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Toyota Corolla

Popular for a reason, but graying at the temples.

Time catches up with the best of us, even the venerable Toyota Corolla. There are now several compact cars that are more efficient, more luxurious, and — let’s just say it — better than the Corolla, which is entering its last year before an expected 2014 redesign. The Corolla’s 1.8-liter engine, for instance, relies on a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission, whereas the Chevrolet Cruze and the Hyundai Elantra, among others, come with more-modern and more-fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions. The Corolla’s interior is logically laid out and fits together well but doesn’t come close to the materials quality of the Ford Focus’s or the technological competence of the Hyundai Accent’s. The Corolla received modest enhancements last year — namely, restyled front and rear fascias — but it still looks and feels like a considerably older car than the best competitors. Having noted its shortcomings, we still think that the Corolla is worthy of consideration, simply because few cars have been so dependably good for so long. Perhaps that’s why few compacts sell as well.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Cruze

Ford Focus

Honda Civic

Hyundai Elantra

new for 2013

A new, 6.1-inch touch-screen display is now standard in all but base corollas. All models receive minor grille and exterior trim changes.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 26–28

HWY 34–35

PRO

Comfortable

As reliable as the sun

CON

Almost as old as the sun

Not as efficient as newer competitors

Base Price Range: $17,025–$19,855

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Corolla, LE, S

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 1.8L I-4, 132 hp, 128 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 5-speed manual, 4- or 5-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 92.0 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 16.6 cu ft

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