As I drove past a group of kids in a neighborhood, their eyes fixated on my car, which looked like crystal glassware. They barely yelled "Is that a Rolls-Royce?" before I showed them the car.
They took pictures of its quilted blue seats and videos of me pressing a button on its black roof as they circled it. I told them it was not mine. It was given to me to write a review.
They asked if you do this a lot. Are you going to get a new car?
I mentioned a Toyota corolla. I did not want to wait.
The corolla has been one of the best-selling cars in the US for many years. As SUVs and crossovers replace small vehicles as the popular car choice for Americans, the corolla is still near the top.
The corolla is an affordable and reliable way to get a modern car with modern perks, like backup cameras. No matter the price, all new cars in the US are required to have backup cameras and bright, white LEDs.
Some of the new corolla's headlights don't have good safety ratings. By trim level, you can do your research here.
There are an array of options for the corolla. Your car can have a fully gas-powered engine or a hybrid, be a sedan or a hatch, focus on sportiness or utility, and come with a transmission you shift yourself or one you don't.
The car Toyota lent me was all about utilities. After fees and two optional features, it came to $25,319, and its six-speed manual transmission only cost $700 more than the standard car.
—Alanis King (@alanisnking) June 2, 2022
It is striking for its price. When I picked up my car, it glowed under the ghastly lights of the airport parking garage. The other cars were shades of gray, white, or black.
The front-end design of the corolla is simple and sleek, with sharp, triangular headlights and a lobster-claw shape framing each side of the car's large black grille There is a large panel of black "mesh" over the exhaust pipes. The styling is great, but the fake mesh looks like a wall of black plastic.
The interior of the car was polished even in dim lighting. The fabric that covers the ceiling of a vehicle is known as the fabric that sits under the seats. There are many economy cars with a light- gray headliners, and a color-matched one is often not reserved for the $25,000 price point.
I got in the front seat after opening the trunk of the car. I had a small moonroof, a simple dashboard, and a basic driver information cluster that showed things like speed, outside temperature, and fuel economy. Cupholders were located in the back of the car.
I sat in the car for an extra 10 minutes trying to figure out why the voice giving me directions wouldn't come through the car's speakers after I connected my phone to the car. I didn't hear anything when I tried to listen to the navigation on my phone.
When I selected my phone, it tried to play the U2 album that was in everyone's music folder. I decided to blast the navigation from my phone speakers instead of giving up on my wireless device.
I popped the car into reverse. It is a safety measure that keeps the driver from accidentally throwing the car into reverse if they want to select one of the forward gears.
Pulling up a ring on the shifter is one of the tricks that can be done in the corolla. The ring goes back and forth when it's up. It stops the shift short of the reverse gear when it's back down.
My backup camera kept popping up when I tried to put the car in first gear. Even though the ring was down, it was still going into reverse.
The ring was down for about 90 seconds before the Shifter realized. I learned to forcefully hold the ring down when I got in the car.
The shifter flowed from one gear to the other. It made me feel like I was making soup.
The pedals didn't feel right. Releasing the clutch with my left foot and adding gas with my right to engage first gear was easy, and it made me realize this was the perfect car for a manual novice.
There isn't any of that in the corolla. You just let the clutch go and go. It's not possible to kill the car because you don't worry.
A small radio volume is enough to cover road noise on the highway, and the Toyota corolla is comfortable to drive. I would be proud to show my friends the reasonable purchase I made if I owned it.
The corolla is not fast. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I parked the car at the airport and flew home, even though no one screamed at me as I drove it down the road.
I like a good used economy car. Even if the car isn't trying to hit me, they remind me that the act of driving is amazing. The manual transmission is a dying feature of cars, but it's still there for utility, and that's something I like.
The corolla doesn't want to wow you along the way. It isn't trying too hard to impress you, according to my friend and fellow car reviewer.
It's just trying to serve you, and that's the charm.