Thursday, February 16, 2017

Upgraded Corolla remains midsize sedan superstar

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

Sacramento, California – Now hear this: The monster-selling Toyota Corolla gets a major reworking for the 2017 model year.

What better way to celebrate 50 years on the market?  Since its 1966 debut, more than 43 million Corollas have been sold.

The 2017 restyling, additions and tweaks only enhance what has made the Corolla so popular for so many years: An affordable, generously equipped, safe sedan priced within range of most personal and household budgets.

What’s not to like?

My tester was the sporty-looking Corolla XSE with an easy-on-the-eyes bottom line of $23,545 on the sticker.

That price gets you standard goodies that include a power tilt/slide moonroof, a rear spoiler, heated front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, disc brakes on front and rear, a multimedia package with Siri eyes-free command capability, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and much more.

My tester also had a continuously variable transmission and a sport drive mode.

The most obvious change for 2017 is the new, race car-worthy front grille spiced up with LED headlamps.  It might be over-the-top for some.  Not for me.

Power comes from a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing and intelligence.  At 132 horsepower, it’s not going to snap your neck, but the power plant is responsive and more than adequate for most road situations.

And the four-cylinder engine dishes up an additional bonus: exceptional fuel mileage ratings of 28 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

The 2017 Corolla’s safety package is extensive and includes an intelligent pre-collision system, enhanced braking features and a lane-departure alert.  That’s the short list.  Combined, they make it difficult for even the most careless driver to screw it up.

The Corolla has been around for so long that I believe its mass appeal sometimes gets swallowed up in the blizzard of auto offerings that are new and shiny.  That’s the auto-selling game of course, but buyers seem to understand that few, if any, practical sedans have as much to offer as the Corolla.

How else to explain the long-standing, superior sales numbers? And yes, the Corolla remains the most popular midsize sedan sold in the United States.

This latest Corolla does nothing to take away from that storied history.  It actually adds to it.

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