(Contributing Editor: George Straton)

 

Gazing into the ROADBLAZING.COM / ChicagoNow “Drive…He Said” automotive crystal ball the compact 4-door notchback sedan will likely not be long for the North American and European world.

 

Apparently other parts of the globe haven’t seen the same handwriting on the wall. For 2017, the number one selling vehicle in the world was a compact 4-door sedan. the Toyota Corolla at 1.16 million units. We are talking about a model name which dates back to 1966, and is still assembled in the original Takoaka, Japan Plant (alongside the Prius).

 

Why is Corolla, now about to enter it’s 5th year of the current design, the number one global seller and why is it likely to see the light of another generation (expected around 2020)?

 

The 2018 Toyota Corolla is Plug-‘N-Play driving at it’s core. It’s the ideal automotive name to fill in the blank following General Electric, Maytag & Frigidaire.

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Must Haves:

Low M.S.R.P:

from $19,620 (incl. destination) for a CVT automatic 2018 Toyota Corolla L . Our test vehicle was a luxe spec 2018 Corolla XLE = $23,055 M.S.R.P.

Low transaction price:

Check Toyota.com & Toyota dealers for their extensive purchase, finance incentives.

Toyota fills rental fleets with Corollas so moving product is the name of the Corolla game.

Sufficient capacity, Versatile use of space:

Shallow scooped, wide front bucket seats; Tall rear perch cushions = class leading rear legroom which shaves rear headroom; Front door / Rear door pocket storage = Bottles only sparse / There; Trunk = holds 1 full size and 2 carry-on suitcases, but hampered by tall liftover and narrow opening; + 60/40% split folding rear seat back expansion; Wide front center armrest bin.

For Comparison’s Sake: 2018 Toyota Corolla rear legroom & trunk volume vs. Honda Civic = -4.0″-inches, -14%, vs. Hyundai Elantra = +5.7″-inches, -10%

Better than average fuel economy:

35 miles per gallon in combined driving, 490 mile highway range on 87 octane unleaded fuel.

Lags turbo-charged crowd:

This Continually Variable Transmission does a good slushbox impression without hanging the engine revolutions up too much.

Acceptable ride/ handling

Front strut + rear torsion beam chassis offers up poise, dispatching impacts but lazily follows the tail through tight kinks;  The [SE’s] 4-wheels discs’ linear pedal action and reaction are a treat among city cars.

Fitting  & Finished:

Despite smattering of soft panels, Corolla is a master of tight grained hard cabin plastics, piano black panels, imitation carbon fiber and Benz W120 series door slam thud; Low noise tires abet ample stuffing for good cabin exterior noise isolation.

Built to last like a Maytag, O.K. warranty, +1 Initial maintenance:

5 year / 60,000 miles powertrain; 3 year / 36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranties; 2 yr. / 25k mi included maintenance. Toyota sold 1.16 million Corollas last year;

According to J.D. Power, among 7 year old compact cars, Corolla rates a 5 out of  5 in mechanical dependability.

Styling = Inoffensively expressive as a Maytag:

A rather coke bottle fuselage with short sloping hood; Deep & jutting front fascia contains lower trapezoid grille; Tall belt-line melds with tall rear deck; Slab-sided quarter panels dip into inflated lower rear bumper cover, exaggerating haunches;  2017 mid-cycle refresh added vertical S-corner channels to front fascia and tweezed the wrap around light fixtures. Not very daring.

Generous standard equipment set:

Standard: Power windows (driver’s express ), door locks; Air condition w/ pollen & dust filter, Dual vanity sun-visors, Tilt & telescoping steering wheel, Front overhead map lights; 60/40 split folding 2nd row seatbacks;

Good safety feature set & ratings:

8 airbags (incl. driver’s knee front cushions), Rear view camera w/ park guidance grid, Automatic lights, Toyota Safety Sense-P: Lane departure, pre-collision warning, automatic, partial adaptive cruise control; high beam headlights.

IIHS: “Top Safety Pick Plus”

 

Making Life Easier Behind the Wheel:

√ Bi-LED headlamps

Bluetooth handsfree phone & audio connectivity

Steering wheel horizontal spoke audio & voice command controls

Cruise control

Touch infotainment display: 6.1″-inch Entune touch LCD display FM/AM Audio with USB, Aux, I-pod, streaming inputs, 6-speaker 160W audio, advanced voice recognition, Siri assist;

USB x 1 ports, 12V x 1 power ports

Modest front center stack wireless device storage

 

Nice To Have:

Remote keyless entry (LE and up)

Push button start (XLE and up)

Automatic climate control (LE and up)

Heated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat (XLE and up)

Rear disc brakes (SE and up)

7.1″ Entune Premium audio touch display, HD radio, weather, traffic & Scout GPS Link wireless app navigation, Sirius XM radio (90 days complimentary) (XLE and up, optional LE)

Power moonroof (XLE and up)

 

Wish It Had But Doesn’t:

-1: 2018 Toyota Corolla XLE sedan needs extra front door pocket storage.

 

Which to Skip, Which to Pick:

Value driven Corolla LE model can now be optioned with Entune Audio Plus’ Scout GPS Link navigation app and a power moonroof. Automatic climate control and remote keyless entry are included. Jump to XLE = alloy wheels, simulated leather & power driver’s seat.

 

Buying Tips:

1) Try locating an outgoing model year vehicle. They come with greater manufacture incentives.

2) Do Your Homework.” Scour manufacturer websites for “Rebates“, “Incentives” or “Special Offers.”

3) Be flexible on options and colors. Be willing to consider what other consumers would typically pass on.

4) Inquire with new car dealers about renting a similar model service loaner vehicle for an extended test drive.