$14,925 - $17,976

2018 Toyota Corolla Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Toyota Corolla was new.


Performance: 6.9

The 2018 Toyota Corolla is less athletic than most rivals. Its engine has enough power for your daily commute, but the acceleration is lackluster. The Corolla's handling ability tells a similar story; there is no reason to complain but also no reason to be impressed. Ride quality is OK, and fuel economy is good.

  • "What Toyota has not changed for 2017 is the Corolla's snooze-worthy driving dynamics. Aside from discontinuing the yester-tech 4-speed automatic in the base L trim level and replacing it with the continuously variable transmission offered in other models, the latest Corolla is the same as it has been for several years." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • Enthusiasts won't find much to like about the 2017 Toyota Corolla, but remove that sliver of the buying populace and you have a car that's inarguably one of the most popular vehicles ever made. It's comfortable, with a ride quality that absorbs bumps without making the car feel like it's wallowing around. … The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder favors fuel economy over acceleration, but at least now it's paired with the continuously variable automatic transmission in all models -- 6-speed manual notwithstanding -- which makes the most of the engine's meager output for respectable acceleration and passing, as long as you're willing to let it rev. At full throttle it gets noisy inside but the rest of the time the Corolla is certainly quiet enough for day-to-day living." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "But keep in mind that if you like cars with quick reflexes and that boost your mood on an open road, the critics aren't wrong. Between its softly tuned suspension, dull steering and 'just-enough' power and speed, the Corolla is a bit of a snooze behind the wheel." -- Edmunds (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Corolla features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower. Corolla Eco models have the same engine, but it produces 140 horsepower. In either setup, the engine is OK for driving around town, but the acceleration lacks urgency. It also gets noisy at higher rpms. The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting continuously variable automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is available in the SE trim.

The base Corolla gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway – good ratings for a compact car. Eco models are even more efficient; they get 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

  • "The Corolla's four-cylinder engine is tried and true but pretty underwhelming. Acceleration is adequate and not much more. The LE Eco's engine adds a few horsepower, but not enough to notice. The CVT has computer-simulated 'shifts' to mitigate the constant rpm drone common to these types of transmissions. That drone can rear its head, however, when you switch into Sport mode." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • When you really need power to get moving, the 2017 Corolla can't deliver, but the car's CVT is plenty responsive and smooth the rest of the time." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • Under part throttle acceleration, the Corolla feels lively enough, but under such conditions you're not trying to get anywhere in a hurry. Optimistically, Toyota provides paddle shifters for the CVT, but they're rather pointless." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Handling and Braking

Like most compact cars, the Corolla comes standard with front-wheel drive. This Toyota’s ride is compliant; bumps and other road imperfections won’t jar you about, but you will notice them. The Corolla’s handling is composed and the steering is accurate, but this car isn’t sporty, and the drive isn’t engaging.

  • Ride comfort is no better than average for a compact car. It isn't overly floppy and bouncy but it transmits bumps like the small car it is. Higher frequency vibrations are especially prominent and it doesn't seem like much effort was put into making it ride like a larger car." -- Edmunds
  • On the road, the Corolla's steering is weighted nicely, but you don't feel as much of the road as you hear from it, at least on the XSE we drove. The SE and XSE trims get a Sport mode, which has a helpful if subtle effect on the transmission's responsiveness. If you want a compact sedan that does more than just look sporty, consider other options." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • The electric steering felt heavier than what's supplied in the LE Eco, too, lending the car a sense of greater stability. The ride tends toward busy, what with the relatively rudimentary rear suspension design and stiffer tuning, and the Corolla XSE doesn't feel as securely affixed to the road as several of its competitors." -- New York Daily News (2017)

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