Corolla Turns 50

Toyota debuts the 50th Anniversary Edition of its celebrated compact car

BYNina Russin
Toyota’s Corolla, the compact sedan that started the small car revolution in America, turns 50 this year. It remains a car that buyers can’t go wrong with: spacious on the inside but small enough to park in most compact spaces, with 31 MPG average fuel economy.
 
The 50th Anniversary model builds on the LE grade, with standard features including keyless entry and start, satellite radio, LED headlamps, daytime running lamps, rearview backup camera, and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with Siri Eyes Free, which enables drivers to perform Siri commands without looking at the phone. The special edition package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, special exterior paint, interior trim, and badging.
 
A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 132-horsepower and a continuously variable automatic transmission provide good acceleration off the line and in the 20- to 50-mph range. Power at the high end also is effective, allowing the car to comfortably pass slower vehicles at speed.
 
Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and tires enhance high-speed traction, but there is some tire noise at higher speeds. The special edition sedan comes standard with four-wheel disc brakes — an upgrade from rear drums on the standard LE. An independent front and torsion beam rear suspension delivers a comfortable ride. Electric power steering gives the Corolla easy maneuverability through crowded parking lots. Steering response at higher speeds is a bit soft, but quick lane changes are not a problem.
 
A new suite of standard active safety features includes autonomous braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and high beams that automatically dim when a vehicle approaches from the other direction.
 
With its restyled exterior, versatile interior, and reputation for reliability, the newest Toyota Corolla remains one of the best compact sedans on the market.
NINA RUSSIN specializes in reviewing vehicles for buyers with active lifestyles and owns a Jeep Wrangler because, like her, it likes to spend time off the grid.

2017 Toyota Corolla

Vehicle Type: 
Car
Base Price: 
$18,500
Price as Tested: 
$24,497
Fuel Economy: 
28 MPG City
35 MPG Highway
Key Safety Features: 
  • 5-star NHTSA safety rating
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure alert
  • Rearview camera
  • Vehicle stability and traction control
The Good: 
  • Appealing styling
  • Standard active safety technology
  • Excellent fuel economy
The Bad: 
  • Tire noise, most noticeable at highway speeds
  • Soft steering response at higher speeds
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