2018 Toyota Corolla Expert Review

4.2 Overall Score
Performance 3.7 Comfort 4.2 Styling 3.6 Value 4.2

Editor's Overview

The 2018 Toyota Corolla may be one of the best compact-car values on the market. It has an exceptionally reasonable price tag, outstanding reliability and resale figures and one of the most comprehensive standard safety-equipment rosters of any car in the class. While not particularly fast or sporty, the Corolla’s remaining attributes are very appealing.

You'll Like The 2018 Toyota Corolla If...

Toyota’s 2018 Corolla makes a great first car, but even longtime drivers will appreciate the Corolla’s exceptional value. From its low price to its fuel-efficient engine to its impressive list of standard safety and driver-assist features, the Corolla compact sedan checks all the right boxes.

You May Not Like The 2018 Toyota Corolla If...

If you can’t live without high-tech features like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you won’t be happy with the 2018 Toyota Corolla’s audio setup. Those seeking an aggressive driving attitude won’t find much excitement here, nor will speed demons. Hatchback fans will have to look to the smaller Corolla iM.

What's New

For 2018, the Toyota Corolla compact sedan carries over with no changes of note. The 50th Anniversary trim is discontinued.

Interior Features

The 2018 Toyota Corolla interior may be short on pizazz, but it's quiet, comfortable and gets the job done. The modern dash design features round air vents, a user-friendly climate-control interface, updated infotainment system, improved and more legible gauges, and a multi-information display. The Corolla’s front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the rear seats are surprisingly roomy, even for tall passengers. Even with the new features everything is easy to use and see, and there's good cargo space with split-folding rear seatbacks to help with longer objects.

Exterior Features

The 2018 Corolla offers two different exterior designs, reflecting the new model lineup. The L, LE, XLE and LE Eco offer a nose-and-tail treatment that's distinct from the sportier SE and XSE models. Yet both offer similarities. There are standard LED headlights, with a 2-element version on the SE-type Corollas. The SE-based models also get vertically styled front vents and LED fog lights, plus all-red taillights, while LE-type models use subtle cues, such as 2-color taillights, to look a little more upscale. 

Driving Impressions

Driving enthusiasts aside, most people will find much to like about the 2018 Toyota Corolla sedan. The ride is soft without excessive wallowing, and the steering is surprisingly responsive with good on-center feel. Visibility is also a Corolla strong point, as are its comfortable and supportive front seats. While it can’t compare with the Mazda3 or Honda Civic for performance, the 2018 Corolla SE trim does offer a bit more athleticism thanks to a sportier suspension setup and 6-speed manual-transmission option. A 132-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on all but the LE Eco model, which gets a slight bump to 140 horses. This setup won’t encourage any daring passing maneuvers, but at least the CVT automatic makes the most of what little power is on tap while maximizing fuel economy. There is a lot of noise at full-throttle, however, but otherwise the Corolla’s cabin is surprisingly quiet.

Pricing Notes

The 2018 Toyota Corolla L base model has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $19,400. On the other end of the scale is the Corolla XSE, which comes in fully loaded at just above the $24,000 mark. That's a pretty good bargain on both ends; on the low end, the Civic LX with the Honda Sensing package comes closest, but still runs about $1,000 more. On the high side, a loaded Corolla is notably less than many competitors. Check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new Corolla. As for resale value, the Corolla outpaces virtually everything but the Civic, where the two run neck-and-neck.

Notable Equipment

We've already mentioned the array of active-safety systems now standard on even the base 2018 Toyota Corolla L. Beyond that the Corolla L offers LED headlights, a rearview camera with path projection, air conditioning, cruise control, and tilt-telescope steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls on the spokes. There's a USB port for phone recharging and audio integration, and a 6.1-inch touch-screen display audio system that includes Toyota's Entune multimedia bundle and Siri Eyes Free, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't available at all. The 6-way-adjustable driver's seat and the rest of the interior are upholstered in comfortable cloth.

Notable Options

Corolla LE models get automatic climate control, a multi-information display (MID) between the gauges, and nicer interior trim. The XLE and XSE get faux-leather seating surfaces and an 8-way-power driver's seat, nicer instrumentation with a color MID, and push-button start and keyless entry. If you want a "sporty" Corolla, the SE can be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. SE models are generally equipped a little better than LE models, offering a color MID among other things. XLE, XSE and SE manual Corollas get a standard 7-inch infotainment system, which can be upgraded with an integrated navigation system.

Favorite Features

No other compact car offers the standard safety equipment found in the 2018 Toyota Corolla. The Safety Sense-P suite includes pre-collision warning and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. Better still, the system is standard on every trim level.

For an entry-level compact, Toyota’s 2018 Corolla sedan offers a rather pleasing interior. An elegant dash design is bolstered by an extensive use of soft-touch materials and quality plastics throughout the roomy and comfortable cabin.

Under the Hood

There are two versions of the same 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine for Toyota’s 2018 Corolla. The one used in nearly all models offers 132 horsepower, routing it through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), or in the case of the SE, an available 6-speed manual transmission. The Corolla LE Eco offers a 140-horsepower version of the same engine, but it's no hot rod, instead being tuned for better fuel economy. Fuel economy is good, especially the Eco getting up to 40 mpg on the highway, but these days that's par for the course instead of class-leading. Some 2018 models may show slightly lower fuel-economy numbers due to changes in EPA testing.

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: 27/35 mpg (SE 6-speed manual), 28/36 mpg (CVT, 16-inch wheels), 28/35 mpg (CVT, 17-inch wheels)

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: 30/40 mpg (15-inch wheels), 29/38 mpg (16-inch wheels)

Editors' Notes

The 2018 Toyota Corolla compact sedan may not be the fastest or most technologically advanced small car you can buy, but its dedication to value, economy and comfort is unsurpassed. For the money, Toyota’s 2018 Corolla sedan offers a spacious cabin wrapped in an attractive body, and a list of unrivaled standard safety features including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and automatic high-beam headlights. A wide model range offers something for everyone, although the Corolla’s standard 1.8-liter won’t impress like the turbocharged engines in the Honda Civic or VW Golf, and its driving dynamics are no match for competitors like the Mazda3 and Chevrolet Cruze. High-tech fans won’t be happy with the omission of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, either.

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