2018 Toyota Corolla

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MSRP: $18,600 - 22,780

2018 Toyota Corolla Review

The 2018 Toyota Corolla has a great predicted reliability rating and high fuel efficiency, but it's not as refined or fun to drive as some rivals. These shortcomings result in the Corolla's bottom-third ranking. 




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Great gas mileage
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • High predicted reliability rating
  • Uninspiring engine
  • Humdrum handling
  • Lower-rent interior than rivals

Is the Toyota Corolla a Good Car?

The Toyota Corolla is an OK car, but it doesn't really stand out in any areas compared to other highly competitive compact cars. Its cabin is teeming with hard plastics, which exude a low-rent feeling. Additionally, the Corolla has dull handling and lackluster engine power.

Conversely, the Corolla is a top seller every year. That’s because it excels in delivering much of what people look for in daily driver. Toyota's predicted reliability is top-notch, and the Corolla is great on gas. Infotainment features are easy to use. Also, the seats are roomy and comfortable.

Should I Buy the Toyota Corolla?

Hundreds of thousands of buyers can't be wrong. The Corolla is a great choice for dependable, everyday transportation, but don’t expect engaging performance. If you do, there are better options in the class.

Cars like the Mazda3 and Honda Civic combine athletic handling with upscale interior quality, all for a price tag similar to the Corolla’s. You can also find a bigger, better version of the Corolla in the larger Toyota Camry, a midsize car.

Compare the Corolla, Civic, and Camry »

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Corolla?

Toyota gave the Corolla a slight refresh for the 2017 model year, which included interior and exterior styling updates and made a continuously variable automatic transmission standard. Several driver assistance technologies were also made standard, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. There are no notable changes for 2018, and there hasn’t been a full redesign since the current generation began in 2014. 

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Corolla, but you may not get the additional features of later model years. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Toyota Corolla and 2017 Toyota Corolla. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Corolla »

We Did the Research for You: 38 Reviews Analyzed

For our 2018 Toyota Corolla full review, we researched dozens of professional evaluations, along with safety scores, reliability data, and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best buying decision possible.

This Toyota Corolla review uses relevant research and data from all model years of the current generation, which spans the 2014 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking and reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our editorial team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our car reviews are unbiased, we don't accept expensive gifts or incentives from car companies, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Toyota Corolla Cost?

The starting price of a 2018 Corolla ranges from $18,550 for the base Corolla L to $22,730 for the Corolla XSE. For comparison, the least expensive gas-only compact cars start around $16,000, while the most expensive start around $27,000 (hybrid and electric compact cars can start north of $30,000). In other words, while there are other cars in the class that cost less than the Corolla, its price is still reasonable for the class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Corolla Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is a top overall performer in the class, and it's a better car than the Toyota Corolla. The Civic’s standard four-cylinder engine delivers decent power. The optional turbocharged engines feel much more potent, especially in the sporty Si and Type R trims. The Civic also has engaging handling and sharp steering. Though the Corolla's fuel economy is good, the Civic beats it with 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Inside, the Honda's back seats are roomy. There’s also a little more trunk space than in the Corolla. The Civic offers features you can't get in the Corolla, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One of the few areas where the Corolla beats the Civic is predicted reliability, but the Honda's rating is still considered average among all vehicles. With similar starting prices, you get a lot more for your money by choosing the Civic.

Which Is Better: Toyota Corolla or Mazda3?

You might be surprised by how many compact cars get excellent performance scores, but the Mazda3 is still one of the best. It's incredibly fun to drive, and both engine choices provide enough power for most of your needs. Premium materials adorn the cabin, and Mazda's standard infotainment system is easy to use. Both cars have similar base prices, but the Mazda3's top trims cost less than the Corolla’s. Still, you're better off with the Mazda3, especially if you're looking for a sporty, comfortable car that you can drive every day.  

Which Is Better: Toyota Corolla or Toyota Camry?

The Toyota Camry is fully redesigned for 2018, and it debuts right at the top of our midsize car rankings. The Camry has similar safety and predicted reliability ratings to its smaller sibling, but it boasts more interior and cargo space. That jump to a bigger sedan will cost you, though. The Camry’s price starts at almost $5,000 higher than the Corolla’s. Since its redesign, the Camry gets higher performance scores than nearly every other rival in this competitive class. Also, automotive critics tend to give it a stronger recommendation than the Corolla. If you have room in your budget, the Camry is pretty much a no-brainer over the Corolla.

Compare the Corolla, Civic, and Camry »

Corolla Interior

How Many People Does the Corolla Seat?

This Toyota seats five. The standard front seats are roomy, but the available sport seats are a little narrow. Both are comfortable though. The rear seats have enough space to accommodate adults, and there is a lot of legroom.

Corolla and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the Corolla. The tether anchors are easy to find and identify. The lower anchors are set a little deep in the seat but are otherwise usable.

Corolla Interior Quality

The Corolla lags behind many rivals in terms of interior quality. The layout is functional, and the cabin looks nice, but hard plastics abound. There are some soft-touch materials, but not as many as you’ll find in some other compact cars.

Corolla Cargo Space

The Corolla’s 13-cubic-foot trunk is typical for the class. It has enough room for about 10 shopping bags or three sets of golf clubs. The wide trunk opening facilitates cargo loading, and split-folding rear seats give you room for some larger items.

Corolla Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard tech features include Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, a 6.1-inch touch screen for the Entune infotainment system, voice recognition, and Siri Eyes Free. Available features include automatic climate control, a moonroof, a 7-inch Entune touch screen, satellite radio, and navigation. 

The Entune system is user-friendly, and the responsive touch screen has sharp graphics. There are also physical controls for some audio and climate functions. Unlike many compact cars, the Camry doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Corolla Performance

Corolla Engine: It’s Fine but Not Fun

The Corolla’s four-cylinder engine puts out 132 horsepower (140 in Eco models) and 128 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard, and a six-speed manual is available in the SE 6MT. Though it has enough power for daily driving, this engine is sluggish when accelerating. Some class rivals have livelier engines.

Corolla Gas Mileage: Top-Notch Ratings

The Corolla gets 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which are above-average ratings for the class. The Corolla Eco gets excellent ratings for a nonhybrid compact car, earning 30/40 mpg city/highway. The Corolla will cost you about the same each year in gas money as efficient compact cars like the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra.

Corolla Ride and Handling: Capable but Dull

The Corolla is a poor choice for buyers who relish being behind the wheel. It’s perfectly competent in most driving situations, but it’s not athletic or agile. Ride quality is generally fine, but you will notice road imperfections when you drive over them.

Read more about performance »

Corolla Reliability

Is the Toyota Corolla Reliable?

The 2018 Toyota Corolla earns a predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power. That’s an outstanding rating (three is considered average), and it’s one of the highest ratings in the compact car class.

Toyota Corolla Warranty

Toyota backs the Corolla with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Other compact cars have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Corolla Safety

Corolla Crash Test Results

The 2018 Toyota Corolla earns a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, it only earns four out of five stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests. The Corolla earns the highest rating of Good in all five tests at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Also, it was named a 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Corolla Safety Features

Standard active safety features in the Corolla include a rearview camera and Toyota’s Safety Sense-P suite of safety features. That means a pre-collision system, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control are all standard.

Read more about safety »

Which Toyota Corolla Model Is Right for Me?

Choosing a Corolla means choosing between several trims. All feature a four-cylinder engine and come standard with front-wheel drive. All but the SE 6MT come standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Every Corolla delivers good fuel economy, but if you want the best efficiency, you want the LE Eco. That’s a good trim anyway, and it offers a decent number of features. But the best value in the lineup is the Corolla XLE. It costs less than the highest Corolla trim, but it still comes with plenty of comfort and tech features, such as heated seats, that are unavailable in lower trims.

Toyota Corolla L

The Corolla L has a starting price of $18,550. It comes with front-wheel drive, a four-cylinder engine, and a CVT. Standard features include a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, voice recognition, Siri Eyes Free, steering wheel-mounted controls, and an Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen. It also comes with Toyota's Safety Sense suite of advanced safety features. Beyond these standard features, the L trim doesn’t offer any noteworthy options.

Toyota Corolla LE

The Corolla LE has a starting price of $18,985. In addition to the standard features, the LE comes with automatic climate control, keyless entry, and push-button start. The LE Premium Package with Moonroof is available for $1,665. It adds a moonroof, satellite radio, alloy wheels, and an upgraded Entune infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen and navigation.

You can also get the more fuel-efficient LE Eco, which starts at $19,385. It has the same engine, but it puts out 8 more horsepower. The LE Eco also comes with a moonroof.

Toyota Corolla SE

The Corolla SE has a starting price of $20,495. The SE comes with most of the same features as the LE trim, but it adds a few things like 17-inch alloy wheels. You can add the SE Premium package for $1,535. It includes a moonroof, satellite radio, and an upgraded Entune infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen and navigation.

The Corolla SE 6MT starts at $21,715. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission instead of the CVT. It also comes with an upgraded Entune infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and navigation.

Toyota Corolla XLE

The Corolla XLE has a starting price of $21,985. The XLE comes standard with a moonroof, leatherette upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, satellite radio, and an upgraded Entune infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen and navigation.

Toyota Corolla XSE

The Corolla XSE starts at $22,730. The XSE comes with most of the infotainment and active safety features you can get in a Corolla.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2018 Toyota Corolla specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Toyota Corolla is a decent car that will appeal to family sedan shoppers and commuters. It’s more efficient and reliable than many competitors, but it finishes low in our compact car rankings because it doesn’t offer the driving enjoyment or interior quality of many cars in the class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Corolla's cabin is fairly plain and does little to make you think you've bought anything more than a basic small car. It isn't much fun to drive, either, because of its underpowered engine. Factor in a small trunk and poor smartphone integration and you have a car that is difficult to recommend in a class stacked with more desirable choices." -- Edmunds
  •  "The Corolla is spacious but slow, and it's not quite as good to drive as others in the class, some of which offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When interior space and safety tech are more important than class-competitive acceleration and driving fun, the Corolla will still earn its place among those with fond associations of the Toyota brand." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "It all adds up to a tremendous value, and while the Corolla hasn't been equated with excitement for decades, its reliability, low price and predictable driving dynamics keep it not just competitive, but a leader in the compact-sedan market. Okay, it's not as fun to drive as the Mazda3, Ford Focus or even longtime rival Honda Civic. But the Corolla costs less, is exceptionally roomy front and rear, and its 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine makes up in fuel economy what it lacks in horsepower." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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