the available CVT.
The LE Eco model features the Valvematic-enhanced engine, aerodynamic underbody panels, a rear spoiler and special low-rolling-resistance 15-in tires on steel wheels. Sportier-looking 16-in alloys and 205/55-16 tires are optional.
Plus packages typically add plus-size alloy wheels, a power moonroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start and Entune premium audio with a high-resolution split-screen, navigation, SiriusXM, HD Radio and an app suite. The Corolla S Plus adds 4-wheel disc brakes. Premium packages typically bring heated front buckets and a power driver’s seat.
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 many years.
For a better idea of the 2016 Corolla’s price range, check out KBB.com, then search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced no recalls for the 2016 Corolla:
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, they’ll fix the car for free.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The NHTSA issued the 2016 Corolla a 5-star rating overall, with five stars for front and side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Corolla a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats but a Marginal rating for small-overlap, driver-side front impacts.
Toyota covered the 2016 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 must have 85,000 or fewer miles on the odometer and 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
2016 Honda Civic – All new for 2016, the redesigned Civic gets stylish new sheet metal, more rear legroom and a larger trunk. Infotainment is upgraded with available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Engine choices include a 158-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and an upgrade 174-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four. Both sedan and coupe body styles are available.
2016 Ford Focus – Revised for 2015 with a face-lifted exterior and updated cabin, the fun-to-drive Focus continues in 2016 as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. Engine choices include a 123-hp 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder or a 160-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, both available with a manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The sensational Focus ST model sports a manually shifted 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, but suffers from torque steer.
The 2016 Corolla sports more up-to-date styling and interior room than its predecessor, but it’s not the most exciting car to drive in the small-car segment. As practical compact sedans go, a Corolla is a good choice to buy used because a lot of its durable and reliable service features will likely remain for subsequent owners. A reasonably well-equipped LE with automatic climate control, cruise control and a backup camera will be easier to live with than a more stripped-down L model. Try to find a CPO model if possible, and although none were announced when this was written, check with the dealer for any applicable safety recalls. Find a Toyota Corolla for sale