2012 Corolla New Car Test Drive
The 2012 Toyota Corolla is a benchmark among compact cars for value, quality and dependability. A four-door, compact sedan with front-wheel drive, the Corolla is inexpensive to buy and operate, yet it feels like a small version of the Toyota Camry.
The current generation Corolla dates from 2009. Styling was freshened for 2011. Changes for 2012 are minimal: The 2012 Corolla comes standard with power windows, locks, and remote keyless entry. Outside mirrors are color-keyed on all 2012 Corolla models. The 2012 Corolla LE and 2012 Corolla S get upgraded audio systems. The Corolla continues to come with a comprehensive list of standard safety equipment.
All 2012 Corolla models use the same engine, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with electronic dual variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. Output is rated at 132 and horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque.
Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 27/34 miles per gallon the with the standard 5-speed manual transmission, 26/34 mpg with the optional 4-speed automatic.
We found the Corolla comfortable and easy to drive. The Corolla looks like a little Camry. Walking around the Corolla, we found the fit and finish high quality. Inside is a pleasing cabin with straightforward controls and minimal distractions. The seats are comfortable and getting in and out is easy. Performance and handling are average for the class. The suspension feels soft though the ride can get choppy on rough surfaces. It's quiet inside when underway.
The 2012 Toyota Corolla comes in three trim levels.
Corolla L ($16,130) comes with fabric upholstery, air conditioning with air filter, AM/FM/CD/WMA/MP3 four-speaker stereo, multi-information display, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, six-way manual driver seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, power mirrors, outside temperature gauge, and 15-inch steel wheels. Power windows and locks with remote keyless entry have been added for 2012. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard; Corolla L is also available with a 4-speed automatic ($16,960). Corolla LE ($17,910) comes standard with the automatic transmission and adds cruise control, heated mirrors, and intermittent wipers. Changes for 2012 include an all-new AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio system with USB (iPod) and auxiliary input ports, plus Bluetooth connectivity and redundant controls on the steering wheel. Steel road wheels upgrade to 16 inches.
Corolla S ($17,990) comes with the 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic ($18,820) and adds sport front seats with new double-stitch accents, color-matched spoilers, sport side sills, fog lamps, sport tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The premium stereo ($280) is optional on Corolla L, while LE and S models offer a navigation package($1,170) which includes HD and XM radio. A sunroof is available as part of a Premium Package ($860) for LE that also includes 16-inch alloy wheels, or as a stand-alone for S ($420). (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Standard safety features include six airbags: dual frontal, front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags; Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Antilock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, plus the federally mandated tire pressure monitor. It also features the Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.