After a complete remake last year, Toyota’s compact Corolla sedan for 2015 continues to improve on an already greatly improved design. Where many competitors such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra have moved decidedly upmarket, the Corolla remembers its roots, offering many of the features mainstream buyers covet in a package that remains affordable, reliable and attractive.
You'll Like The 2015 Toyota Corolla If...
If you have fond memories of driving reliable Corollas of the past, the 4-door 2015 Toyota Corolla will likely continue the trend. It’s the kind of car you can drive long after the last payment and then hand down to your kids with confidence.
You May Not Like The 2015 Toyota Corolla If...
While the Corolla is solid, it's not sporty or sexy or even luxurious. If you’re looking for any or all of these attributes in a compact car, we suggest the Ford Focus, Dodge Dart or Hyundai Elantra. The Mazda3, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf provide the convenience of a hatchback design.
The compact Toyota Corolla gains only modest enhancements for 2015. LE and LE Eco models get a new painted front grille, while LE, S and LE Eco Premium trims become mono-spec cars, gaining last year’s Driver Convenience Package (moonroof, Smart Key and Entune), but offering no other packages or upgrades.
Telling the real story of Toyota’s newest Corolla sedan means talking about what’s inside. As we mentioned, this is a very nice interior – even the car's headliner material is impressive. There's plenty of stretch-out space in the front seats, and the long wheelbase gives rear-seat passengers world-record legroom. Rear headroom, however, is compromised by the jaunty sweep of the Corolla's C-pillar/roofline into the trunk – good to look at, but requires ducking from tall-torsoed riders in back.
The Corolla sedan’s styling has allowed it to move away from an anonymity that the Federal Witness Protection Program can't duplicate to an appealing series of folded edges in search of big wheels and tires to punctuate its stance (15-inch steel wheels are standard on base models, but find a way to move up to 16- or 17-inch wheels in steel or aluminum if you can). The car looks especially good in darker colors. And while the trunk capacity is a pinch bigger than the previous-generation Corolla, the trunk opening could be a tad bit bigger.
Driving enthusiasts and die-hard car junkies probably won’t like the way the Corolla corners and accelerates. But, for the remaining 90 percent who simply want a comfortable, competent and credible car to get them to work on the weekdays and away on weekends, the 2015 Toyota Corolla sedan is more than up to the job. The ride is smooth and well mannered, and while we think the Ford Focus offers a quieter interior, road and wind noise levels inside the Corolla are certainly on par with most other compact sedans. Both iterations of the 1.8-liter engine deliver up enough power to safely merge or pass slower traffic, but they lack the ample torque found in many competitors. When equipped with the CVTi-S automatic transmission, the Corolla gets its best fuel economy and horsepower. The trade-off, however, is more engine noise under hard acceleration due to the high-revving engine.
Starting with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $17,750 for the Corolla L and reaching over $24,000 for a Corolla S model loaded past the point of "a good value," the 2015 Toyota Corolla resides right in the heart of the compact-sedan pricing spectrum. Notably, that high end is also where you can enjoy some really nice midsize sedans as well. Before you close a deal on your new Corolla, be sure to check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what kinds of deals other folks in your area are getting for theirs. As expected, the Corolla shines when it comes to long term resale value, easily matching the segment leader Honda Civic and outpacing the Kia Forte, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart, Nissan Sentra, Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda3.
Like most of the players in this class, the basic Toyota Corolla L comes pretty basic. The most notable exceptions – Nice interior! Cool, iPod connectivity. Ahh, Bluetooth hands-free calling. – have already been outlined. Don't worry, the car gets air conditioning and a decent 4-speaker audio system, plus power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and – all the rage in luxury cars these days – LED headlights. Always thinking of you, Toyota also includes a manual height adjuster for the driver's seat. While not yet ready to tame all the forces in an offset crash test, the new Corolla does offer the protection of eight airbags.
As is the habit these days, carmakers don't offer options so much as they offer option packages and add equipment by trim level. The 2015 Toyota Corolla sedan follows this lead. Pass on the base L version and step up to the LE models to get automatic climate control, Entune 6-speaker audio with streaming Bluetooth, bigger wheels, and remote keyless entry. Reaching up to the Corolla S rewards you with a sportier environment that includes fog lights, a chrome-tipped exhaust and a rear-deck spoiler, plus bolder seats and instrument cluster. The Driver's Convenience Package (standard on Premium trims) nets you Entune Premium audio, navigation and apps as well as a power moonroof and push-button starting.
AN INTERIOR HOME RUN, PART I: MATERIALS
For too long, Toyota let its compact car interiors look cheap and dated. The 2015 Corolla sedan suffers from neither problem, offering a handsome, comfortable and slightly sophisticated interior anyone would be proud to show off.
AN INTERIOR HOME RUN, PART II: TECH-READY SETUP
One of the biggest areas of improvement is in the Corolla’s highly sought after audio and infotainment systems. The 2015 Corolla includes USB and iPod interfaces, Bluetooth and an available Entune audio system with navigation and full apps suite.
Under the Hood
Without asking you to wade waist-deep into an engine-technology discussion, we'd like you to know that the 2015 Toyota Corolla is offered with two versions of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. The first version, used in L, LE and S Corolla models, produces 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque – not much bragging rights for power, but the fuel economy is strong for the class (see the EPA numbers below). The second 1.8-liter, in Corolla LE Eco models, gets to tout fuel economy as high as 42 mpg on the highway – superb for a non-hybrid – mated to Toyota's CVTi-S continuously variable automatic transmission. That fuel-conscious CVTi-S also hosts the power in Corolla LE and S automatic-transmission models. A 6-speed manual gearbox is available in Corolla L and S versions, while a 4-speed automatic is available in the Corolla L.
1.8-liter inline-4 (L, LE and S)
132 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Corolla L: 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual), 27/36 mpg (4-speed automatic)
Corolla LE: 29/38 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
Corolla S: 29/37 mpg (CVTi-S automatic), 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual)
1.8-liter inline-4 (LE Eco)
140 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
126 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Corolla LE Eco: 30/42 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
Corolla LE Eco Plus & Eco Premium: 30/40 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
When Toyota overhauled the Corolla last year, the company used a mix bag of tricks, updating the exterior, interior and features, but retaining the same 1.8-liter engine and well-established twist-beam rear axle suspension. As a result, the 5-passenger 2015 Toyota Corolla sedan continues to offer buyers a solid, dependable compact car delivering good fuel economy at an affordable price. While the Corolla’s design is not revolutionary, Toyota knows it must remain competitive, so the Corolla offers up a number of refinements in audio and infotainment. It also offers more interior enhancements on par with with cars like the sporty Mazda Mazda3 and fuel-efficient Ford Focus.