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The Toyota Corolla has been the go-to choice for economical and reliable transportation for over 50 years. The 2023 Corolla continues that tradition in hatchback, hybrid, Corolla Cross SUV, and in the case of this review, the sedan.
For 2023, the Corolla received a rather significant update, with a new infotainment system, improved driver-assist features, and minor styling revisions. The Corolla lineup has also been pared back to only the LE, SE, and XSE trims, all of which get last year’s more powerful engine upgrade, a 169-horsepower four-cylinder. The manual transmission option has been dropped, though.
The Corolla justifiably leans heavily on its reputation for reliability, but it’s not what we consider the overall best in its class. Contemporary rivals such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Mazda 3 have it squarely beat in a number of areas by being more powerful, comfortable, or practical. Some also meet or beat the Corolla in terms of fuel economy, too.
Front Wheel Drive (2WD)
F 42"/R 34.8"
F 38.3"/R 37.1"
Fuel-efficient: The base LE trim has an EPA-estimated 32 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 35 mpg in combined driving.
Comfortable ride: Small economy cars often suffer from a rough ride due to their short wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) as well as cost-saving measures that don’t allow for more advanced suspension components. The Corolla, though, manages to deliver a pleasantly smooth ride even when it's driving over rougher road surfaces. As a result, both commuting and road trips should be more enjoyable.
Intuitive controls: The Corolla’s simple dashboard layout and design makes its many features intuitive and easy to use. They’re all well placed within reach, clearly labeled, and logically grouped, so you’ll likely never have to consult the owner’s manual. We like that there are plenty of buttons to control the many systems without having to use the more distracting touchscreen.
Slow acceleration: With only 169 horsepower being channeled through a rather lifeless continuously variable transmission, the Corolla needs 8.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. The Honda Civic’s base engine is a fraction of a second quicker, while the available turbocharged upgrade gets it there in 7.9 seconds. The Mazda 3 is a relative rocket, with the base model reaching 60 mph in 8.3 seconds and the turbo in only 6.1 seconds. The Corolla isn’t the slowest, though, as the base Hyundai Elantra needs 9.4 seconds.
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RepairPal gave the Toyota Corolla an overall reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota Corolla 1st out of 44 among Compact Cars.
RepairPal reports that the average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Toyota Corolla is $331, compared to an average of $482 for Compact Cars and $619 for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.
According to RepairPal, Toyota Corolla owners bring their vehicles into a repair shop for unscheduled repairs an average of 0.6 times per year, compared to an average of 1.0 times for Compact Cars and 1.4 times for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.
RepairPal reported that the probability of a repair being a severe or major issue is 5% for the Toyota Corolla, compared to an average of 10% for Compact Cars and 12% for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.