$8,746 - $10,988

2013 Toyota Corolla Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Toyota Corolla was new.


Performance: 6.6

While the 2013 Toyota Corolla is a good commuter car, reviewers still think shoppers can do a lot better. They say its engine is weak, its transmissions are outdated and its fuel economy ratings can’t match those of competing models, which can average up to 40 mpg on the highway.

  • "As basic transportation for those with pragmatic automotive tastes, the quiet, soft-riding Corolla does just fine. But the lazy responses make a Mazda3 or Honda Civic seem quite sporty. And the Corolla's fuel economy, though good, is hardly class-leading." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's not much to dislike here, but there's little to get excited about either. Most of its rivals offer comparable fuel economy, greater refinement, and a more engaging driving experience all at prices that are comparable to or only slightly more expensive than this Toyota." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "With other compact cars gunning for the 40-mpg highway mark, the Corolla remains behind the pack." -- Motor Trend (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Toyota Corolla has a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and a four-speed automatic is optional. According to the EPA, the Corolla averages 27/34 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 26/34 mpg with the automatic. While these fuel economy ratings aren’t bad, they pale in comparison with the 40 mpg highway ratings that many competitors average.

The automotive press agrees that the Corolla is significantly underpowered, and struggles with passing, merging and climbing hills. One reviewer adds that the automatic transmission is dated because most competitors have transmissions with five or six gears. Generally, manual transmissions make small cars more fun to drive, but test drivers say that’s not the case with the Corolla. A few test drivers aren’t so harsh, and think the Toyota Corolla has adequate power for commuting.

  • "With the automatic transmission, Corolla has enough verve for stress-free driving. Merging and passing moves require planning and a deep stab of the throttle, however." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "Steering issues aside, in normal driving the Corolla proved to be an able freeway cruiser, with a fairly quiet and comfortable ride. Unfortunately, the Toyota's lack of torque and slow-responding four-speed auto made climbing even slight grades an exercise in annoyance, requiring slotting the lever into lower gears and listening to the engine toil away at higher rpms while falling further behind the traffic ahead." -- Motor Trend (2011)
  • "You certainly won't be eager to get in and drive it, what with its loose and sloppy steering. And even by coldly rational measures, the aging Corolla is beginning to slip. That's particularly the case in fuel economy, where fresher competitors with more modern, 5- and 6-speed transmissions, direct-injected and/or turbocharged engines now leave the Corolla behind." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

Handling and Braking

The Corolla’s steering and braking abilities receive few positive comments from reviewers. One test driver says that the brakes are jerky and that it takes longer for him to stop the Corolla than he’d like. The steering also gets a lot of complaints for feeling unnatural and numb. Testers say the Corolla doesn’t have a lot of body lean, and they add that even the S trim is not very fun to drive.

  • "This compact aims for smooth isolation and mostly achieves it. Bump absorption is quite good, and there's little bothersome float or wallow over highway dips and swells." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The brakes were fine, but there were moments of jerky sensitivity or more pedal travel than I would have liked." -- AutoWeek (2011)
  • "We also found our Corolla's steering to be less than ideal. While the Corolla felt light on its tires and turned in quickly, we were concerned about its tendency to wander at freeway speeds, exacerbated by light steering in general." -- Motor Trend (2011)
  • "The Corolla's body motions are relatively well-controlled when cornering, but unlike the redesigned Focus and the Mazda3, the car has no appetite for fun. Its numb steering is one of the biggest culprits; there's no feel for what's happening down at the front tires." -- Cars.com (2011)

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