IMG_4101.jpgLife is full of unexpected moments. At the most inopportune time, it can catch us by surprise to remind us, as human beings, we are not perfect – no matter how hard we try to think we are. However, its moments like what happens in the next paragraph that also informs us as to why car companies, like Toyota, are taking the next step in advance safety features to not only protect us from the world, but to protect the world from us.

After a long, busy day in the office, the 5 o’clock hour struck and like the other 300 employees in our downtown high rise, we scampered to the streets, hurring to enter rush hour traffic and long delays at the lights. Sitting at an intersection, that takes way too long, I remembered I needed to make a call. In the process of searching for the number on my phone, the signal turned green for east and westbound traffic to proceed with no green arrow for north and southbound left turn traffic. Following the first car through the intersection, I found the number and proceeded to call it; however, as we proceeded eastbound through the light, a lifted pickup truck soon to be followed by a midsized sedan made a left turn, to go southbound, cutting the car in front of me off. Because I was dialing the number on my phone, I did not see the car in front of me slam on their brakes to avoid a t-bone collision. Because of this, the forward collision alert and autonomous braking system, as part of the standard Toyota Safety Sense System in the 2018 Toyota Corolla, alerted me with a loud signal and proceeded to apply the brakes saving me from an embarrassing situation, a pile of paperwork and a phone call I would not have wanted to make to Toyota.

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Even though my job requires me to uphold a certain level of professionalism behind the wheel, I too have the occasional slip up, as most drivers do. With Toyota implementing their new advance Toyota Safety Sense system as a standard feature in all of their cars, its situations, like this, that can help avoid an expensive, or life threating mistake.

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Seeing that this is the last year for this generation of the Corolla, I’ve watched it grow over the decade from the boring beige economy container to a compact car that someone could respect and appreciate. Feeling like this the Corolla’s last hurrah, I’ve grown to appreciate what it stands for. The Corolla was never going to win best handling, performing compact car of the year award from its 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine and insubstantial economy-based chassis. But here in the end of its cycle, it upheld a go-getter attitude sporting a healthy dose of attractiveness with its anger management design language.

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The Corolla was always meant to be served up as a car that someone can abuse over and over again. Whether it was someone’s first car, a highway commuter, or the family truckster; it was designed to take the daily brunt of one’s routine life. Having never held the performance title, its little engine managed to squeeze out 10-seconds to 60 mph barely breaking the slower than average record of 9 seconds from most of its competition.

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My last look at this generational Corolla was in the top trimmed XSE formed, liked the one I tested back in 2017. With only a slight difference to the interior, the 2018 now incorporates the once Scion, now Toyota iM interior with a more contemporary flowing design and larger touch screen display. Unlike the Corolla iM though, the sedan can be had with heated seats, satellite radio, and even though someone stole the SD card out of our tester, it can have Navigation.

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I liked everything that this XSE executed – it had little flairs and flavor of modern touches like the small blue trim around the leather seats and door panels. The exuberated sporty styling that showcase more pizazz and spirt. And feeling like a teenager back in high school, our tester featured a bunch of TRD Performance upgrades including the $649 Exhaust system that turned our CVT tranny spinning Corolla into the most expensive, useless leaf blower on the block. However, without fail, Toyota managed to still make me smile as I used the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters to shift through the fake gearing and listen to the snap-crackle-popping sound from the exhaust. Unless you’re going through puberty and trying to impress the opposite sex during matting season, the exhaust is a lost cause ruining the piece and quiet the Corolla can have.

Considering at the beginning of the week, I almost found my face head first in someone else’s license plate, I have to be thankful, not all cars come standard with automatic collision avoidance systems. Seeing this implemented in all of Toyota’s products informs us, that Toyota is looking out for its customers, big and small. And in my book, that makes the Corolla a win.

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Vehicle Specifications:
2018 Toyota Corolla XSE $22,730
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $25,861
Performance Specs:
1.8-liter Four-Cylinder – 132-Horsepower,CVT Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±10.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 28/35/31 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 25.1 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±350 Miles