Toyota Celebrates the Longstanding Corolla with the 50th Anniversary Special Edition [Review]

Toyota Celebrates the Longstanding Corolla with the 50th Anniversary Special Edition
[Photo: Toyota]

Toyota has added special touches to the Corolla to celebrate 50 years of the nameplate in the United States.

The Toyota Corolla launched in the U.S. marketplace in 1968, following two years of sales success in Japan. Power for first generation models came from a 1.1-liter SOHC 4-cylinder engine. The second generation bowed in 1970 with a larger 1.2-liter unit. The third generation ran from 1974 through 1978, and the fourth generation until 1979. By March 1983, the Corolla was well on its way to becoming one of the world’s best-selling cars, producing 10 million units. 1984 marked the entry of fifth generation models, featuring front-wheel drive for the first time. The Corolla celebrated its 20th anniversary in the U.S. during its sixth generation, which debuted in 1988 and ran until 1993. With its seventh generation, the Corolla moved up to the compact segment, and production for all U.S. units moved to Ontario, Canada. Eighth generation models appeared in 1998 with a new 1.8-liter engine featuring VVT-i. Rolling onward, the ninth generation Corolla was introduced in 2003 and was available in Standard grade, LE and S grades. Generation ran from 2009 to the present with a new Dual VVT-I for the 1.8-liter four-banger. A 2.4-liter motor was introduced in the XRS model. The 2014 Toyota Corolla represented the iconic marque’s eleventh generation representing an all-new truly global product.

Toyota Celebrates the Longstanding Corolla with the 50th Anniversary Special Edition
[Photo: Toyota]


The Toyota Corolla celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Special Edition model, which comes with the following distinctive features: 17-inch machined alloy wheels with Dark Gray painted inserts, SofTex trimmed sport seats with Black Cherry Premium fabric inserts and stitching, Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and hands-free controls and Black Cherry stitching, Black Cherry Door, Dash trim accent stitching, 50th Anniversary rear badge and special floor mats..

The 2017 Toyota Corolla delivers a contemporary exterior design that is both expressive and chiseled, based on the Corolla Furia concept car, and displaying a taut design with athletically pleasing proportions. It rolls on a long wheelbase, with the wheels stretched out to the four corners, while featuring short overhangs front and rear. The front and rear styling showcases a more tapered look for a more dramatic expression. It delivers a compact image emphasizing the wheel arches and “wheels-to-the-corner” stance. The front fascia presents sharp, pronounced detailing with the large trapezoidal grille positioned just beneath a thin intake inlet below the hood.

Sleek, sculpted surfaces are complemented by aerodynamic LED headlamp assemblies. Door handles are integrated into the body, aligning with the side profile character line that spans the length of the door surfaces. The C-pillar features a fast, long sloping angle that blends into the rear deck in bold fashion. The rear view is highlighted by large, sharply sculpted rear taillight assemblies, and there is a subtle available rear deck-lid spoiler that accentuates the car’s sporting nature.


The interior continues to reflect the Corolla’s “Iconic Dynamism” theme, creating a stylish, functional, and inviting interior space with a greater sense of craftsmanship. The dash design aids in enhancing the interior’s sense of spaciousness, while serving up a premium aesthetic. Ornamental stitching appears along the leading edge of the dash pad for a more upscale look. A decorative boot is available with ornamental stitching surrounding the shift lever.

2017 trim levels will include: the Base L; LE; XLE and XSE models powered by a 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder with Dual Variable Valve Timing, producing 132 horsepower at 6,000 rpm along with 128 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm. Also available will be a 1.8-liter DOHC, 16-valve, inline 4-cylinder with VVTi technology producing 140 horsepower and 126 lbs.-ft. with the LE Eco trim. Both engines are electronically fuel injected with Toyota’s Direct Ignition system.

There are two transmissions available: a 6-speed manual, or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVTi-S) with intelligent shifting. All Corolla models are front-wheel drive.

Braking is handled power-assisted ventilated discs up front and leading-trailing drums in the rear. Brake control systems include: ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop Technology, TPMS, VSC and TRAC Traction Control. To point the Corolla where you want it to go, it has electric power steering.

A host of safety systems – both active and passive, make the 2017 Toyota Corolla enjoyable and safe to drive.

My test 2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition was in SE trim. It sported a Black Cherry metallic exterior and a Black and Black Cherry themed interior. The base price was set at $21,900 with a final total price of $24,497, after adding the power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade, paint protection film, illuminated door sills, a universal tablet holder, rear bumper protector and dealer fees.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition is truly elevated well above the previous generation in terms of styling and visual appeal, equipment levels, value, comfort, function and versatility. Connectivity and infotainment features are plentiful along with comfort and convenience considerations.


Ride comfort is above average for a compact vehicle and handling attributes border on sporty. The CVT actually provides an enjoyable experience – more so, than many other CVTs in the marketplace.

Acceleration on the low-end of the rev band seems adequate, but both versions would benefit from more power, perhaps by means of turbocharging. The 1.8-liter four-banger makes vehicle occupants aware of its presence when under load, and passing on a grade requires full throttle, with the pedal pressed all the way to the floor to take care of business.

In this analysis, this latest Toyota Corolla fills the role of affordable, comfortable, compact transportation quite well. It will no doubt continue to reign as one of the world’s best-selling cars. All in all, it is an admirable compact sedan, both in terms of styling and driving experience.


Price and Performance: 2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition

Base MSRP: $21,900
Price as Tested: $24,497
Engine: 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline-four with dual VVTi
Horsepower: 132 hp @ 6,000 RPM (140 hp @ 6,100 RPM with LE Eco)
Torque: 128 lbs.-ft. @ 4,400 RPM (126 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 RPM with LE Eco)
Transmission: CVT with Sport Drive Mode
0-60: Not tested
Suspension: Front: MacPherson struts with 0.79-inch stabilizer bar
Rear: Torsion beam with 0.79-inch stabilizer bar
Brakes: Front: Power-assisted, vented discs
Rear: Leading-trailing drums w/ ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop, VSC and TRAC Traction Control systems
Tires: Firestone FR740 P215/45 R17 mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 28 MPG City/35 MPG Highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.28


Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length:  183.1 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height:  57.3 inches
Turning Circle: 35.6 feet
Curb Weight: 2,870 pounds