What started out back in 1966 as a tiny compact car is now one of the most popular models of its class, in the world. The 2015 Toyota Corolla brings a few changes to the completely overhauled 2014 version. In short, new options are made standard on all trims but no changes are done to the drivetrain components.
Although it came out with a complete overhaul in 2014, the design of the new Toyota Corolla isn’t really mind blowing – and that’s just how it is supposed to be. After all, buyers in the segment are not particularly interested in attention-grabbing details but rather something which will easily blend with the environment.
Depending on the trim, the 2015 Corolla comes with 15-inch steel wheels, 16-inch steel or alloy wheels or 17-inch alloy wheels (only on the high-end S Plus trim). LED lights are standard on all trims but only available for short beam. On the other hand, fog lights are found only on LE and higher trims. The same segment also benefits from heated mirrors and intermittent automatic wipers.
Even if the exterior doesn’t stand out of the crowd, Toyota did put a lot more effort into the interior aspect of the 2015 Corolla. Standard features available on the base L trim include a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with auxiliary controls, air conditioning system and a driver’s seat that’s height adjustable. In terms of in-car-entertainment, the base L trim provides 4 speakers connected to CD player with Bluetooth and iPod interface and an AUX port. Bluetooth phone connectivity is also present
Those who wish for more tech-related additions should consider the higher trims. For example, the LE trim brings on all the features of the base trim and adds keyless entry, two extra speakers and a 6-inch touchscreen. Voice commands are also added into the mix.
Going even higher in trim levels, features like keyless start, heated seats, power driver seat, piano cabin accents and rearview camera become available. Furthermore, Honda’s Entune system is used to control various aspects of the car.
A particular case is the S (sport) trim that replaces the standard front seats with sport versions, brings a chrome front grille and chrome exhaust tip and a small rear spoiler. Performance-wise, the S trim brings on paddle shifters, a Sport driving mode and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Unfortunately, Sport mode and paddle shifters are not compatible with the 6-speed manual gearbox.
Engine and drivetrain
Toyota is offering just one engine unit on the 2015 Corolla. The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder petrol unit comes in a 140hp version on the LE Eco and above, and a tuned-down version on L, LE, and S trims pushing out 132hp and 174 Nm. The higher output version usually comes accompanied by a CVT which improves mileage (8.1 liters/100 km in city and 6.3 liters/100 on highway).
The 4-speed automatic gearbox provides the lowest fuel economy of all drivetrain variants, especially since it is definitely the oldest of the package and thus not as efficient as the CVT or as the 6-speed manual.
Once inside the 2015 Toyota Corolla, it is easy to notice that the interior has gone at least one level up from the previous year, especially in terms of material quality. Plastics are finer to touch and stitching here and there give the impression of an upscale experience.
While the standard seats are decent in terms of comfort and capacity, owners of the S trim will benefit from increased lateral stability with the sport seats available by default. Overall, the 2015 Corolla offers more space than one would expect at first glance, mostly due to its 3-inch lengthening.
There is quite a bit of road and engine noise finding its way into the cabin when driving the Corolla. However, it compensates by a rather good behavior of the suspension. Most bumps and uneven surfaces are well absorbed and vibrations rarely reach the steering wheel which is features a more pleasant design and feels good at touch.
The CVT does a good job emulating a standard automatic gearbox with its artificial shift points. Although the acceleration is pretty much the same as with the previous year model, the CVT manages to make the current model feel faster and quicker.
While it may not win the prize for being the prettiest in its class, the 2015 Toyota Corolla definitely continues the no-frill tradition we have been used to. In other words, we are still looking at a car that puts usability above everything else and tops it with great fuel economy values. There’s new tech here and there to slightly rise comfort, but overall, the Corolla is kept simple and stress free.
The S trim seems to be the go-to choice, not necessarily because of improved dynamics but rather given the addition of rear disk brakes (available only on the S trim) and CVT that is optimized to be slightly faster.