The Toyota Corolla, which received refreshed styling and numerous enhancements for 2011, enters the 2012 model year with upgrades to the feature content for the base L model and a new standard audio system for the LE and S grade models.
A standard bearer for value, quality and dependability for more than 40 years, the Toyota Corolla delivers even more value for 2012. The Corolla L grade model gains color-keyed power side mirrors, along with power windows with driver’s auto-down, power door locks and remote keyless entry. The LE grade adds standard 16-inch wheels and steering wheel audio controls for 2012. The sporty S model adds a double-stitch accent to its seats.
In response to customers’ demand for more versatile audio performance, the 2012 Toyota LE and S grades offer a new standard audio system. The head unit combines an AM/FM/CD player (including MP3/WMA playback) A USB port enables iPod® connectivity, while an auxiliary input jack accommodates other music players. The system also features Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability and audio streaming. Auto-sound leveling adjusts volume in response to ambient noise. Both the LE and S grades feature steering wheel audio control switches, as well.
The 2012 Corolla continues to offer standard Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. It also features the standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system. The 2012 Corolla continues to offer the two-year/25,000-mile Toyota Care complimentary maintenance plan.
Performance and Efficiency
The 2012 Corolla is available in three grades: the base-model Corolla L, the LE, and sporty S grade. All models are equipped with the 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, which produces 132 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to help optimize performance and fuel economy.
The 1.8-liter engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT) on the base Corolla L and the sporty S grades; the LE model features the automatic standard. The four-speed automatic uses a torque converter with flex lockup for increased fuel efficiency, as well as uphill/downhill shift control. For a more engaging driving experience, the driver can shift the automatic manually by moving the shift lever to the left from its “D” position into the “S” position, then pushing forward for upshifts and back for downshifts. An indicator inside the combination gauge shows the gear selected.
The 2012 Corolla has earned an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with the five-speed manual transmission, and 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with the four-speed automatic transmission.
Handling and Ride
The smooth-riding Corolla is built around a stiff body structure that relies on high tensile-strength steel, gussets and cross members for its strength, rigidity and lightweight construction. Front suspension is composed of a compact, rigid L-arm-type MacPherson strut with a stabilizer bar. The Corolla’s torsion beam rear suspension employs a coil-over-shock arrangement that allows efficient packaging along with solid handling and excellent ride comfort.
An electric power-assist steering system uses a compact motor, speed reducer and torque sensor built into the steering column. The system varies the amount of assistance according to engine RPM and vehicle speed. The result is appropriate weight and responsiveness at higher speeds, and light effort at low speeds. Electric power steering reduces parasitic losses to the engine, thereby aiding fuel economy. It is also environmentally efficient, because it does not require hydraulic oil.
The Corolla is engineered to absorb and disperse impact energy throughout the entire body structure, including front and rear crumple zones. Strengthened door beltline reinforcements help share the impact load, which in side impacts is also directed to the underbody. A direct tire pressure monitor system comes standard on every Corolla.
As part of the Toyota STAR Safety System™, Vehicle Stability Control automatically adjusts engine output and the vehicle’s braking force at individual wheels to help control any discrepancy between where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is heading.
All Corolla models are equipped with six standard airbags, including advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and front-and-rear side-curtain airbags. Seatbelt pretensioners retract the seat belt at the time of a frontal collision, and the dual-stage force limiter helps limit the seat belt force applied to the passenger’s chest. Front seats integrate active headrests; if the vehicle is struck from the rear with sufficient force, a cable-actuated mechanism in the active front headrest moves the headrest upward and forward to help limit the movement of the occupant’s head.
Comfort and Convenience
The 2012 Corolla upholds a 40-plus year heritage for providing outstanding value in standard equipment. All models feature a standard all-weather package. The Corolla L grade features 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers; P195/65 R15 tires; a color-keyed front grille and exterior door handles; a heavy-duty rear window defogger with timer; AM/FM/CD audio with four speakers with MP3/WMA playback capability, auxiliary audio jack, and auto sound leveling; air conditioning with pollen filter; intermittent windshield wipers; daytime running lights; tilt and telescopic steering wheel; multi-information display with outside temperature, instant fuel economy, average fuel economy, average speed and travel distance; fabric-trimmed six-way adjustable drivers seat; four-way adjustable front passenger seat; 60/40 split folding rear seats and a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet. For 2012, power windows, door locks, remote keyless entry system, and color-keyed side view mirrors are also added to the roster.
In addition to the new audio system and 16-inch wheels described described earlier, the popular Corolla LE grade adds variable intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle; color-keyed power heated outside mirrors; cruise control; multi-function in-key remote keyless entry system with lock, unlock, trunk release, panic and remote illuminated entry and a sport steering wheel with metallic accents.