The Toyota Corolla is one of those uninspiring vehicles that is relatively nondescript.
But it is also incredibly reliable, has excellent trunk space, contains a lot of standard safety features and is reasonably priced.
It’s easy to see why Toyota sells a lot of them.
It’s also easy to see why Toyota is about ready to give this compact sedan a reboot.
Previously we’ve driven the all-new Corolla Hatchback, which is a spiffy little vehicle with eye-catching design and a plethora of nice standard features.
Plus, we know the new Corolla sedan is coming in 2020.
So, why drive the 2019 Corolla when it’s already a lame duck?
I view it as more of a last look, a reminder of all the good stuff this vehicle already has and a promise of more good things to come.
The Corolla comes equipped with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque.
This is the right amount of power for the small sedan. Both off-the-line starts and passing maneuvers can be performed with a decent amount of pep, and due to its compact size, it can zip around traffic fairly well in both city and highway driving.
The 2020 Corolla will carry this engine over, but the up-level 2.0-liter engine that we see on the Hatchback will be available in the sporty SE and XSE trims.
Ride and handling is a bit rough, but about what you’d expect for a vehicle on the entry-level side of the spectrum.
It’s also worth noting that ambient and engine noise both creep noticeably into the cabin when you have the radio off.
Inside, the car is plain and simple. The center stack is intuitively designed and all the buttons and dials area easy to reach.
The only flair on the test vehicle was the bright blue piping on the sport seats that come as a part of the SE trim.
Otherwise the interior of the Corolla is functional and a full of plastic.
The exterior design is equally OK. The taillights and side profile blend into the crowd.
But the best part of the design is from the front wheels forward – the slope of the nose, the wide-mouthed grille and the strong horizontal lines add some great visual interest.
The biggest selling point for the Corolla, however, has to be the standard Toyota Safety Sense, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams.
Corolla has five available trims for 2019:
As an interesting aside, the only trim available with a manual transmission is the SE, and it’s considered a premium feature with an added $1,220 to the price.
The test vehicle was an SE model and added the Premium Package, carpet/trunk mat set, body side molding and door edge guards for an as-tested price of $23,678.
The Bottom Line:
I don’t not like the 2019 Toyota Corolla. It’s is a nice -- if somewhat boring -- vehicle.
The Corolla is well-priced and has all the up-level safety tech you could possibly want on a car. It also has decent handling and fuel economy ratings.
And that makes it great for first-time drivers or your stalwart commuter car.
But the interior is a little tired and the exterior is distinctly indistinct.
We’ve already seen the design for the 2020 Corolla, and it leapfrogs over the 2019 model.
If the handling on the 2019 Hatchback is anything to go by, the next-gen sedan will be something special in that arena as well.
So, what’s the last word on the 2019 sedan? I bet you’ll be able to get a really good great deal on a nice car very soon.