REVIEW: 2017 Toyota Corolla iM – The Starter Hatchback

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The Toyota Corolla has been around for 50 years, but the Corolla iM is a new addition to the lineup. It first debuted as a part of the Scion brand, but Toyota shuttered Scion shortly after the iM’s introduction forcing a bit of a shuffle. This is how we ended up with the Toyota Corolla iM.

It’s a good looking car and one might even say it’s a bit flashy for Toyota, which is known for producing cars with more sedate styling, but they’re working to change that image. Take a look at the new Camry and you’ll see the Corolla iM fits in with that updated image just fine.

Looking for a Toyota Corolla iM? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

This is a hatchback with a six-speed manual transmission, but it is definitely not a hot hatchback. Power comes from a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with 137 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. It doesn’t make the Corolla iM a particularly fast car. You can hold those gears as long as you like, but you’re not going to get a performance vibe.

That’s okay, because the Corolla iM isn’t aiming to be a hot little hatch that rockets down the highway. It’s aiming to be an affordable hatchback and on that point it excels. Base price on the Corolla iM is $18,750 making it something most people can afford. If you don’t want a manual, then you can get the Corolla iM with a continuously variable automatic transmission for $19,490.

The manual, however, is a good choice. It’s smooth and easy to shift with a light clutch that won’t tire your leg in heavy traffic. If you’re looking to get a new driver into a manual transmission vehicle, this is a good option and makes for a more fun driving experience. It also has great fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city/35 highway that adds to its long-term affordability.

Looking for a Toyota Corolla iM? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

The Corolla iM offers impressive standard safety features for such an affordable car. The standard Toyota Safety Sense C package includes pre-collision system, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. There’s also the Star Safety System with enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, and smart stop technology. All of this is included without having to add expensive packages and makes the Corolla iM a fantastic deal.

The interior of the Corolla iM isn’t fancy. This is an economy car and it looks like one, but it does the job with style and comfort. Seats are firm and supportive with good adjustability. Trims, although plastic, are attractive and create a pleasant space. There’s also a 7-inch touchscreen display with AM/FM/HD Radio and 6 speakers. Sound quality isn’t fantastic and the upgraded system adds features like navigation, but does nothing for the audio quality.

Handling is surprisingly good with responsive steering and braking is solid. The ride, however, is stiff and you’ll feel the bumps and dips in the road. There’s also a fair amount of road and wind noise. The good news is this is a small car so conversation is easy with rear passengers even at highway speeds. When it’s cargo you’re carrying instead of people, there’s 20.8 cubic feet when you fold down the 60/40 split second row.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM adds an affordable hatchback to the Corolla lineup. It comes with ample safety features and attractive styling that make it a great starter car.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin