The updated 2017 Toyota Corolla trails competing compact cars in many ways, but it's still worth a look for safety on a tight budget. COURTESY PHOTO
A few decades ago – or even more recently, depending on who you ask – American economy cars were sorry pieces of junk, undesirable models that were built only reluctantly by automakers that just wanted to improve their average fleet fuel economy. Meanwhile, Korean competitors hit the scene without competitive engineering or quality control.
This was the era in which the Toyota Corolla shone, offering solid engineering and thoughtful design that was contrasted against the indifference or inadequacy found in many competitors.
These days, though, the Corolla is in a very different market position. Against its increasingly solid competition, it feels like basic transportation; many other compact cars feel sophisticated by comparison, with well-finished interiors; polished ride and handling; and clever in-dash technology.
The Corolla, to be blunt, has none of those things – at least not by the standards of 2017.