The 2017 Toyota Corolla is arriving at dealerships now, freshened with new styling touches inside and out to help it celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Can you believe it’s been around this long?
The Corolla has arguably been the most successful car in world history, selling more than anything world wide, let alone here in North America. It continues to remain on or near the top in sales charts year after year.
When it came time to update it just two years into its current body style it gained a number of enhancements mostly you’ll notice up front. This includes an all new front fascia that’s bolder, two of them depending on your trim grade.
LED headlamps remain standard equipment with again two different designs. New wheels are added across the entire lineup and a slightly revised tail light can be found at the back. They’re still halogen based lights, but upper trim grades get an LED backup light that is ultra small.
The lineup has been shuffled up somewhat when it comes to trim grades. The Corolla S is now the SE. The S Premium now becomes the XSE such as that we have tested. With an MSRP starting at $22,680 the XSE trim grade is now the top of the line for Corolla.
Inside this means leather-like SofTex seating trim with heated front chairs, a power sunroof, leather wrap for the steering wheel and shift handle as well as a full slate of standard amenities. It has the premium instrument cluster and power everything. The top-level Entune audio system however remains an option.
For 2017 the interior did get a few trim changes here and there with detail updates across the dash and door panels to freshen up the look. Ours had charcoal interior trim with a bright blue accent piping here and there.
Powering the Corolla for 2017 is the same 1.8 liter four-cylinder as before with 132 horsepower. In the XSE it comes only with an eCVT continuously variable transmission, here with a sport mode and paddle shifters for simulated sportiness.
If you opt for the SE, you can get a manual transmission. The big news is for those who wish a base model Corolla, they no longer have to take the old four-speed automatic as it now has the eCVT as standard equipment.
Handling for the XSE is a bit firmer and more sporting than lower trim grades as it features a performance tuned suspension from the SE. 17-inch wheels with somewhat mild rubber to provide decent grip for curvy roads but not the kind of thing you’d want for a track day.
Road noise and harshness is a tick higher than some of the Corolla’s more contemporary peers like Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and even the Nissan Sentra. In this class however the majority of buyers are after utility and reliability which the Corolla has traded on for all fifty of its years.
One new thing for 2017 is that the Toyota Safety System is now standard equipment across the board. This includes features like lane departure warning and forward emergency braking to name a few – a big deal in this class.
Will these updates be enough to keep the Corolla on top? While they aren’t ground breaking, they only help expand the appeal of a formula that is obviously dead on target for the masses. We’ll bring you a more detailed review soon when we get more time with one.