Expert Reviews

Long-Term Test: 2015 Toyota Corolla S - Update 1

While the Softex synthetic leather isn’t bad, the sides are upholstered in an entirely creepy rubber material, so keep your hands where you can see them.

Odometer at pick-up: 1,744 km
Odometer Current: 2,837 km (1,092 by
Fuel Consumption: 7.2 L/100 km
Costs: $96.12 (Fuel only)

It’s been a fairly quick start out of the gate for the little Corolla, on which we’ve put over 1,000 km within the first two weeks, reaffirming how easy it is to live with.

As we’ll be reporting on this long-term car every other week, I’ll aim to keep it short, first diving into the basic setup.

As I mentioned in the Arrival article, the seats are spectacular for a compact runabout. The seat bottoms are long enough with a touch of bolster at the sides to keep you settled, while the seatbacks are nicely contoured with good lumbar support and slightly more pronounced torso bolsters that gently hug you in place to keep you well positioned in the comfort area.

While the driver seat is power adjustable fore-aft, recline, height and seat-bottom angle for an excellent seat position, I feel let down by the limited adjustability of the steering wheel. It has decent tilt, it telescopes only a short amount and not far enough for my tastes, so that I either have to crowd the pedals or have my arms extended too far to reach the wheel easily. Oh, and the material: while the Softex synthetic leather isn’t bad, the sides are upholstered in an entirely creepy rubber material, so keep your hands where you can see them.

Getting in is also easy thanks to a roof that is largely unaffected by the swoopy styling. Headroom front is exemplary, though rear headroom isn’t quite large adult friendly as my head brushed the roof, which is on par with the spacious Volkswagen Jetta but short of the Honda Civic and Mazda3 (though it certainly doesn’t feel less spacious than the 3). Front and rear legroom dominate, with 2,126 mm combined, compared to segment competitors like the Jetta at 2,013, Mazda at 1,982 and the bestselling Civic at 1,985.

Best of all, the Corolla’s rear floor has only the most minor of tunnel humps, so foot room is unfettered for all three occupants, and this is especially important as my wife often finds herself between the kiddos in the back seat when we transport the mother-in-law.

Our oldest is in a booster seat, but our younger is still in a full car seat, and the Corolla, thanks to the preserved roofline, is easy to lean into, the headrests can be raised or removed, the LATCH anchors are okay and top tether only mildly frustrating, so it’s a decent car if you tend to install and remove child seats on a regular basis.

For adults, the middle seat my wife is so often consigned to is merely tolerable, but the outboard seats are a little better, with flat seat bottoms but slightly scooped out backrests and height adjustable headrests.

Cabin storage space is also well-thought-out for everyday life. A small open tray ahead of the shifter is great for a phone (with the USB and aux plugs right above it), two cupholders (one deeper for the spouse that carries the extra tall travel mug), door pockets with bottle holder front and back and a centre console armrest with a shallow tray and deeper bin beneath it. Trunk space, at 369 L, is ahead of Civic and Mazda3, but behind the Jetta’s 444 L. The seats split 60/40 to fold and allow transport of longer items, but no pass through and a restricted space means it doesn’t really compare with your average hatchback practicality.