Once upon a time, there lived the Toyota Corolla, a frisky little compact car by an eager little Japanese automaker. It wasn’t the fastest thing on wheels, but it was nimble and reliable and one of the best cars in its class. This isn’t a story about that Corolla, but about its great-great-great-(and so on)-grandchild, the 11th generation, 2016 Toyota Corolla S.
The new Corolla is larger than it’s ever been — model year creep has snuck the Corolla into the EPA’s mid-sized sedan designation alongside the current Camry. At about 182 inches long, the 2016 Corolla is 8 inches longer from nose to tail as the 1994 Toyota 4Runner that I learned to drive in!
The 11th generation is also the most aggressively styled model yet with sharply creased sheetmetal and glossy black trim. This ‘Special Edition’ model that I was able to test features sporty, gloss black alloy wheels and contrasting red interior stitching. This is one angry looking compact sedan, but beneath that wolf’s clothing is a rather dull sheep.
The Corolla isn’t an exciting car; it hasn’t been for the many generations. Yet, it manages to maintain a surprising level of success in the face of stiff competition with a long-standing reputation as solidly basic transportation and an old name that’s almost synonymous with simple reliability.