Every Corolla is powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine and featuring variable valve timing. In the L, LE and S, the engine produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, while in the LE Eco, Valvematic technology bumps output slightly to 140 horsepower. A continuously variable transaxle (CVT) is the standard fare for most Corolla models, but a 6-speed manual is optional on the SE trim.
All Corollas are easy on fuel. The LE with the Eco package is the champ, returning 34 combined MPG and an impressive 40 mpg on the highway. At the other end, the SE with the 6-speed manual transmission still manages a solid 30 mpg combined.
Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard, though SE and XSE trims upgrade to rear discs. Suspension is handled through independent MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in the rear.
Standard equipment on the entry-level Corolla L includes a 6-inch touch-screen stereo with Bluetooth and USB. Air conditioning, cruise control, power mirrors and windows, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The Corolla LE trim and higher add variable intermittent wipers, keyless entry, automatic climate control, upgraded cruise control with distance pacing and a backup camera.
Upgrading to the SE models offer sportier appointments, with chrome exhaust, 17" alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport bucket seats and a rear lip spoiler.
XLE Corollas offer 16" alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, an upgraded stereo featuring a 7" touch-screen interface, integrated navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio, heated front seats, Smart Key proximity entry and Toyota's SofTex seat fabric.
XSE Corollas have the 17" wheels, lip spoiler, the upgraded stereo, heated seats, smart key, a sunroof and a power driver's seat.
The Eco package, in addition to the Valvematic-enhanced engine, adds a rear spoiler. The Eco Plus adds an Eco Drive mode that modifies engine response and manages the air conditioning for even better fuel economy.
Toyota's pushing a standard safety package that is remarkable in cars at this price. All Corollas come standard with eight airbags, a lane-departure alert that will intervene to keep the Corolla in its lane, stability control, front collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Stability control and anti-lock brakes are, of course, standard as well.