The Toyota Corolla carries over into 2016 with few changes, though a new Special Edition features unique appointments, including 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels, black interior with red stitching and more.
Toyota's popular Corolla sedan is offered in four distinct models -- L, LE and S. A "Plus" package is available on LE and S models. An Eco package is available on the LE, and the S offers a Special Edition. A Premium package is available on the LE and S models.
Every Corolla is powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. In the L, LE and S, the engine produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, while in the LE Eco, Valvematic technology bumps output slightly to 140 horsepower. Base L Corollas come with either a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission -- the only model in the range to offer a traditional automatic. The manual is also offered on the Corolla S, as is a continuously variable transmission with intelligence and Shift Mode (CVTi-S). LE and LE Eco models are only available with the CVTi-S.
All Corollas are easy on fuel. The L returns an estimated combined 31 mpg, while LE and S models get 32 mpg combined. The leader of the pack, however, is the LE Eco, which gets 35 mpg combined, including an excellent -- and best-in-class -- 42 mpg on the highway.
Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard, though Plus and Premium trims upgrade to rear discs. Suspension is handled through independent MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in the rear.
Standard equipment on the Corolla L includes LED headlights and running lights, air conditioning, power mirrors and windows, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. The Corolla LE trim and higher add automatic climate control, Entune Audio, a backup camera, cruise control, Bluetooth with voice command, power door locks and keyless entry. The LE Plus boasts 16-inch alloys and fog lamps, while the LE Premium gets heated seats, power-adjustable seats, Smart Key entry and integrated navigation with an upgraded Entune smartphone-integration system.
The Eco package, in addition to the Valvematic-enhanced engine, adds a rear spoiler. The Eco Plus adds an Eco Drive mode that modifies engine response and manages the air conditioning for even better fuel economy.
Finally, the Corolla S includes everything found in the LE, as well as integrated fog lights, special exterior chrome and color-keyed accents, sporty seats with larger bolsters, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, a sport-oriented gauge cluster, and SPORT mode, when outfitted with the CVT.
The S Plus gets 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Premium adds power-adjustable heated seats. Finally, the Special Edition is offered in one of three unique exterior colors (Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl or Super White), with gloss black 17-inch alloy wheels, black interior with red contrast stitching, red-accented dash and door trim, push-button start, and special floor mats.
All Corollas come standard with eight airbags, as well as enhanced stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes with brake assist.