Meet Grandma and a compact car.
In my case, Grandma means blonde ambition. My mom is a very young 70, loves to travel and meet new people and just has a good time everywhere she goes. She and her husband like to hit the road for day trips, week long trips, month long trips – you name it. They have rented out their house for four months so they could explore the Northwest by house sitting. They do not need a ton of space but they do need a safe, reliable car that gets great gas mileage. She is trying out compact cars to find an option that will let her zip around, park easily and save money on gas.
Loaded with tech – but not overwhelmed
A compact car can feel like a big car with the right color and the right tech. The Corolla I drove was a sassy forest green (technically called 4Evergreen Mica) and the tech included Entune Audio- a Toyota exclusive that syncs with your smartphone to play your favorite songs through the vehicle’s sound system, make dinner reservations, and even purchase movie tickets. The ability to check traffic and find alternate routes if necessary is great for a road warrior like my mom.
My mom has a smartphone and uses Facebook but she is not into gadgets or spending too much time with an instruction manual. I was concerned that too many tech options would be overwhelming but she easily set up the Bluetooth and used the navigation. EZ PZ. The Toyota Corolla tech is very intuitive and my mother found no issues with it at all, although she did say she would continue to use her smartphone for navigation. Change is hard. The steering wheel offered hands free phone voice command controls as well. Once again, very handy when you get used to it, but it may be a bit of a task to get the feel.
A moon roof makes the car feel bigger and it’s an amenity that makes the car feel more luxurious and fun. There was plenty of room in the trunk as well for bags, suitcases, and other supplies that she’d normally take with her on road trips.
How did the Toyota Corolla handle?
The 4-cylinder engine did not make me feel like a contender on the highway but the car felt solid and offered a comfortable ride. My mom was happy to give up power in exchange for better gas mileage than what she is currently getting. I wouldn’t want that living in the northeast but I think it would be fine for my kids and I definitely like it for my mom.
What We Loved
- Airbags- eight in total including side curtain airbags
- Auto Climate Control with Pollen Filter- great for allergy sufferers
- Back-up camera- took a while to get used to but it’s like a second pair of eyes.
- Predictive traffic and weather overlay
- Great price
- Fuel efficient; gets 38 mpg on the highway
What You Need to Know
- Base price: 19,065; price for the model we drove, with moonroof and technology, 22,803
- Overall Vehicle Score: Five Star Rating
- Fuel economy: 32 mpg combined
- Takes regular gas
- Entune Audio with touchscreen
- Not a contender on the highway so don’t pull out in front of anyone
- 1.8L 4-cylinder engine