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2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan

$18,600 - $22,780
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Corolla Sedan

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Review

by Roger Biermann

As one of the best-selling compact sedans on the US market, the Corolla has been around for a few generations - 11 to be precise - although 2018 only has minimal updates to brag about in preparation for the 12th generation sedan. It compares to other popular rivals like the Mazda 3 and Chevrolet Cruze, and fares relatively well against them in practical aspects, delivering everything objectively required from a compact sedan. With superior reliability and safety ratings being a Toyota hallmark, a 2018 Top Safety Pick under its belt from the IIHS, and a spacious, comfortable cabin, it should be all things to all people. Every Corolla finds propulsion from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with between 132 and 140 horsepower on tap, and while a CVT and front-wheel-drive is the order of the day on most models, 2018 sees a six-speed manual available on the SE trim. Long considered an appliance rather than an involving driver's car, the Corolla continues with its legacy of consistency and predictability and will be an ideal compact sedan for starter families, drivers whose focus is on getting through traffic in comfort, or traveling thousands of miles annually.

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 Corolla Sedan?

Although the Corolla is carried over unchanged from the previous year, there are now standard illuminated vanity mirrors across the range, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel on the mid-range XLE and SE models. Originally introduced in 2014, the next year or two should see an all-new Corolla arriving.

Pros and Cons

  • Class-leading reliability
  • Comfortable and spacious interior
  • Excellent value for money
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Bland, unexciting engine
  • Interior not as luxurious as some rivals
  • Automatic transmission tends to lag

Corolla Sedan Exterior

Toyota has been accused of being boring in its designs, and unfortunately, the Corolla is nothing much to write home about. The sedan rides on 15-inch steel wheels as standard and is equipped with Bi-LED headlights that feature integrated daytime running lights. A bold front fascia with piano-black grille on the base model gives a modern look to the vehicle and can be upgraded to a more sporty, mesh-pattern grille on the SE trim. 16-inch wheels are available for mid-range variants, as well as color-coded exterior mirrors and a power tilt-and-slide moonroof. On the LE Eco and SE models, the exterior is enhanced by a rear spoiler, chrome-tipped exhaust outlets, and 17-inch rims.

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Three Quarter Front Left Side View
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Three Quarter Front Left Side View
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Three Quarter Front Left Side View
See All 2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

As a compact sedan, the Corolla weighs in on the lighter side of rivals Mazda 3 and Chevrolet Cruze, with a curb weight of between 2,840 lbs and 2,885 lbs depending on trim. At 183.1 inches in length and 69.9 inches in width, the Corolla is close in size to larger sedans, beneficially giving it increased interior volume. The wheelbase of 106.3 inches and height of 57.3 inches are standard for the segment, and the general stance and stature of the vehicle make it seem larger than it actually is.

Exterior Colors

There are nine color options available for the Corolla, with certain options priced at $395 additionally and only available on certain models - the distinction between available colors per trim level is dealer-specific, with only the Blizzard Pearl option being noted as costing more. The palette, in general, is comprised of Black Sand Pearl, Blue Crush Metallic, Galactic Aqua Mica, Barcelona Red Metallic, Falcon Gray Metallic, Slate Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Super White, and Blizzard Pearl.

  • Super White
  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Slate Metallic
  • Black Sand Pearl
  • Galactic Aqua Mica
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Falcon Gray Metallic
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Blue Crush Metallic

Corolla Sedan Performance

Across the range, the Corolla shares the same 1.8-liter engine that produces 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque in all but one variant: the LE Eco, which is equipped with valvematic technology to reduce fuel consumption while upping the power output to 140 hp. All six trims are paired with an automatic transmission, although a manual variant of the SE model can be had. All engine configurations push power through to the front wheels, with no option for all-wheel drive available. With an engine that has remained unchanged for almost a decade, the Corolla accelerates slower than its rivals and offers very little in terms of exciting engagement; the result is a rather slow sedan for this class. Reaching the 60 mph mark in 10.1 seconds, it is evident that the Corolla was not designed for performance, and instead focuses on comfort. Even the top-performing LE Eco model produces substantially less power than competitors.

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Three Quarter Front Left Side View In Motion
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Rear View
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Engine

Engine and Transmission

A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Corolla range, and is paired to a CVT transmission with intelligent shift mode across the range; one variant is available in a six-speed manual transmission (on the SE trim), although most models share the same power output of 132 hp and 128 lb-ft torque. The LE Eco variant boasts a full eight hp more in terms of power, although torque drops to 126 lb-ft.

Throttle responses for the Corolla are not particularly impressive: acceleration is sluggish and there is no pizazz to the engine, which is decidedly whiny when the accelerator is floored. Even on the so-called SE and XSE 'sport' models, the vehicle is out-performed by most, if not all, rivals in the segment. Where the Corolla excels is in terms of cabin comfort (not to be misinterpreted as luxury), and as such a relatively well-dampened interior makes for minimal road noise inside, although the engine-sound does detract from this experience overall.

  • Engine
    1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

For driver's seeking an engaging or dynamic drive experience, the Corolla simply won't do. While it packs a willing powertrain, the overall ride is docile and compliant. It is by no means unpleasant, and while road bumps and textures don't jar or jostle, they are still felt. It's not incredibly tied down, and the suspension is quite bouncy and prone to body lean, but the Corolla is composed enough to cater to the needs of most, provided you don't expect too much athleticism. The steering is featherlight, making the driver feel slightly out of touch with the road. Grip is also quite average; on the plus side, braking is competent with good responses in general, despite emergency braking being sub-par. In terms of handling, the Corolla surprises with a tight, efficient sense of managing corners and bends. The overall impression improves somewhat with the engagement of Sports mode, where this small sedan tries to be more assertive. In general, the Corolla is fine - not spectacular by any means, and that will do for the easy-going, comfort-oriented driver.

Corolla Sedan Gas Mileage

Once again hitting the median, the Corolla does well in terms of fuel economy, although it does not top the segment. At the entry point to the range, the L and LE models achieve 28/36/32 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The mid-and top-of-the-range trims do slightly worse, with the XSE, SE, and XLE reaching 28/35/31 mpg, which is not terrible in comparison to the compact sedan segment, but certainly below main rivals such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda 3. The most efficient variant is the LE Eco, which attains the more competitive 30/40/34 mpg easily; while this is the more desirable ratio, this trim offers much less in terms of performance, driving, and handling than competitors. Finally, the SE manual transmission proves to be the thirstiest in the range, achieving mpg ratios of 27/35/30 mpg. The average range for the two entry-level models tops out at 422 miles, while the LE Eco boasts a few more miles per tank at 448 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 28/36 mpg
* 2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan L Sedan CVT

Corolla Sedan Interior

The Corolla interior has both brilliant strengths and some unfortunate weaknesses which lead to a rather average overall rating. The cabin is exceptionally spacious and roomy, beating out competitors in this segment with ease, and even giving some mid-size sedans a run for their money. Similarly, seating is comfortable and provides for ample head and legroom room; the SE trim boasts sport seats which are comfortable and very supportive. The cloth center panels in the seats provide for breathability in high-quality upholstery. Together with efficient climate control and an easy-to-use infotainment system, long road-trips in this vehicle should be very pleasant. For the driver, the cockpit has a familiar, straight-forward and user-friendly layout which is uncluttered and uncomplicated. While the seats, infotainment and steering wheel feel premium, sadly, the remainder of the cabin is less luxurious. Hard plastics abound and make the other-wise brilliant interior seem cheap in comparison.

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Infotainment System
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Infotainment System
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Driver Seat
See All 2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

As a compact sedan, the Corolla provides seating for five passengers in a generously spaced cabin. In the front seat, shoulder room and headroom are good, with taller drivers easily accommodated. Seating can be a little narrow for larger occupants, but are otherwise supportive and can be power-adjusted up to eight-ways, dependent on trim level. Seating is heated on the upper-trim levels and ranges between high-quality cloth, cloth and leatherette combinations, and full leatherette trim on the top-spec model. The driver's visibility is superb due to large windows, slender pillars and well-placed headrests in the rear. The rear seat is the real winner, with class-leading legroom (a good five inches more than in the Cruze and Mazda 3) and ample space for even six-foot passengers. A third adult would fit in the middle rear seat, thanks to a flat floor panel that increases foto space, although long-trips could become uncomfortable quite quickly due to the middle seat being flat and less supportive. A full set of LATCH child-seat restraints are also included.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Entry-level models L and LE (including LE Eco) are released with premium fabric seating in Steel Gray on the base model, and Ash, Black or Almond on the LE variants. The SE boasts leatherette seating with premium cloth inserts in Black, Orange Zest or Vivid Blue, while the XLE comes standard with Black leatherette. The top-end XSE boast full leatherette seating throughout, with contrast stitching. Although the steering wheel is also leather-wrapped, the dashboard and door panels offer mostly hard-touch plastics, which detract from the otherwise lovely cabin.

Corolla Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

Cargo space isn't the primary objective in a compact sedan, although some rivals in this segment do offer better utility options. The Corolla has a wide trunk opening and split-folding rear seats in 60/40 configuration, but at only 13 cubic feet of trunk volume in total, is on the less impressive side. The rear seats do not fold flat, and the step-up from the trunk floor makes loading larger items tricky, although two medium-sized suitcases should fit in. LATCH child seat restraints are relatively easily accessible, and thanks to the ample space in the rear, installation is quite easy. In terms of small-item storage, the Corolla ranks quite average: there is a small item tray near the gear shifter and a mid-sized armrest bin. The glovebox is average in size, although from the LE trim and up, there are additional seat-back pockets behind the driver and front passenger seat. Slim door pockets can hold keys and perhaps a smartphone, as well as a water bottle at the very least.

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Second Row Seat Folded
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Second Row Seat Folded
  • Trunk Volume
    13 ft³

Corolla Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

The base model Corolla L comes standard with an integrated backup camera featuring projected path indicators, as well as dynamic radar cruise control. Lane departure alert and steering assist form part of the included driver aids, as well as having the Toyota Safety Sense Pre-Collision system as standard. This system is comprised of pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and eight air-bags. The standard manual climate control is upgraded to automatic on the LE trim, and smart keyless entry with push-button start is added from the XLE variant, together with heated front seats. The SE model boasts a Sport and Normal driving mode, while the LE Eco offers an Eco drive mode.

Infotainment

A 6.1-inch touchscreen offers high-resolution graphics and is the hub for the infotainment system, which - on the base model - comes standard with AM/FM radio, CD player, MP3 compatibility with USB/Aux input and voice recognition. Six-speakers are included, and music can be streamed via Bluetooth to produce relatively good sound quality. Although hands-free phone usage can be secured by means of downloading the Toyota Entune app, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto are sorely missed. The infotainment system functions well and is easy-to-use, offering Siri Eyes Free through a paired phone as well. On the XLE trim, a 4.2-inch multi-info display is added for the display of temperature, fuel economy and trip information. The SE model boasts a unique Sport Information cluster.

Corolla Sedan Problems and Reliability

Building on the reputation Toyota has garnered for reliability, the Corolla brand has become synonymous with trustworthiness, which is one of the reasons this vehicle remains so popular. According to the JD Power Predicted Reliability rating, this sedan scores 4.5 out of 5 points, noted as being "better than most" and leaning towards being "among the best". No recalls have been issued for the 2018 model year, although one investigation was launched in relation to potential Airbag ACU electrical overstress. Furthermore, the manufacturer offers a three-year/36,000 mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and two-years/unlimited miles roadside assistance. Featuring in the top-ranked compact sedans for this segment, this is where the Corolla truly shines.

Corolla Sedan Safety

From the most basic model, the Corolla is equipped with Bi-LED headlights, integrated backup camera, cruise control, and lane departure alert as part of the Toyota Safety Sense Pre-Collision system. Further included in this system is steering assist, automatic high beams, and pedestrian detection, as well as a full-house of eight airbags. Brake assist and electronic stability control are also included and round out a range where safety features and driver assists are not excluded based on the pricing structure.

Key Safety Features

From the most basic model, the Corolla is equipped with Bi-LED headlights, integrated backup camera, cruise control, and lane departure alert as part of the Toyota Safety Sense Pre-Collision system. Further included in this system is steering assist, automatic high beams, and pedestrian detection, as well as a full-house of eight airbags. Brake assist and electronic stability control are also included and round out a range where safety features and driver assists are not excluded based on the pricing structure.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan a good car?

Where the Corolla lacks in terms of performance and an exciting driving experience, it certainly makes up for in terms of comfort and reliability. With a roomy cabin, spacious rear seat and generally pleasant ride, the Corolla is outperformed by rivals boasting more enthusiastic engines and a sportier, more athletic sensation on the road. However, it promises excellent reliability with high-scoring safety ratings indicative of a class-leading family sedan. However, for the buyer wanting a more thrilling experience with more horsepower and pizazz, as well as a more luxury-oriented cabin, the Corolla may simply not measure up. For the buyer focused on a smooth, uncomplicated and dependable vehicle, the Corolla is ideal, offers great value-for-money and will dutifully take you through the daily grind.

What's the Price of the 2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan?

The entry-level Corolla L retails with an MSRP of $18,600, which is within a few hundred dollars of the price range of closest rivals Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda 3. The LE trims have a starting price of $19,035 with an additional $400 added for the Eco variant. The Sport model SE costs $20,545 in the CVT configurations, while the six-speed manual is priced at $21,765. The two top-end Corollas have MSRP's of $22,035 for the XLE and $22,780 for the full-loaded XSE. A destination fee of $920 must be added to all of the above-listed prices for a total figure.

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Models

What is essentially a five-model range can be summarised into seven base models due to the inclusion of the Eco version of the LE trim, as well as the six-speed manual variant of the SE. All vehicles share the same 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine.

The base model Corolla L features 15-inch steel wheels, Bi-LED headlights with daytime running lights and a bold front fascia. The Toyota Safety Sense pre-collision package is included from this model upwards, equipping eight airbags and various driver aids. Fabric seats are standard and a basic six-speaker sound system with Entune Audio head up the infotainment system.

Two versions of the LE model exist, built on the basic LE trim which adds to the specs from the L model. Wheels are upgraded to 16 inches, and exterior mirrors become color-coded and heated; automatic climate control, premium cloth upholstery, unique instrumentation cluster, and metallic interior trim are also equipped. On the LE Eco variant, a rear spoiler is added, while the 15-inch wheels from the L trim are retained. Engine and suspension tuning maximize fuel efficiency on this model.

The SE model follows and can be had with either the CVT or manual transmission. Whereas the standard SE is equipped with leatherette seats with fabric inserts, Normal and Sport driving modes, and a sports instrumentation cluster, the SE MT (manual variant) adds a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, and swaps out the transmission for a six-speed manual by means of adding the Premium package, which must be additionally purchased on the CVT version of the SE.

The XLE trim features 16-inch machined alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights integrated into the front bumper and adds the moonroof as standard. Additionally, the XLE offers navigation, satellite radio, keyless entry, and push-button start together with heated front seats (in full leatherette upholstery).

At the top of the range is the XSE model which builds on the features present on the SE trim, and adds the moonroof with sliding sunshade as standard, full-leatherette seating, heated front seats, and smart keyless entry.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
L
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$18,600
LE
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,035
LE ECO
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,435
SE
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$20,545
SE 6MT
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
$21,765
See All 2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Packages that are available on the Corolla are unique to the model or trim level selected. The base model does not have any optional bundles to add, although the LE trims have the option of adding the Premium package at a cost of $1,215. This provides for navigation, 16-inch wheels with 15-spokes and LED daytime running lights integrated into the bumper. A second package available costs $1,665 and further adds a power tilt-and-slide moonroof to the features in the Premium bundle.

On the XLE trim, an Entune Premium App, audio and navigation package can be purchased for an additional $525 and incorporates the navigation systems of the Entune App. This package is also relevant to the XSE trim.

Lastly, the Premium package for the SE model is available at a price of $1,535 and subsequently equips the vehicle with navigation, keyless entry for the front doors and trunk as well as push-button start. This also adds a moonroof with sliding sunshade.

What Toyota Corolla Sedan Model Should I Buy?

Two models are worth noting when deciding on a Corolla. The LE Eco trim has impressive fuel efficiency as well as increased horsepower and comes loaded with standard features as well as a rear spoiler, although it is worth mentioning that there aren't additional packages available on this trim. Alternatively, the SE provides a more engaging drive by means of the Sport drive mode selector, and the option to have a six-speed manual transmission. With the automatic transmission's tendency to lag and be a little lethargic, the SE MT makes for a good choice for those who want a sportier drive. We recommend the standard SE for those die-hard Toyota fans who are after a vehicle with excellent reliability and a good range of standard features; it offers a value-for-money sedan with the benefits of a moonroof, sport fascias, and signature 17-inch wheels.

Check out other Toyota Corolla Styles?

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan Comparisons

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan
2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs Chevrolet Cruze Sedan

The Chevrolet Cruze offers a bit more in terms of performance; an available diesel engine, as well as the optional manual transmission models also make for a more engaging experience for the driver, whereas the Corolla range provides only one manual variant. The 1.4-liter engine on the Cruze also produces more horsepower than what the Corolla manages, and has navigation as a standard feature on the entry-level trim. Despite this, the Corolla remains the better vehicle in terms of higher safety ratings, a quieter cabin, more comfortable seating, and a more spacious interior. Both vehicles share similar fuel economy ratings, and were rated neck-and-neck in the Initial Quality Study from JD Power and Associates for 2018 - however, the Corolla remains the winner in terms of predicted reliability and overall value-for-money.

See Chevrolet Cruze Sedan Review

2018 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs Mazda 3 Sedan

At the outset, the Mazda 3 sedan offers a much sportier-looking alternative to the Corolla, and this filters through in terms of performance as well. The Mazda has more powerful engine options and combined with better handling and driving experience ranks higher in terms of performance. The ride quality in the Mazda is notably better as well, and with some unique and class-leading features, the more elegant and technologically-advanced Mazda interior clearly beats that which the Corolla has to offer. Although the Corolla has the benefit of its reputation for reliability, as well as having a more comprehensive safety system as standard, the Mazda doesn't fall short by much. While the Corolla has the more spacious and comfortable cabin, the Mazda is the clear winner on all other fronts.

See Mazda 3 Sedan Review

Toyota Corolla Sedan Popular Comparisons

2018 Toyota Corolla Video Reviews