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#21

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,341 - $13,113
Original MSRP: $15,450 - $20,150
MPG: 26 City / 35 Hwy
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2010 Toyota Corolla Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Part of the Corolla's redesign last year included improvements to the powertrain and chassis, but test drivers report that the car is not as sporty as the high-scoring Honda Civic or Mazda3, nor is it as nimble. Even the top of the line XRS trim is only described as adequate.

  • "In any trim, the 2010 Toyota Corolla's softly sprung ride is perfect for commuting, and wind and road noise are nicely quelled, even at highway speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "With the 1.8-liter engine and automatic transmission, Corolla has enough verve for stress-free driving. Models so equipped have somewhat touchy throttle response from a stop, but merging and passing moves require planning and a deep stab of the throttle." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It's none too sporty to drive. My test car was an XRS, and while I found its performance adequate, it was far from spine-tingling. However, the Corolla XRS felt spunkier than the Matrix XRS (same engine) that I tested a week earlier, maybe because the Corolla is lighter." -- Dallas Morning News

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Toyota Corolla's base engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 132 horsepower -- good enough for those drivers more concerned with gas mileage than power, but not as fun to drive as the top-of-the-line XRS trim's 2.4-liter four- cylinder that makes 148 horsepower. The EPA says the Corolla gets up to 26/35 mpg city/highway with the base engine and the manual transmission. 

  • "The Corolla's base 1.8-liter engine should satisfy most shoppers in the segment, delivering sufficient acceleration and very good fuel economy. The four-speed automatic on non-XRS models works adequately well, but rivals are increasingly offering five-speed automatics." -- Edmunds
  • "XRS has more than adequate power with the manual transmission. Toyota quotes 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds, but it doesn't feel quite that fast. The manaul shifter has long throws and vague clutch action, which are frustrating for both daily commuting and sporty driving." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The Corolla's dynamics are not superior to other small sedans, and by no means sporty, but test drivers say the car is a suitable handler for everyday driving.

  • "An impressive entry-level car, even though its overall competence is overshadowed by particularly unsatisfying steering feel. Maybe buyers won't notice, but the Corolla's new electric power steering has gotten rid of most, if not all, of its feel." -- Car and Driver
  • "All models aim for smooth isolation and mostly achieve it. Bump absorption is among the best in class, and there's little bothersome float or wallow over highway dips and swells. XRS is noticeably firmer than other models, but it's not jarring." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling is on the soggy side, even in ostensibly sporty XRS trim, a natural consequence of the Corolla's compliant suspension tuning. The electric steering is so vague and numb that you might find yourself making repeated corrections simply to keep the car traveling in a straight line." -- Edmunds
  • "It's not sporty, even in sporting iterations. Moderate understeer comes in early and predictably." -- Motor Trend

Next Steps: 2010 Toyota Corolla

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