Toyota celebrates milestone year of Corolla

Toyota celebrates milestone year of Corolla

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No single nameplate in the world has sold more units globally than the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla gets a sportier look for 2017 thanks to a new front grille and LED headlamps. Toyota

Wistfully, I remember the past 50 years. And like the Toyota Corolla, there have been a lot of good miles on the road. If only my track record could match the Corolla’s.

For the last 20 years, no car in America has been sold more often than the Corolla. The half-century tally exceeds 43 million. That’s a big deal for a compact car.

The 2017 model is highlighted by a 50th Anniversary Limited Edition model, of which only 8,000 will be built. We didn’t get to luxe out, but we did get to spend a week in an XLE, which nears the top end of an extensive lineup of trims that also includes L, LE, LE Eco, SE and XSE. The beginning price point is $18,500 for an L version.

Specific additions to the XLE tester we drove ($21,825 base price) are a sunroof, 16-inch wheels instead of the base 15-inchers, heated front seats, keyless ignition and entry, SofTex upholstery that mimics leather and the Entune Audio Plus package that incorporates a 7-inch touchscreen, navigation GPS link, satellite radio and upgraded sound system.

The primary engine is a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that operates better than the numbers would indicate. Paired with a continuously variable transmission (some trims are available with a 6-speed manual), the Corolla is fuel efficient with most EPA mileages ratings around 32 mpg/combined city and highway. The LE Eco does a bit better.

At just more than 15 feet in length, the Corolla has the dimensions of a vehicle built for spry handling but the 4-cylinder engine, CVT and torsion-beam rear suspension combine for a feel that is more safe than sexy.

Inside, the Corolla provides relative spaciousness for its riders, even those in the back seat. Materials up front are of good quality and the list of electronic features with Entune is impressive.

Toyota expanded on the Corolla’s safety features this year with a standard package of pre-collision alert, lane-departure warning with steering assist and automatic high beams. A rearview camera is also standard.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla has aged well at 50. The looks might not be glamorous, but this is a car that figures to continue in popularity.

2017 TOYOTA COROLLA XLE

  • Price/As-tested price………………… $21,825/$24,086
  • Mileage…………………………………… 28 mpg/city; 36 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 1.8-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower/torque…………………………… 132 hp/128 lbs.-ft.
  • Drive wheels……………………………………… Front-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………………………………… Blue Springs, Miss.

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