Do you recommend the Corolla?
Most Corollas sold in the U.S. are built at Toyota’s Blue Springs, Miss., plant or a plant in Cambridge, Ontario. A small number (about 5 percent this year) are imported from Japan. Production at the Mississippi plant began with the 2012 model year.
As you shop, you can check the window sticker or the manufacturing plate on the driver’s doorjamb to see where a particular Corolla model was built. Another way to tell is to look at the first character of the vehicle identification number. If the VIN begins with 1 or 4 it was built in the U.S., and if it begins with 2 it was made in Canada. Japanese-built models will begin with J.
The current Corolla has compiled an impressive reliability record in J.D. Power and Associates surveys of owners, but it is not among our top-rated compact sedans in large part because it is one of the oldest entries in that category and lacks features that newer rivals offer.
Last redesigned for the 2009 model year, the Corolla still comes with a four-speed automatic transmission, and most competitors offer six-speed automatics. Having additional gears often improves fuel economy and provides smoother, more responsive performance. Neither does the Corolla match class leaders such as the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Kia Forte and Subaru Impreza in gas mileage, ride and handling, room or design. Other newer compacts, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Nissan Sentra, also outperform the Corolla in at least some areas, so consumers have a lot of good alternatives to a car that once was among the best.
A redesigned Corolla is due for the 2014 model year, and we would expect at least some of the current shortcomings will be rectified by the new version.
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