You notice the beautiful and balanced interior when you first get in. Sport gauge cluster and gated shifter add to the magic. Sport Mode gives a “hands on” experience.
The customized 3.5-inch Multi-Information Display gives instant data. Information like current/average fuel economy and estimated cruise range are right there with just a glance.
Personally, I liked the automatic, Continuously Variable Transmission with Intelligent Shift (CVTi-S). It was hooked up to a 1.8 L 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve Dual VVT-i engine.
But for those who are “purists,” use the gated shifter, which lets you select simulated gear ratios like a conventional automatic.
The Special Edition has an aggressive grille, trunk lip spoiler, sport seats, and front and rear brakes resting on 17-inch gloss-black alloy wheels.
Outside, SE-exclusive Absolutely Red was the color, while in the cabin Softex leather seats, steering wheel, and console were Ebony trimmed with red accents.
LED low-beam headlights with Halogen high beams, LED daytime running lights, and integrated fog lights add to the classy ensemble.
Outside the front windows were color-keyed, heated power mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators.
Great sound comes out of the Entune Audio system which includes a 6.1-inch touch screen, AM/FM/CD player, AUX input, USB port, advanced voice recognition, and Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming. Together with a big temperature control knob and climate control buttons below made for an enjoyable driving experience.
The Corolla becomes your music and phone oasis. When you plug an iPod or MP3 device into the USB port you get instant access to your music library and playlists. Available Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite puts things close to-the-touch. You just plug in an address, get directions, and then it is on to your favorite restaurant. You can even buy your theatre tickets on the way to the restaurant.
The back-up camera is standard on the Special Edition and is activated when you shift into reverse.
Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) front seats help reduce the severity of a whip lash injury found in rear-end collisions, while tire pressure monitor, eight airbags, Star Safety System, and LATCH (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Child) for children are standard safety in the Corolla.
Sleek tail lights, refined bumper and flat floor design add up to an impressive look on a car that also gets an estimated 37-mpg highway. My week of driving netted me an average of 35 mpg.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price was a modest $20,636. There was an added $1,200 Premium Audio Package that listed over three dozen features. Some were already listed as standard items for the Special Edition.
Here is the bottom line. Corolla is economically priced, fun to drive, and has more technology than a moon launch.
A perfect first car buy for a young person or couple, and a nice addition for older folks. Since Corolla fits about everyone’s needs, it’s a recommended buy car!
3-year/36,000-mile Basic Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
5-year/Unlimited miles Rust-Through Warranty
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org