Thursday, October 29, 2015

Corolla says it all, in a good way

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California ­– There have been many sports superstars who were instantly known by a single name.

A couple come to mind: Tiger in golf.  Shaq in pro basketball.

And so it is with cars.  There are some vehicles that have been around so long, are so reliable or so iconic that a one-word mention says it all.

The Camry is certainly in that group.  Mustang and Camaro, of course.  And for today’s review, Corolla.

Yes, the monster-selling Corolla is in the one-word-only crowd, and rightly so. Over the years, I’ve seen numerous conversations like the following:

“Hey Joe, Cindy is going off to college soon.  What’s she gonna drive?”

JOE: “Got her a Corolla.”

Yup, say no more.  The Corolla has built a sterling reputation because it tends to run trouble-free forever, is nicely equipped for an economical price and has safe/sane performance characteristics that make it more likely to stay out of harm’s way.

And there’s this: It an easy, enjoyable daily driver.

This is not rocket science, but I appreciated Corolla’s brilliant simplicity again recently with a week in the 2015 Toyota Corolla S Premium, wearing an easy-on-the-eyes $24,659 on the bottom line of the sticker.

My ride had just a few extras to boost the $22,905 starting price, but what caught my eye was its standard appearance.  The tester looked saucy and bossy in “Blue Crush Metallic” paint and 17-inch alloy wheels that looked ready for a round of street racing.

Maybe the sporty look explains why the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine linked to a seamless, continuously variable transmission seemed so much stronger than the advertised 132 horsepower.  My tester was peppy in most situations, particularly in accelerations from a standing start.  It won’t blow off a Porsche, but I did not expect miracles for this affordable price.

Fuel mileage does blow most away.  The tester came in at 29 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the open road – definitely numbers you can live with if you want a reliable sedan that won’t cut deeply into your monthly gasoline budget.

The tested Corolla also was awash in safety/convenience features, and lest you think it’s cheap, standard perks included a power tilt/slide moonroof.  Four-wheel disc brakes also were a plus.

I could go on and on, but this long-established model needs no further praise.  It has had sales and star power for a long time: Corolla.

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