- Dec 8, 2015
So my Wife go into an accident (November 1st) the day after we got married (October 31st) and had to make an emergency purchase on a vehicle. She ended up getting a 2020 Corolla LE. I got to drive it around for about an hour and just wanted to give my first impressions as someone who has not really driven a toyota made past 2005 and generally enjoys cars that are intended to be more sporty. Things I like: The car looks quite nice from the outside Some of the safety equipment such as lane keep assist, lane departure warnings, and radar guided cruise control are cool. Good steering input. Fuel economy should be great! The stereo software and options for info on the driver display seem to be relatively nice and easy to work. The LED headlights are horrible. I can't see a thing hardly past about 100 feet. There is a harsh cut off in brightness at this point that makes it look as if the headlights just completely stop working. The worst part is when she is following me in the 3, ever little bump puts her headlights right into my mirrors. Maybe these things could be fixed with having the lights adjusted or aimed professionally. Things I didn't enjoy: The CVT transmission leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to engagement and making the car feel like a car. It just likes to hang in the same spot when accelerating and gives no real drive fun or engagement. When try to get a little pep out of it, it climbs to 5k RPM and just sits there until you let off the gas. The doors feel cheap. There are small plastic ridges and gaps where it doesn't feel like plastics on the back side of the handle line up correctly. When I open the door, instead of a soft spring at the end, it has a hard feeling that makes me think I am whacking something with the door. For the price, the interior is made of cheap plastics and does not feel inviting in any way. I am not sure I can possibly understand how this is the best selling car in the world. I am going to compare this to my 2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5 and my younger brother's 2016 Mazda 3 base model. The Mazda 3 I purchased ended up being almost the exact same price and ended up having what feels like a higher build quality all the way around. The interior feels better, the quality of workmanship on the 3 is just stunning compared to the corolla. Even the base model 2016 3 my brother bought new for about 80% of the price of what we could get this corolla at feels better. The cloth seats are more comfortable and the parts the driver touches just have a better feel to them. They don't feel and look like cheap plastics. The ride feels a little stiffer in the Mazda's during normal driving, however, when it comes to bumps in the road, I cannot tell much difference. I had expected the softer suspension of the Corolla to absorb more bumps and road imperfections, but this is not the case compared to the 2016 Mazda with 16" wheels. (corolla has 16" wheels) The 18" wheels on the 2018 3 create a slightly rougher ride when it comes to speed bumps and harsh pot holes, but I personally would trade those things in a heartbeat for what makes me feel more planted on the road. Freeway merging with the 2.0 mazda 3 is not an exciting job to perform, but the 155 hp Skyactiv motor makes it happen and makes you feel confident you will be up to speed. On the corolla, the 1.8 with the CVT, does not inspire the same level of confidence. It sounds like this motor is putting in a lot of effort to go from 40mph on the access road to 70 on the freeway at a similar pace. Final conclusion on the Corolla: It's a car. It goes from point a to point b and will probably do so for a long time. I personally did not experience any thrill that would have sold me on this car and made me want to drive it, but I also would venture to guess 90% of people don't care about driving thrills and just buy a car because they expect it to be a tool. Hopefully I will be able to give a more positive review after having the car for a couple more months.