The 2013 Toyota Corolla is a car that's built for efficiency, practicality, and necessity, and it drives that way.
Even if the Corolla's 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine looks up to snuff on a spec panel, it feels a bit short on power on the highway--particularly with the four-speed automatic, which has widely spaced gears and hesitant responses that can together add drama to highway passes. The five-speed manual is pleasant to use, on the other hand, and helps extract the most from the engine.
Drive the Corolla at a slower pace and it's more in its element, with the automatic transmission shifting smoothly and the engine seemingly in its element in the middle of the rev band.
The way the Corolla's steering and suspension are tuned also suits more relaxed driving; it's quite softly sprung, and the Corolla lacks the handling and ride sophistication that many rivals now have. Roads with tight esses can leave the Corolla feeling short on body control, while the electric power steering is dull and overly light.