A Solid Ride~2018 Toyota Corolla SE

If there was ever a household name in the car world, it would have to be the Toyota Corolla. With more than 40 million in sales across the world, the Corolla is Toyota’s best-selling nameplate of all time.

Starting at $19,445, the Corolla has been the go-to car for parents looking to send junior off to college. Not much changes for the 2018 Corolla except for a few styling cues and other minor upgrades.

If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The Corolla is available in six grades: L, LE, LE Eco, XLE, SE and the top end XSE. My test Corolla was the Blue Crush Metallic SE trim, a perfectly fine ride with Safety Sense system as standard equipment.


Safety Sense, Toyota’s important new safety technology system, includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high beams. I loved the automatic headlights!

It’s one of the reasons the 2018 Corolla was awarded a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s also one of the reasons parents like to send junior off to college in a Corolla, it’s a safe car. The only ding the IIHS gives the 2018 Corolla is for ease of child seat latching and for headlights, both of which were given the second-highest IIHS score of “acceptable.”

Toyota offers the Corolla as a sedan or hatchback. All trims have a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 132 horsepower. The engine is hooked to a CVT automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. My test car had the 6-speed, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The clutch was smooth as butter and the throws were short and easy.

You might be surprised to know the LE Eco trim has the most powerful engine of the bunch, a specially tuned 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that kicks out 140 horses. The LE Eco trim is also the most fuel efficient, promising an EPA-estimated 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

My SE trim with the manual transmission was no slouch either. It took me 35 highway miles and 27 city miles down the road on a single gallon of regular unleaded gas. I enjoyed my week behind the wheel in the Corolla. It had precise steering and good brakes. It’s not overpowered, but adequate, and it felt planted on the road. There was almost no lean in hard cornering.

The cabin of the test car was comfortable if not opulent. SofTex trimmed front seats had premium fabric inserts for an upscale touch. A backup camera is standard on all grades, and the 7-inch touchscreen had navigation, which was really appreciated. Standard Bluetooth and Entune Audio made things even nicer.

The Toyota Corolla has been around since 1956, and 1.5 million units manufactured in 16 plants around the world are sold on average every year. There aren’t many cars with the longevity of the Corolla. And even though it’s more than 50 years old, the Corolla remains an outstanding value.

It’s not the sportiest or the most luxurious car on the road, but don’t forget about that whole $19,445 starting price or the “Top Safety Pick” thing. Those are two of the most important things car buyers are looking for when they pull onto the lot.

So, if you’re looking for reliable transportation from point A to point B, a solid ride with excellent fuel economy and a top notch safety record, look no further than the 2018 Toyota Corolla.

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