2010 Toyota Corolla Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
September 26, 2009

The 2010 Toyota Corolla has two different personalities: a bare-basic entry-level model and the sporty—but pricey—Corolla XRS.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the 2010 Toyota Corolla to give you plenty of details and firsthand observations, and to compare it with other cars in its class. The car experts at TheCarConnection.com have also studied the latest road tests of the new 2010 Toyota Corolla to compile this conclusive review.

The 2010 Toyota Corolla is a car with two different personalities: There’s the base model for budget-conscious buyers and the sporty Corolla XRS for those after a little flair. Comparing both models with their prime rival, the Honda Civic, the base Corolla falls a little short in the performance and styling departments. The XRS does a better job, especially when it comes to power and handling, but loses out to the competition on price.

While the current Corolla is much more attractive than previous generations, one of the car’s biggest drawbacks remains its inability to excite the visual senses. The Corolla lacks the sporty and modern panache of many of its rivals, but this may be ideal for those who don’t want to stand out from the crowd.

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Inside, base Corollas can feel a little cheap, but moving up to the LE adds features such as power windows, while the XLE gets wood grain trim. The XRS range-topper adds some leather trim and comfy sports bucket seats.

The base 2010 Toyota Corolla and the better-equipped LE and XLE editions continue in 2010 with a standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder mill developing 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cobalt, the Toyota is slightly down on power; however, fuel economy for either the standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic is impressive, with an EPA rating of 27 mpg city, 35 highway. The Honda Civic, by comparison, gets 26 mpg city, 34 highway.

Upgrade to the premium XRS model and you get a 2.4-liter four-banger with 158 horsepower on tap. This engine is happy to rev, and a sweet shifting six-speed automatic is available as an option. When matched with the standard five-speed manual, the Corolla XRS will sprint from 0-60 mph in around eight seconds—not exactly scintillating performance but enough to raise the heart rate. Fuel economy is hardly impressive, at 22/30 mpg.

The 2010 Toyota Corolla features a fully independent suspension system, but with the lackluster power output from the base 1.8-liter engine, performance remains dull. Moving up to the Corolla XRS adds rear disc brakes and a tighter feel, but the electric power steering still lacks adequate feedback.

Safety is the Corolla’s strong suit, with anti-lock brakes, tire-pressure monitors, active headrests, and front, side, and curtain airbags all standard. Stability and traction control are now standard across the range as well.

The 2010 Toyota Corolla comes well equipped, with standard air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and CD player. Optional features include a navigation system and XM Satellite Radio—rare features in this segment. However, it still misses out on power windows or power locks in the base model.

There has been no price increase for the 2010 model year Corolla, despite the addition of electronic stability and traction control as standard across the range. Pricing kicks off at $15,350 for the standard sedan with a five-speed transmission and goes up to $20,050 for the sporty XRS with a five-speed automatic transmission.

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