The Toyota Corolla may be America’s best-selling compact car, but don’t tell rear seat passengers it’s a compact, because Toyota managed to give them the kind of legroom you’d see in a full-size car – 41.4 inches. That’s just one of the many “class above” features that make the Corolla a standout in its segment. The 42-MPG EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the Corolla LE Eco model is yet another.
Those figures put the Corolla at the head of its class in both areas, with the rear legroom giving a 5-6 inch advantage over most competitors, and the top fuel economy encroaches on some diesels. That makes the Corolla pretty special, something Toyota is celebrating with the aptly named Corolla Special Edition for 2016. Toyota will build 8,000 for the model year.
Based on the sporty Corolla S grade with the CVTi-S transmission, the Special Edition adds more driving excitement. Sporty styling features, inside and out, complement a spirited driving experience made possible with steering wheel paddle shifters, rear disc brakes and Sport Driving Mode along with an array of additional standard features.
The 2016 Corolla Special Edition will turn heads as it adds:
- Unique 17-inch alloy wheels with gloss black finish
- Black interior with red contrast stitching
- Red accented dash and door trim
- Smart Key System with pushbutton start
- Three colors: exclusive Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl and Super White
- Special Edition floor mats with logo and unique exterior badge
Toyota’s Entune™ Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite and power tilt/slide moonroof will be available as options.
The 2016 Corolla is equipped with Entune Audio, Entune Audio Plus or Entune Premium Audio and also receives an upgraded 2.5 version of the system, which brings Siri® Eyes Free Mode. And, on the Corolla LE, LE Eco and S models with Entune Audio Plus, Connected Navigation (Scout® GPS Link) is now an option. The App Suite 2.5 adds Slacker Radio for 2016 and replaces Bing with Destination Search.
Joining the Over 40 Crowd
The Toyota Corolla has been top choice for those seeking high fuel economy for five decades – and through numerous fuel crises and spiking gasoline costs. Toyota’s fuel conservation technology has certainly come a long way since. Today’s Corolla LE Eco CVT is the MPG champ of the line, yet it’s also a strong performer with the highest-powered engine in the line, with 140 horsepower vs. 132 in the other models. And its LE trim is the most popular in the line for its comfort and amenities.
The Corolla LE Eco CVT uses a combination of powertrain technology and aerodynamic elements to achieve exemplary fuel economy. Its exclusive version of the 1.8-liter engine features Valvematic technology, which offers a broader range of continuously variable valve timing (lift and phasing) than even the Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) in the standard Corolla 1.8-liter engine.
Toyota programmed some special tricks into the Corolla LE Eco model. Selecting the ECO driving mode reduces power to the air conditioner compressor, although the system runs in recirculation mode to compensate for the longer cool-down time. The accelerator response is programmed to compensate for choppy driving and to contain acceleration from a standing start in order to help reduce fuel consumption.
So, switching to ECO mode not only reduces fuel consumption but also helps makes you a smoother driver. Yet, push the accelerator past 50-percent throttle, such as when merging in traffic, and the engine responds the same as when in Normal mode.
The Corolla LE Eco cheats the wind with aerodynamic underbody covers and a color-keyed rear spoiler, which brings its coefficient of drag (Cd) down to an impressive 0.28 (0.29 and 0.30 in other Corolla models). The under-covers are located below the bumper fascia, engine, front and rear floor and fuel tank to help manage airflow for enhanced efficiency. (The Corolla S model gets these special panels, too).
Special low rolling resistance P195/65R15 tires do their share to reduce fuel usage, and these can be upgraded to larger 205/55R16 tires on very cool looking, aerodynamic alloy wheels. There’s no compromise to comfort, as the Corolla LE Eco comes standard with:
- Automatic climate control
- Entune audio with multimedia bundle, 6.1-inch display screen and six speakers
- Rear camera with projected path guide lines for parking ease
- Tilt/telescopic steering wheel with Bluetooth® hands-free phone controls
There’s also no sacrificing the upgrade path with the Eco model; the available Plus and Premium trims add more amenities, the latter including, for example, SofTex®-trimmed heated front seats and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.
A Smarter CVT
The base model Corolla L continues with a choice of a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Aside from the efficient engines used in the 2016 Corolla line, a key factor in higher fuel economy is the available advanced CVTi-S — Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence, with the “S” added for “Shift.”
The “S” is a key differentiator from competitors’ CVTs. The Toyota CVTi-S feels more like a conventional automatic in operation, with discrete stepped shift points programmed into the car’s acceleration and deceleration curves. The CVTi-S even mimics the familiar characteristics of hydraulic automatics by creating a sense of positive shift engagement. On the Corolla S trim, up to seven shift-points can be manually actuated from the shift lever or steering wheel paddle shifters.
A wide ratio range from 2.480 (low) to 0.396 (high), coupled with a 4.761 final drive ratio, endows Corolla models equipped with the CVTi-S a superbly rounded resume of performance, efficiency and quietness.
If the 41.4 inches of rear legroom draws comparisons to larger cars, the quietness of the Corolla cabin underscores the parallel. The Corolla’s unibody, which makes extensive use of high tensile-strength steel, provides a rigid platform that forms a foundation for tight handling and ride smoothness. Also extensive is the array of measures that keep outside noises out: acoustic glass windshield, floor carpet insulation, an instrument panel seal between the cowl and the windshield, fender insulators and an inner dash silencer pad.
A rigid steering structure enhances the direct feeling coming through the electric power-assist steering system. There’s also no messy hydraulic steering fluid to change or top off. The high-strength structure allows the suspension to be tuned for agility without sacrificing comfort. Spring rates on Corolla are optimized for ride comfort, with the Corolla S getting its own, sportier suspension calibration.
S Stands for Sport
The Corolla S is the sport sedan of the line, and it looks the part with an exclusive piano-black grille, rear spoiler, fog lights and chrome-tipped tailpipe. The Corolla S is available in its own exclusive exterior color, Blue Crush Metallic. Inside, bolstered sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel add proper sport sedan feel. Sport suspension tuning and 16-inch wheels with P205/55R16 tires spice up the driving experience. Springs, dampers and bushings all are unique to the S model.
Driving purists can get a 6-speed manual transmission in the Corolla S, while the available CVTi-S adds a Sport driving mode and features steering wheel paddle shifters to let the driver make fast, sequential shifts through the transmission’s seven predefined steps. Or, use the console shifter to upshift or downshift in the M position. Selecting Sport mode sharpens vehicle responses by altering shift points of the CVTi-S and also providing a livelier feel through the electric power steering programming.
Exclusive to the Corolla S, a 3.5-inch TFT multi-information display within the instrument cluster displays M mode activity, including the “gear” position, and other vehicle data. In either case, the CVTi-S will upshift or downshift on its own if the engine revs too high or too low.
Toyota Value: The Gold Standard
Toyota makes choosing a Corolla easy. The base L model offers renowned Toyota reliability in an affordable package. The standard air conditioning system includes a dust and pollen filter, and this “base” grade hardly seems so with:
- Standard USB and iPod® connectivity
- Bluetooth® for hands-free phone control, phone book access and audio streaming
- A 60/40 split fold-down rear seat
- Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
- Power windows and door locks
- Overhead console with map light
- Entune Audio with multimedia bundle, including a 6.1-inch display screen and six speakers.
All the customer needs to choose is the 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission and pick a color.
The most popular Corolla, the LE, steps up the comfort with:
- Automatic climate control with dust and pollen filter
- Cruise control
- Upgraded interior trim and 3-spoke steering wheel
- Multi-function in-key remote
- Integrated backup camera with projected path guidelines
- Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors
A Plus upgrade option adds fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels, while the LE Premium adds SofTex®-trimmed heated front seats with an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and power tilt/slide moonroof.
High-strength construction sets the foundation for exemplary collision performance in the Corolla which, like all Toyota models, comes equipped with the Star Safety System™. This comprehensive array includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. The Corolla also comes equipped with the Smart Stop Technology brake-override system and an electronic tire pressure monitoring system.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation.
Standard Toyota Care is a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.