2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Edition Test Drive

?2017 Toyota Corolla Celebrates 50 year anniversary?
Corolla adds special touches to Special Edition

The Toyota Corolla launched here in the U.S. marketplace in 1968 with its first generation examples, following two years of sales success in the Japanese market. Power for those first models came from a 1.1-liter SOHC 4-cylinder engine. The second generation bowed with an available 1.2-liter 4-cylinder. The third generation ran from 1974 through 1978 when the fourth generation reigned until 1979 when Gen 5 was introduced. The 10 millionth Corolla was produced in March of 1983. 1984 marked the entry of fifth generation models, when the front-wheel drive was first introduced. Corolla celebrated its 20th anniversary in the U.S. during the popular car?s sixth generation, which bowed in 1988 and ran until 1993, when the seventh generation appeared moving Corolla from the subcompact segment to the compact segment, and production with production for all U.S. units moving to North America. Generation eight appeared in 1998 with a new 1.8-liter engine featuring VVT-i. The ninth gen Corolla was introduced in 2003 and was available in Standard grade, LE and S grades. Generation ran from 2009 to the present with a new Dual VVT-I for the 1.8-liter four-banger. A 2.4-liter motor was introduced in the XRS model. The 2014 Toyota Corolla represented the iconic marque?s eleventh generation representing an all-new truly global product.


Now, for the 2017 model year, the Toyota Corolla celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Special Edition model, which comes with the following distinctive features: 17-inch machined alloy wheels with Dark Gray painted inserts, SofTex trimmed sport seats with Black Cherry Premium fabric inserts and stitching, Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and hands-free controls and Black Cherry stitching, Black Cherry Door, Dash trim accent stitching, 50th Anniversary rear badge and special floor mats..

The 2017 Toyota Corolla delivers a contemporary exterior design that is both expressive and chiseled, based on the Corolla Furia concept car, and displaying a taut design with athletically pleasing proportions. It rolls on a long wheelbase, with the wheels stretched out to the four corners, while featuring short overhangs front and rear. The front and rear styling showcases a more tapered look for a more dramatic expression. It delivers a compact image emphasizing the wheel arches and ?wheels-to-the-corner? stance. The front fascia presents sharp, pronounced detailing with the large trapezoidal grille positioned just beneath a thin intake inlet below the hood.
Sleek, sculpted surfaces are complemented by aerodynamic LED headlamp assemblies. Door handles are integrated into the body, aligning with the side profile character line that spans the length of the door surfaces. The C-pillar features a fast, long sloping angle that blends into the rear deck in bold fashion. The rear view is highlighted by large, sharply sculpted rear taillight assemblies, and there is a subtle available rear deck-lid spoiler that accentuates the car?s sporting nature.
The interior continues to reflect Corolla?s ?Iconic Dynamism? theme, creating a stylish, functional, and inviting interior space with a greater sense of craftsmanship. The dash design aids in enhancing the interior?s sense of spaciousness, while serving up a premium aesthetic. Ornamental stitching appears along the leading edge of the dash pad for a more upscale look. A decorative boot is available with ornamental stitching surrounding the shift lever.
2017 trim levels will include: the Base L; LE; XLE and XSE models powered by a 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence, producing 132 horsepower at 6,000 rpm along with 128 pound feet of torque at ,4400 rpm. Also available will be a 1.8-liter DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder with Valvematic technology producing 140 horses and 126 lb-ft for an LE Eco trim. Both engines electronically fuel injected with Toyota?s Direct Ignition system.
There are two transmissions available with specific grade assignments: a 6-speed manual gearbox, or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVTi-S) with intelligent shifting. All Corolla models are Front-Wheel Drive.
Braking chores are taken care of by power-assisted ventilated discs up front and leading-trailing drums in the rear. Brake control systems include: ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop Technology, TPMS, VSC and TRAC Traction Control. Directional maneuvering is courtesy of Electric Power Steering.
A host of safety systems ? both active and passive, make the 2017 Toyota Corolla enjoyable and safe to drive.

My test 2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition was in SE trim. It sported a Black Cherry metallic exterior and a Black and Black Cherry themed interior. The base price was set at $21,900 with a final total price of $24,497. after adding the power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade, Paint Protection film, illuminated door sill enhancements, universal tablet holder, rear bumper protector and Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.

SUMMARY: The 2017 Toyota Corolla SE 50th Anniversary Edition is truly elevated well above the previous generation in terms of styling and visual appeal, equipment levels, value, comfort, function and versatility.
Ride comfort is above average for a compact vehicle and handling attributes border on sporty. The CVT actually provides an enjoyable experience ? more so, than many other CVTs in the marketplace.

Acceleration on the low end of the spectrum seems adequate, but both versions would benefit from more power, perhaps best generated by turbocharging. The 1.8-liter four-banger makes vehicle occupants aware of its presence when under load, and passing on a grade requires full throttle, with the pedal pressed all the way to the floor to take care of business.

Connectivity and infotainment features are plentiful along with comfort and convenience considerations.
In the final analysis, this latest Toyota Corolla fills the role of affordable, comfortable, compact transportation quite well, and it will no doubt continue to reign as – if not the best selling compact car on a global basis, certainly as one of the best currently available. All in all, it is an admirable compact sedan, both in terms of styling and driving experience.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition

Base Price: $21,900.
Price as Tested: $24,497.

Engine Type and Size: 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, dual VVTi, inline 4-cylinder.

Horsepower (bhp): 132 @ 6,000 rpm (140hp @6,100 rpm on LE Eco)
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 128 @ 4,400 rpm (126fpt @4,000 rpm on LE Eco)
Transmission: CVT with Sport Drive Mode

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive

Suspension: Front ? Independent MacPherson strut with 0.79 inch stabilizer bar.
Rear – Torsion beam with 0.79-inch stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted front vented discs / leading-trailing drum rear with ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop Technology, VSC and TRAC Traction Control.

Tires: Firestone FR740 – P215/45 R17 mounted on 5-?V?- spoke machine face alloy wheels. with painted inverted ?U? insert alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length Overall: 183.1 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height: 57.3 inches
Curb Weight: 2,870 lbs.
Turning Circle: 35.6 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.28
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

More from Our Auto Expert