Modern Motoring: 6 takeaways from the 2017 Toyota Corolla


I usually put the safety-talk further in my reviews but I’ve gotta put it at the top for this one as it’s very impressive for the Corolla nameplate. The Toyota Safety Sense package comes standard on all Corolla trim levels, which is class-leading for the compact segment. It includes automatic high beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (their version of adaptive cruise control), Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, and Lane Departure Alert. To get all of this high-tech gear for as little as $16,390 is unheard of. Also, eight airbags are standard fare. Full marks to Toyota for setting the safety bar high for compact cars.


The Corolla’s styling has definitely moved forward over the years and with the “plain Jane” Camry getting a huge makeover next model year, expect this little car to experience a redesign of its own sooner than later.
I do like the styling for its class. It’s got a modern appearance and (thankfully) not as many creases as the Prius. The standard automatic LED headlights are certainly a nice touch and give it a classy look at night. The absent bumper strips on the doors also help with a smooth, clean look, which I enjoy.


There’s one primary engine jammed beneath the hood of the 2017 Corolla. It’s a 1.8 L four-cylinder motor producing 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft. of torque.
The exception is the LE ECO CVT trim (which is what I drove for a week) which generates 140 horsepower and 126 lb-ft. of torque due to slightly different engine tuning, yet it is the most fuel efficient offering, coming in at 7.8 city, 5.9 highway, 6.9 combined L/100 km.
The other automatic options (CE and SE) come in at 8.3/6.5/7.5 under the same metrics.
The #savethemanuals option chimes in at 8.4/6.5/7.5.
Tried and true, the Corolla’s engine will get you where you need to be, even if it takes a couple of extra seconds to get up to your desired speed. The plus side is that with the CVT, you’ll get smooth acceleration and great fuel efficiency figures if you’re smart with your right foot.
It’s not quite sluggish, as some may say. I had no issues getting up to highway speeds at all.
And really, it’s 2017; there’s no way a manufacturer will put out something so slow and tedious that it would jeopardize your safety while getting up to speed.
(Remind me to test that 78 horsepower 74 lb-ft. torque Mitsubishi Mirage just so I can be 100% sure.)
You’ll fill up from E with 50 L of good ol’ regular fuel as well.


My kid brother had a 2002 Corolla and without the height adjustment on the seat, short-bodied Jay suffered every time I drove it. That car is long gone.
A good friend of mine picked up a 2017 Corolla LE because she found it to be the best value out there for her and it fit her full sized keyboard in the rear seats. 
The 2017 model is framed by a 6.1” touchscreen infotainment system, and the interior is well laid out and comfortable. The seats are filled with high density foam and the LE and LE ECO come with standard heated seats (which helped during my December test week). Minus the CE trim, a backup camera comes standard and the dashboard sports a 3.5-inch TFT Multi Information Display. SE models get a bigger 4.2-inch screen.
Cargo space rings in at 369 litres and there’s a 60-40 rear seat split for a bit more space.
For a compact car, the interior has a roomy feel to it and the simplistic yet effective layout and design does the Corolla well.

Models & Pricing

The Corolla sees six offerings, which are as follows in order of lowest to highest priced (as of Toyota’s website in January 2017, not including any other fees):

  • CE Manual - $16,390
  • CE CVT - $19,590
  • SE Manual - $20,505
  • LE CVT - $20, 690
  • LE ECO CVT - $21,190
  • SE CVT - $21,490

What’s interesting is that five of the six trims can be had with only a $1,900 price difference throughout, meaning you can go from the base CE trim to the top SE trim for relatively little money. I’m happy to see Toyota giving customers a wide range of choice throughout most of their lineup. 
There’s an XSE package, which gives you blue or black SofTex heated seats, leather steering wheel, a 7 inch display screen, 17” alloy wheels and some cosmetic upgrades.
Regardless of what you’d pick, everything in the Corolla lineup is jammed full of value for a very reasonable price.

What would you pick?

I’d pick the LE ECO CVT for the added fuel savings. Even though I’m a big supporter of manual gearboxes, practicality is at the top of my list in this case. The price is right, the value is huge (specifically all of the aforementioned standard safety features), and there are a few extra horses kicking around beneath the hood. I’d pass on the XSE package, however. Yes, it offers lots of “cool” features but for my car preference (function over fashion) I’m fine with 16” steel wheels. Just like the Rolling Stones were.