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2011 Toyota Corolla: Class Leader Gets a Facelift

2011 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla, the perennial best selling subcompact in America and the world’s best selling car (in total), has been refreshed for the 2011 model year, with a new front and rear appearance, standard stability and traction control, and a free maintenance plan.

Unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto show on November 16, 2010, the 2011 Toyota Corolla was slated for sale in December 2010. It continued to have standard stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, and emergency brake assist. New is a system used by most other major automakers for years, a brake override which cuts the throttle when the brakes are used.

Three trim levels are sold, the un-named base model, the Corolla LE, and Corolla S; all use the same engine, the new-for-2008 1.8 liter dual cam four cylinder, which pushes out 132 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm (coincidentally, almost identical to the 2.0 liter 1995 Neon). Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize efficiency, and further steps were taken to cut friction within the engine.

Powertrain and suspension

A four speed automatic transmission is standard on the LE, while a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic are available on other models; the four-speed is electronically controlled, has a flex-lockup torque converter, and has an uphill/downhill shift control in the S position. Gas mileage is rated at 28 city, 35 highway with the manual, and 26 city, 34 highway with the automatic.

The 2.4 liter Camry engine option has been dropped, along with the five speed automatic.

The Toyota Corolla has a stiff body structure thanks to high tensile-strength steel, gussets and cross members. A compact, rigid L-arm-type MacPherson strut front suspension uses a stabilizer bar for stiffness and better cornering. The Corolla’s torsion beam rear suspension employs a coil-over-shock arrangement which balances comfort and performance, in a compact space.

rear 2011 corolla

Rear brakes are nine inch drums; front brakes are 10.7 inch vented discs. The Corolla moved to an electric variable power-assist steering system, using a motor, speed reducer, and torque sensor built into the steering column. Electric power steering reduces parasitic losses to the engine, thereby aiding fuel economy; it does not require oil; and it makes a future hybrid option easier to engineer.

2011 Toyota Corolla styling changes

Styling studios in Turin, Italy, helped in the creation of changes to the front bumper, radiator grille, front lower grille, headlamps, trunk lid, rear license garnish, rear combination lamp, rear bumper and reflex reflector.

Built on a 102.4-inch wheelbase, the Corolla provides room for five, and its 12.3 cu. ft. trunk rivals midsize cars’ trunks in capacity. The A-pillar was pulled forward and the C-pillar pushed rearward, helping aerodynamics. Engine undercovers improve air management under the car on all models.

2011 Toyota Corolla car interior

Above the dense mesh grille that helps form the now familiar Toyota T-face, an anti-chipping coating prevents damage. The side-view mirrors have increased in size; heated side-view mirrors are available. The S model adds a sporty look while also enhancing aerodynamics with a front spoiler, rocker moldings, and upper and lower rear spoilers.

The A-pillar was specially profiled to cut wind noise; the windshield is made from acoustic glass and the window-frame structure is designed to reduce vibration of side glass. The windshield molding, wiper blade covers and shape of the cowl air intake louvers are all designed to minimize noise (the carpet also provides better insulation). Windshield washer nozzles are partially shielded by the rear edge of the hood, instead of sitting atop the hood or cowling.

A new seat color and pattern enhances Corolla’s contemporary looks, while the combination meter design has been changed to enhance clarity. The instrument panel upper and door trim upper color and steering wheel have been changed.

A standard tilt and telescope steering wheel in all models makes it easy for taller drivers to find a comfortable position. A multi-information display presents a variety of information, including outside temperature, instant fuel economy, average fuel economy, average speed and travel distance.

Careful attention to exhaust system routing provides a nearly flat rear floor, enhancing comfort for the middle passenger. Three interior color schemes are available: Ash, Dark Charcoal and Bisque. The Bisque is paired with Ash Brown trim.

Storage spaces include center console side pockets; a storage box above the usual glove box; front and rear door pockets that can safely hold 20-ounce bottles; a console box with a large-capacity main tray and a smaller accessory tray; an overhead console useful for storage of sunglasses or garage-door openers; and a rear-seat center armrest with an integral drink holder.

Car safety

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.

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. The Corolla also features an energy-absorbing steering column.

Car comfort and convenience features

The 2011 Toyota Corolla base model has new 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; black folding power mirrors that are larger for improved rear visibility; 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.

The popular Corolla LE adds variable intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle; color-keyed power heated outside mirrors; AM/FM/CD audio with six speakers with MP3/WMA playback capability, auxiliary audio jack, and auto sound leveling; cruise control; multi-function in-key remote keyless entry system with lock, unlock, trunk release, panic and remote illuminated entry; power windows with driver side auto down; tilt/telescopic sport steering wheel with metallic accents and audio controls; and power door locks with shift-activated automatic locking feature.

The Corolla S adds newly designed 16-inch alloy wheels and 205/55 R16 tires; multi-reflector halogen headlamps with black housing; color-keyed front and rear underbody spoilers, sport side rocker panels, unique S badge and rear mudguards; color-keyed rear spoiler, integrated fog lamps; front sport seats; chrome-tipped exhaust; an new tilt/telescopic sport steering wheel with audio controls; chrome exhaust tip; sport fabric-trimmed six-way adjustable drivers seat and four-way adjustable front passenger seat; metallic style interior trim and analog sport instrumentation.

The Corolla LE and S options include a power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade; and an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, XM® Radio (includes 90 day trial subscription), auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity, CD text display function, auto sound leveling, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.

The Corolla LE options include a Premium Package that includes 16-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels with P205/55R16 tires; integrated fog lamps; power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade; AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, XM® Radio (includes 90 day trial subscription), auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity, CD text display function, auto sound leveling, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.

Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation..

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