Toyota Corolla turns 50 years old

First Toyota Corolla
The original Toyota Corolla made its debut 50 years ago. Photos by Toyota Motor Corporation/Benjamin Yong.

In 1966, the very first Toyota Corolla was released in Japan, coined as “A car for everyone.” Half a century and nine generations later, the iconic vehicle gets a fresh set of looks inside and out, the latest safety equipment and true to the original, a fuel-efficient powertrain still offered with a fun and sporty manual transmission.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE front

For 2017, the compact sedan gets an updated nose resembling other products in the lineup including the Yaris. The front emblem is encased in a body colour housing that overlaps a much larger blacked out lower grille. SE trim levels and above receive a move aggressive bumper featuring a mesh grille, larger side air intakes and vertical LED daytime running lights.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE interior

All offerings receive a redesigned instrument cluster with dual blue-and-black-themed dials surrounded by polished chrome rings. Clusters in entry-level CE and LE grades use a 3.5-inch Multi-information Display to relay important information such as fuel economy and odometer readout, while everything above has a slightly larger 4.2-inch MiD.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE engine

Performance has come a long way in 50 years — the first Corolla had a 60-horsepower 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine. Now, output has more than doubled via a 1.8-litre four-cylinder producing either 132 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque, or 140 hp and 126 lb-ft on Eco models utilizing Toyota’s VALVEMATIC technology and a CVTi-S continuously-variable gearbox. Fuel consumption for the Eco is rated at 7.7 L/100 km in city driving, 5.6 highway and 6.8 combined.

2017 Toyota Corolla XSE side

As with all other products now sold by the Japanese manufacturer, the Toyota Safety Sense P safety package is standard. The suite includes a collision mitigation system comprised of pedestrian detection with automatic braking, lane departure alert, radar cruise control, and more.

MSRP for the 2017 Toyota Corolla ranges from $16,290 (CE) to $25,210 (XSE). In stores now. 

2017 Toyota Corolla rear

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights