To make a successful vehicle you have to do something right. To make the best-selling vehicle in the history of vehicles, you have to pretty much do it all right, year after year, for 35 years. Or you could just copy the 2011 Corolla. Whatever’s easier.
2011 sees the best-selling Corolla lineup undergo a little trimming and a lot of refinement. Toyota has simplified the model range, leaving drivers with a choice of three versatile and dynamic four-doors: the Corolla, the upgraded Corolla LE and the sporty Corolla S. Well equipped, a Corolla features a starting MSRP of just $15,900, less than competing models from Honda, Nissan and Chevy. Looks like that’s one thing Toyota did right.
But the list doesn’t stop there. 2011 sees a nicely refreshed, sleeker exterior, complete with a number of useful amenities. Corollas get 15-inch wheels, halogen headlamps and power mirrors standard, and LEs add optional fog lamps and a power sunroof. Toyota’s top-level S trims upgrade the Corolla with a sporty body kit, 16-inch, five-spoke alloys, a rear spoiler, chrome-tipped exhaust and sleek S badging.
Across the lineup, the 2011 Corolla gets a 1.8-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine, which makes 132 hp and 128 lb/ft of torque through either a five-speed manual or available four-speed automatic transmission. The Corolla’s four utilizes variable valve timing to deliver up to an EPA estimated 35 highway mpg. Electric power steering and an independent MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension setup gives the newest Corolla impressively nimble handling and a noticeably soft ride.
Every model comes standard with a set of power assisted, ventilated antilock brakes, along with advanced electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist for exceptional stopping power. 2011 also greets the new Corolla with Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which combines the four-door’s intuitive braking systems, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and Smart Stop Technology (automatically reduces engine power should the brake and accelerator pedals be pressed simultaneously) under one umbrella.
Inside the vehicle’s spacious cabin, Corolla and Corolla LE’s get attractive instruments and a coating of soft fabric (S trims are outfitted with a special Sport fabric, sport gauges and metallic trim). Seating is uncommonly comfortable, with ample room for five, along with a wide and accommodating trunk (with 12.3 cubic feet of space). Corolla models are nicely equipped with a four-speaker CD stereo and auxiliary audio jack, though higher trims upgrade to an optional six-speaker premium audio system with a USB port, iPod connectivity and Bluetooth wireless communication.
Beyond its Star Safety System, Toyota’s newest integrates a number of standard safety measures across the board, including daytime running lights, a tire-pressure monitor and front, side and side curtain airbags. The Corolla’s body itself is reinforced with high tensile-strength steel panels, side-impact door beams, energy-absorbing crumple zones and a head-impact protection structure.
Toyota’s best-seller makes doing it all look easy. With sleek style, spirited performance and impressive interior features, the 2011 Toyota Corolla is poised to continue its reign as the world’s most popular vehicle.