2013 Toyota Corolla Review and Prices
Past and Future Reviews
The 2013 Toyota Corolla is the best car for you if the senior citizen of the compact class speaks to your automotive comfort zone.
The 2013 Toyota Corolla is not expected to change beyond minor trim or feature details as Toyota gears up to introduce its redesigned 2014 replacement, the first all-new Corolla since model-year 2009. That leaves the lame-duck 2013 Corolla to fend off a flood of younger and far more exciting rivals, including the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, and the reborn 2013 Dodge Dart. The 2013 Corolla will rely on play-it-safe styling, a proven powertrain, and a reputation for reliability.
Should you wait for the 2013 Toyota Corolla or by a 2012 Toyota Corolla? Little reason to wait for the 2013 Corolla because it’s unlikely to change much. And it’ll be saddled with the depreciation-accelerating stigma that attaches to the last year of an outgoing design. Buying a 2012 Corolla gets you essentially the same car, sans the nearly inevitable model-year price increase.
2013 Toyota Corolla Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Toyota Corolla will be a stylistic carbon copy of the 2012 Corolla, aside from a possible new color choice or two and perhaps addition of a swan-song special edition that bids adieu to this 10th-generation design.
A model-year-2011 freshening subtly altered the look of this compact sedan’s nose and tail, but the 2013 Corolla will essentially be the same car introduced for 2009. Since then an onslaught of redesigned rivals has invigorated the compact class. These include the aforementioned Focus and Elantra, plus the Chevrolet Cruze and new versions of the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta. They’ll be joined for model-year 2013 by the Dart, a new small sedan based on a sporty Alfa Romeo from the stable of Dodge’s Italian corporate parent, Fiat.
That’ll leave the 2012 Corolla looking dated and feeling cramped compared with shapelier young rivals that use their space more efficiently. And various competitors will offer versatile hatchback or sporty two-door-coupe alternatives to their basic four-door sedan body style. Corolla, however, has remained among the compact-segment’s best-selling cars by rewarding loyal buyers with a conservative personality and a largely trouble-free ownership experience. That won’t change with the 2013 model.
Toyota might well mark the conclusion of this Corolla design generation with a special edition combining popular features and wearing specific badges. More likely, the 2013 Corolla lineup will return three models: the base L, volume-selling LE, and sporty-looking S.
The LE should again come with 16-inch wheels versus 15s the L, but the 2013 line’s main styling distinction will almost certainly lie again with the S model. Expect it to wear aerodynamic exterior trim and come with fog lamps, a chromed exhaust tip, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The S model should also repeat as the only 2013 Corolla model with specially bolstered front seats, metallic-style cabin details, and sportier-looking dashboard gauges.
Mechanical: The 2013 Toyota Corolla is highly unlikely to change mechanically. It’s only powertrain should again consist of a reliable but unexciting four-cylinder engine and a pair of antiquated transmissions. Of course, judging from relatively strong demand, Corolla buyers evidently don’t demand more. But model-year 2013 rivals will offer base engines that get markedly better fuel economy, optional turbocharged variants with far more power, plus gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and even pure-electric alternatives.
Expect all 2013 Corollas to return with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder again rated at 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. A seldom-ordered five-speed manual will likely repeat as the standard transmission, with a four-speed automatic included on the LE model and optional on other versions of the 2013 Corolla. That four-speed automatic is perhaps the most glaring telltale of Corolla’s hidebound mechanical specifications. Virtually every competing 2013 compact car will feature an automatic transmission with six speeds for a smoother delivery of power and greater fuel efficiency.
Many will also emphasize a degree of handling agility Corolla has thus far avoided. Expect the 2013 version of this Toyota to again feature languid steering response and suspension settings that stress a soft, almost floaty ride.
The 2013 Corolla will, like all its main competitors, have a front-wheel drive layout. Front-wheel drive locates the mass of the engine and transmission over the tires that propel the car, contributing to good wet-surface traction and space-efficient packaging.
Features: Toyota moved Corolla closer to its top competitors with a model-year 2012 upgrade that included more connectivity features and an available navigation system. The 2013 Corolla will again offer most of the amenities its buyers expect but it won’t challenge rivals for bragging rights to gee-whiz features such as lane-departure warning, pushbutton ignition, or automatic self-parking.
All 2013 Corollas will return with a nice selection of basic essentials. These will include air conditioning, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, height adjustable driver’s seat, and split-folding rear seatbacks as standard on all models. Power mirrors -- heated on LE and S versions – also will be standard. And every 2013 Corolla will again be equipped with dashboard readouts for outside temperature and average and instant fuel economy.
The model-year 2012 upgrades made power windows and locks standard on the L model. For 2013, Toyota would do well to make cruise control available on the base Corolla instead of reserving it for LE and S models, where it’s been standard. The LE and S are likely to continue as the only 2013 Corolla’s with steering-wheel audio controls, though.
The 2013 Corolla will carry over additional model-year 2012 enhancements that made a USB iPod interface and Bluetooth mobile-phone connectivity standard on the LE and S models and optional on the price-leader L; expect the 2013 L model to again come with an auxiliary audio jack.
The 2012 upgrades also introduced a navigation system to this generation of the Corolla. Given its expected price of around $1,200, this option almost certainly will again be reserved again for LE and S models as part of Toyota’s Display Audio with Navigation and Entune system. This system includes a 6.1-inch dashboard touchscreen, Sirius XM satellite radio with a free 90-day subscription, iTunes Tagging to save songs for later purchase, text-message-to-voice capability, Pandora Internet radio access, and music streaming via Bluetooth compatible devices.
An adios edition of the 2013 Corolla might surprise by offering optional leather upholstery and possibly bundling some of the features heretofore exclusive to the LE and S models. These might include such amenities as a power moonroof, which has thus far been optional only on LE and S Corollas.
2013 Toyota Corolla Prices back to top
Prices for the 2013 Toyota Corolla were not announced in time for this review but are highly unlikely to deviate much from model-year 2012 levels. In fact, Toyota has recently lowered prices on selected versions of some of its other cars and SUVs. It could do the same for some versions of the 2013 Corolla in an effort to avoid being further overshadowed by flashier newcomers.
Estimated base-price range for the 2013 Toyota Corolla is $17,100-$19,780. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandatory destination fee. Toyota’s fee for factory-distributed 2012 Corollas was $760. Toyotas in some Southeastern and Gulf states are distributed independently and may carry different destination charges.)
Expect the 2013 Toyota Corolla L model to start around $17,100 with manual transmission and around $17,250 with automatic. The best selling Corolla model should remain the LE version and its estimated 2013 base price is $18,870, including automatic transmission. Estimated base price for the 2013 Toyota Corolla S is $18,950 with manual transmission, $19,780 with automatic.
Among noteworthy 2013 Corolla options, the Display Audio with Navigation and Entune system option should again cost around $1,200.
2013 Toyota Corolla Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Toyota Corolla were not released in time for this review but are not apt to change from model-year 2012 ratings. That means the 2013 Corolla can again count fuel economy among its assets but also suggests it’ll fall even further behind directly comparable versions of top rivals, which will boast 40 mpg in highway driving.
Expect 2013 Toyota Corolla fuel economy ratings to repeat at 27/34 mpg city/highway and 30 mpg combined city/highway with manual transmission and at 26/34 mpg city/highway, 29 mpg combined with automatic transmission.
2013 Toyota Corolla Release Date back to top
The 2013 Toyota Corolla should be in dealer’s showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2012.
What's next for the 2013 Toyota Corolla back to top
The 2014 Corolla will launch the next fully redesign edition of this popular Toyota; it’ll likely bow during the first-quarter of 2013.
Toyota will endeavor to keep Corolla relevant yet conventional enough to satisfy buyers seeking good basic transportation, not automotive adventure.
Expect Toyota to style the 11th-generation Corolla with a bit more flair but not at the expense of interior roominess. That suggests a longer wheelbase and perhaps a wider body, but not much additional overall length and little added height. To appeal to buyers interested in truly expressive styling, Toyota seems committed to relying on its youth-oriented Scion division.
The next-generation Corolla will undoubtedly be more aerodynamic – and maybe more dynamic in its performance – but it won’t favor speed over fuel economy. A gas-electric hybrid version is possible, although Toyota’s clearest focus on alternative-powertrain vehicles lies with the Prius. That’s the most identifiable and best selling hybrid in the world and Toyota has expanded its lineup to include a plug-in hybrid, the Prius v station wagon, and the downsized Prius c four-door.
Note that while Corolla will continue through the end of this design generation exclusively as a four-door sedan, a wagon version has been marketed as the Toyota Matrix. It’s shared the sedan’s chassis but uses a different, taller wagon body and is available with all-wheel drive. The Matrix has not been a big seller and its future is in doubt. Toyota could decide to retire it after the 2012 model year but more likely will carefully scrutinize whether it ought to return on the next-generation Corolla’s platform.
2013 Toyota Corolla Competition back to top
Chevrolet Cruze: Among Corolla’s newer competitors, Cruze most closely follows the Toyota’s path of less-than-flamboyant styling and conservative driving manners. That formula has been its ticket to strong sales and should continue for model-year 2013. Expect two four-cylinder engines of about 138 horsepower but with a choice of 148 pound-feet of torque or 125. Fuel-economy ratings should again range from 22/35 mpg city/highway, 27 combined with automatic transmission to a high of 28/42/33 for the manual-transmission Eco model.
Honda Civic: Critics assailed Honda’s redesigned 2012 Civic for its cheap-feeling interior and a failure to stay at the front of the class for styling or powertrain. But the 2013 Civic should again offer plenty to like, including a comfortable and extremely spacious cabin, refined driving manners, and Honda’s strong reputation for reliability and resale value. Civic’s most relevant Corolla competitor will be its mainstream sedan, which should return for model-year 2013 with 140 horsepower, 128 pound-feet of torque, and ratings of 28/39/32 mpg with automatic transmission (29/41/33 for the extra-economical HF model). A 2013 Civic highlight will again be the gas-electric hybrid sedan, which should rate 44/44/44 mpg, but start at a relatively pricey $25,000.
Hyundai Elantra: This sedan from the ambitious South Korean carmaker became a sort a compact-class game-changer upon its model-year 2011 redesign. Hyundai proved small-car shoppers would be turned on by a sexy body, aggressive pricing, and fuel economy ratings of 29/40/33 mpg, regardless of transmission or trim level. Those attributes tend to mask Elantra’s prosaic road manners and middling acceleration, but that didn’t stop it from finishing third (behind Cruze and Corolla) in the calendar-2011 compact-class sales race. The 2013 Elantra could get some styling tweaks and a few new features, but Hyundai won’t alter its basic look or the dimensions that give it a fairly roomy interior.