2019 Toyota Corolla XLE: Benchmark compact sedan is still a top Buy!

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The Corolla is Toyota’s venerable compact sedan (Now available as a hatchback also). First launched in 1966, the Toyota Corolla has become more refined and sophisticated over the years. With its simple, robust design, and incredible reliability, the Corolla has consistently delivered a cheap to maintain and run family car for decades. Over the years its shape had changed, along with its engineering and technology to keep up with the times – seeing off many rivals and besting others in its class that have been discontinued. I am sure, that in the future, when all cars will be either all electric or hydrogen powered, the Corolla will still be around ins some shape and form!

To their credit, Toyota have done a bang up job with the styling in recent years, it’s nice, stylish, but not overdone with a confident swagger that belies its egalitarian roots. The interior is also a smart, modern looking affair. In terms of the 2020 Corolla lineup, the L6M  starts from $18,990 and offers: a 1.8L Valvematic Engine, six speed manual transmission or optional CVT (continuously variable transmission), Toyota Connected Services with 7” Display LED Taillights 15” Steel Wheels with Cover Toyota Safety Sense 2.0  and a Backup Camera. Siri Eyes is standard and just requires a compatible iPhone.

The Corolla LE is priced at $21,790 with the CVT automatic. The CE features 16 inch steel wheels, Toyota Connected Services with the 8 inch display, Blind Spot monitor, and auto AC, Heated front seats are available in an upgrade package. The SE at $22,290 has the wonderfully named 1.8 liter “Dynamic Force” engine, 16 inch alloys. Duel exhaust tips, Toyota connected services with 8-inch display. Next up is a Corolla hybrid model priced from $24,790 with the 1.8 synergy drive hybrid engine, TSS 2.0, Blind spot monitor and automatic AC.

The XLE package added to the Corolla priced from $26,990 was our test vehicle. The XLE ups the ante with: a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, raised stitching details,  satellite radio, navigation, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, Softex Leather seats, proximity keyless entry with push-button start, auto-dimming rear view mirror with garage door opener, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The most expensive Corolla you can buy is the XSE, which lists at $28,490 which can only be had with the CVT and has all the same features as the XLE, plus a few others

The Corollas’ interior space is impressive for such a compact car. Headroom up front is good along with driver and passenger space. The XLE’s leather wrapped steering wheel with its controls for audio, phone, and trip computer and more is a nice touch. Everything is neat, logical and not garish looking with some nice metal trim. I particularly liked the touchscreen’s large home screen icons and haptic button features. Toyota does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but using Bluetooth, you can still make calls or listen to your music. The rear seat are comfortable and there is enough room for two large sized adults or three kids. The trunk offers 368 litres of cargo space.

On the road, the engine and transmission are up to the task with good throttle response of the line. The light weight, advanced engineering means the Corolla has brisk, well-bred road manners and the XLE felt willing all the time. Yes, additional power would be nice for more top end torque, but nothing major here in terms of everyday driving. The tuned suspension is taut, offering minimal body roll, while the responsive steering offers fairly agile handling. The Corolla is not a balls out fast sedan, or is it a consummate corner carver, but that’s not why it has eager buyers. It is easy to drive, easy to manoeuvre and park, and so is an ideal all round family car.

Downside are few, bad roads give the Corolla a bumpy ride and there is an absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability that will hopefully be rectified. Where the Corolla shines is in the overall value and usability factor, not in all out performance or with too much “fluff.”  It is also well packaged, arriving well equipped with a la many Safety and convenience features. The mid to higher range models such the our XLE really ante up the comfort and convenience factors and are well worth considering if you plan to keep your Corolla for a long time. The 2019 Toyota Corolla is still an exceptional care in its segment, and will give years of service, reliability and good resale value. Highly recommended for value conscious car buyers everywhere. 2019 Toyota Corolla: Priced from $18,990 – $28,490. XLE Model as tested priced at $28,766. Website www.toyota.ca