By Rick Popely on November 4, 2013
A redesigned Corolla sedan hit the market this fall with larger dimensions, edgier styling and higher fuel economy estimates.
The front-drive Corolla competes in the crowded compact car segment against the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra and others.
Toyota retained the previous Corolla trim levels, including a base L, upscale LE (the most popular version) and sportier S, and it added a higher-mileage LE Eco that includes an Eco driving mode that limits acceleration and air conditioning use to improve fuel economy.
In addition, all models except the L are available in Plus and Premium trim levels.
Here is how the various trims break out, with all prices including an $810 destination charge:
Basics: A 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual transmission; power mirrors and windows; a 60/40 split, folding rear seatback; rear drum brakes; and 15-inch steel wheels are standard on the base Corolla.
Interior & Tech: LED low-beam headlights (with halogen high beams) and LED running lights are standard, along with Bluetooth and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port and iPod connectivity.
Miscellaneous: Manual air conditioning and eight air bags are standard. Options: As the base model, the L's only options are a four-speed automatic transmission and a choice of four exterior colors (white, silver, slate and black). You can get the interior any color you want, as long as it's gray.
Basics: Upgrades from the L include a standard continuously variable automatic transmission, 16-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, cruise control and power locks with remote entry.
Interior & Tech: The LE adds the Entune audio system with voice control, six speakers, a 6.1-inch touch-screen and a backup camera. Interior trim moves upscale with piano black trim for the center stack, chrome door handles and metallic accents.
Miscellaneous: Automatic climate control with push buttons replaces the L's manual air conditioning with rotary dials.
Options: No options are available for the base LE, but the LE Plus trim includes alloy wheels, and the LE Premium adds to that with simulated leather upholstery and heated front seats. A smart key, navigation system and sunroof are optional on the Plus and Premium.
Basics: The S gives the Corolla a sportier look with chrome grille accents and a black insert, fog lights, body-color heated mirrors, a rear spoiler and a chrome-tipped exhaust. It retains 16-inch steel wheels but has different wheel covers than the LE.
Interior & Tech: Sport seats, a full instrument cluster with a trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and piano black dashboard trim give the S a unique interior appearance.
Miscellaneous: S models with the CVT gain a Sport shift mode.
Options: The S Plus is available with a six-speed manual transmission or the CVT. The Plus also gets standard fog lights, rear disc brakes and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Premium comes only with the CVT, as well as the 17-inch alloys and standard heated, power front seats. A smart key, navigation system and sunroof are optional on the Plus and Premium.
Basics: Though it's the most efficient Corolla with EPA ratings of 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway, the LE Eco also is the most potent with 140 hp (the others have 132). The engine teams with a CVT, and the LE Eco has standard 15-inch steel wheels.
Interior & Tech: The Eco has the same interior features as regular LE models. Miscellaneous: In addition to exterior badges, the Eco has chrome beltline trim to distinguish it from other models.
Options: No options are available for the base LE Eco. The LE Eco Plus includes 16-inch alloy wheels and an Eco switch that boosts fuel economy. A smart key, navigation system and sunroof are optional on the Plus. The LE Eco Premium adds to the Plus features with simulated leather upholstery and heated front seats and has the same available options.
Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick