2011 Toyota Corolla: Rental Car Review

We usually get to review rental cars when we’re on vacation; the weather is nice and there’s no work to get done. Not so this time. My wife’s car was hit while stopped at a red light. It’s now in the body shop getting fixed, and I swapped it for a 2011 Toyota Corolla LE with just 7,800 miles on it. How does a car that Cars.com’s editors have been unimpressed with do in its rawest form?

It drives like a rental.

The most pleasant thing about the drive is it’s exactly like the new models we’ve tested that are supplied by manufacturers.

That means the steering is vague, the brake pedal has too much give and the interior is bland in beige, but it is also beat up like a rental with many more miles.

Luckily, the ride and seats are comfortable, and there’s a fair amount of interior room for the amount of rental compensation we were allotted. We could have ended up in a Chevy Aveo.

Cars.com 2011 Toyota Corolla Review




Two accidents in the Outback already? Tough luck.


Corrolas are rented? Oh my goodness. Malibus and Buicks aren't the only cars in rental fleets? Hold the phone...

And, a Toyota that sucks...wow.

Insert sarcasm here


Misspelled Corolla. Typo.


The Corolla is a piece a crap however what does that say about the American name plates it easily outsells? GM and Ford would kill to have a seller like the Corolla over the past decade but they can't produce one.


It says people are too caught up in branding.


Branding alone does not build a following, consistently building great cars does. This Corolla however is a major has-been.


Cruze has outsold corolla twice this year. Sorry to bring facts into this discussion.


Twice this year? Here's a clue sales results matter on an annual and/or fiscal year basis. For the Cruze to outsell the Corolla is quite an accomplishment given it's an old design and Chevy dumps cars on Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise.
You only fool yourself little GM boy.


I've been in a rental Impala LTZ for the past week after selling my truck. Too much lumbar in the seat is my one big complaint. Otherwise a typical American sedan. It does manage decent mileage on the highway though. And the A/C is great in the Texas 100 degree plus heat.


I wouldn't say that Corolla is completely a bad car. The Corolla LE Auto is not good but Corolla S 5MT is pretty good car. It achieves great mileage and reliable and it pretty good inside and out and not very expensive. Handling, steering and shifter feel are the main LOWs and for me personally a deal breaker. But if someone is more tolerant to a vague reflexes in his/her car, Corolla S 5MT would make a great choice.


"Twice this year? Here's a clue sales results matter on an annual and/or fiscal year basis. For the Cruze to outsell the Corolla is quite an accomplishment given it's an old design and Chevy dumps cars on Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise.
You only fool yourself little GM boy."

1. Someone said GM and Ford wish they could ever sell as many compacts as Toyota. I pointed out it's been done this year.
2. 80-90% of Cruze sales were retail
3. Toyota sells the Corolla to rental agencies as evidenced by this post
4. Cruze sells for more money than Corolla
5. Cruze debuted in 2009 in some parts of the world and 2010 in the US.
6. You have no idea what you're talking about, as is the case with most import fanboys who are still living in 1990.


@ Sheth
Have you seen how many chevy's, buick's, ford's, chrysler, and dodge vehicles are in the rental agencies. I work at a dealership and we use enterprise and most of the rental fleet they use are american brand cars, I still see one camry,accord civic, corolla once a while but no so often like ford,chrysler,dodge and chevy. I had a corolla before and those little things last forever is you take the time and do the required tune-ups. Oh and by the way the Cruze came to the US recently but its been out for like 3-5 yrs worldwide so that car is not that new. Oh I almost forgot about the Toyota recall and the brakes, well for what I've read on the web it was driver error or mistake because they havent found anything wrong with the cars and unlike the chevy cruze that the steering was coming loose while you driving... So if that is what you call a great car then stick to the Cruze... me will keep Toyota and the Accord im currently driving that beats a lot of this american crap, im not saying my cars its the best because its not but it does better than any american car and its made here in the us...



Actually Sheth has a point here. Anyone with half a brain could tell you that the Cruze is far superior. The fact that it's only been out a few months and its already a best seller speaks volumes.


What is the fight is about? Cruze is better than Corolla? Well, it is more modern than Corolla but is it more reliable than Corolla? I have doubts. Cruze is Opel/Daewoo. Oh well. I haven't seen a reliable Opel or reliable Daewoo. As recent test shows, you don't need 6spd tranny to be the most fuel efficient car. So, I really don't care that Corolla has 4spd auto vs 6spd. Yes, Cruze is more modern. And it is still not better than Mazda3. But it sells much better than Mazda3. How anyone would explain that? I think, this is perfect storm. Corolla is aged, Fukushima, modern American compact, fuel prices, sudden acceleration bs. May be some other factors. I want to see us talking this 5 years from now and have people say that 5 -6 years ago they have not made mistake by getting Cruze.


Agree guys that the cruze is more modern than the corolla. But how many time chevy havd change namesplates to the cars? Corolla haven been on sale for like 40 years now and still going strong. It's not how many models it sells, its how good the car it is and toyota have that for years. By the way the only american car i would buy now would be Ford, but i like the camaro,charger and ram but not so sure of how good they are.


"mazada3 boy"!!I wonder how people drive a car with such a ugly grill.


Chevrolet couldn't replicate the success of the Corolla so they begged Toyota for their own version not once but twice! Chevy Nova and Geo Prizm will always be the proof of how superior Toyota is to Chevy.

Soon the under powered rental car queen Chevy Daewoo Cruze will be added to the Long List of failures: Aveo, Chevette, Cavalier, Celebrity, Citation, Corsica, Cobalt, Impala, Malibu, Metro, Spectrum, and Sprint.

I just returned from a business trip in LA and what was my rental car? The Chevy Daewoo Cruze. The week before I was in Chicago and my rental car was? A Malibu. And the two weeks before in Miami my rental car was? A Regal. GM has a lock on developing boring cars destined for the rental car agencies.



your response is typical of closed minded import fanatics who refuse to see the writing on the wall. You are absolutely wrong about the Cruze. It came out in late 2008 or early 2009 in Asia and was in the US by September 2010. It is NOT 3-5 years old as you stated. The corolla is currently the 4th or 5th best compact out and its inferior to both American offerings. The fact that you are calling American cars "crap" in 2011 shows you are ignorant and/or extremely biased. As for fleet sales, Toyota's are somewhere around 10%- maybe a little higher. GM and Ford sell a lot of vehicles to governments which automatically boosts their fleet sales. If you compare rental only fleet sales to Toyota they are likely in the same ballpark. Cruze is about 90% retail right now- likely similar performance to Corolla. Several years ago there was an article that indicated more than 50% of rental cars were import brands for the first time ever. Toyota and Nissan are major players in the rental market.



I shouldnt respond to anyone as ignorant as you but I will. First of all the cruze is selling with minimal discounts- that could never be said for its predecessors. Secondly, its selling for more money than Corolla or Civic. That could never be said for its predecessors. Thirdly, it has a chance to finish in the top 3 in sales this year- something that could rarely be said for its predecessors. In fact, your claim that the Cruze is going to fail isnt supported by anything- which is what I expect from folks who are desperate to prove that Toyota is a benchmark automaker in this day and age. And its absurd to chide GM for making boring cars while defending the Corolla. Pot, meet kettle. And what cars you rented on a few trips means nothing in terms of the total rental market. A decade ago it was rare to even see import rentals at the airport- now its common. I had an Altima rental a couple years back as did my brother when his car needed repairs after a fender bender.



Buying a car strictly based on the nameplate is just silly. "Corolla" is just a name- the current car has nothing to do with what was on sale 20 or 30 years ago. Its great that Toyota has kept the same name- the problem is the car is no longer competitive. Its been surpassed in tech, refinement, engine power, handling and feature count. It leads at nothing. I'm not going to buy an inferior car just because some 90hp compact sold 25 years ago had the same name. I'll buy whats better TODAY.


I own a '10 Corolla and have owned nothing but imports. I decided to drive the new Focus and also check out the Cruze. First of all I have to say the Focus was unbelievable in every way...just an awesome car. The Cruze was also impressive. The design of the dash, the quality of materials, even the way the door shuts was really nice. My Corolla in comparison already squeaks and rattles and feels real cheap. Overall very impressed with the domestic cars as of late. I'm seriously thinking of becoming a convert. Did I just say that?

Derrick G

"Soon the under powered rental car queen Chevy Daewoo Cruze will be added to the Long List of failures"

Do you think the Corolla has more power? It's 6 HP below the Cruze. CR recorded a 0-60 time for the 1.4 Cruze that was a tenth of a second less than the Corolla. Quarter mile was same. So if it's underpowered, so's the Corolla. By the way, last rental cars I had were an Aveo, a Sentra, an Altima, and...wait for it...a Corolla. So maybe one person's experience doesn't make the whole market.


Holy cow how sad it is that the GM crowd has to compare a new Cruze to a Corolla platform that was introduced six years ago! The Cruze is a good car by Chevy standards but overall it's inferior to the offerings from Hyundai, Ford, Mazda, and Honda. Americans are better educated so they're not buying GM cars like they used to. Consumers want style and reliability, two things GM hasn't been able to accomplish hence the forever increasing sales to the rental fleets.

Disclosure: I own neither a GM or Toyota, I drive a Subie:)


When GM reduces sales to rental car fleets their sales numbers plummet. Proof positive they rely to heavily on massive selling to the rental car companies. If the general public liked GM cars they wouldn't have to rely so much on fleet sales.



GM would kill have a car as successful as this last generation Corolla. The Corolla is outselling everything except full-size pick-ups from Ford and Chevy, and the Toyota Camry. The Corolla easily outsells all Chevy cars. Year to date sales through June 1:
Corolla 117,875
Cruze 98,076
Malibu 99,046
Impala 87,319
Equinox 77,884



I don't understand why so many are just plain scared to accept that American cars are desirable and appealing, resorting to the typical rental car and fleet sale "put-down". People, they're cars, not sports teams so what't the point of rooting against a particular brand. Like what you want and let others like what they want.


I was surprised to see Honda's Accord, Civic, and CRV outselling the same models from Ford and GM. I drive a brand new Focus and love it. More people should buy Ford's.


Between GM's poor sales numbers and horrible reliability record of Buick how much longer until they beg for another bail-out?

Derrick G

Good Lord S4, read your own cited article.

Last sentence of the article: "Sales to individual buyers rose 9 percent despite a 10 percent drop in rebates and other incentives."

It also said sales were down 1.2% despite cuts in fleet sales of 21% and cuts in incentives. Your article does more to DISPROVE what you said than to prove it.

GM's not knocking it out of the park, but they are in fact making quite solid progress with the retail customer.


Dude you need to get a life.


It comical that someone would argue that the cruze is to be faulted for being on a newer platform than corolla. That's toyotas issues, not the competition's problem. Corolla is ahead year to date but the gap will close and cruze was ahead in may. On top of that cruze is at capacity from production standpoint and is selling with minimal incentives. Retail sales are about 90% of cruze sales. Whomever claimed people are getting smart and staying away from gm is flat out wrong. Ford outsold gm for two months over the last 3 years. Toyota hasn't done so yet and the gap between gm and toyota in the US market is growing as toyota loses share to hyundai and others. Prior to the quake toyota and honda incentives were near all time highs and that alone helped minimize their share losses. Once they removed incentives their sales dropped big time in may.



Gm is still #1 in this market. They had best profit in decade last quarter. They are likely to be #1 in global sales this year. Buick sales were up by more than any other brand in 2010 and the increases contiued into 2011. They are close to doubling acura sales in recent months.


GM continues to sell more cars to rental fleets than any other car manufacturer in the world. Until they produce better cars and stop fleet dumping they won't legitimately outsell their competitors.

GM's Cruze and Malibu are again on track to post less annual sales than Toyota's Corolla and Camry, and Honda's Civic and Accord. Until GM can outsell segment leaders from Toyota or Honda they haven't made enough progress.

I recently bought a new Camaro and love it but GM needs to do better across their line-up.



You should research before posting. There is no data out there that compares global fleet sales. Vw sells plenty of fleet vehicles in europe just as toyota does in japan. Foreign automakers rarely dominate fleet sales because governments buy from the domestic automakers. Gm and ford have cut rental sales over the past few years. Impala outsells avalon. Lacrosse does as well. Equinox outsells rav4 and if you add terrain sales they outsell crv. Lacrosse sells more than es350 and acura tl. Silverado outsells tundra, traverse outsells highlander and camaro outsells toyotas nonexistend sports coupe. Meanwhile the gap between chevy and toyota in compact and midsize cars is smaller than its been in decades. Toyota is losing share in both segments and cruze may beat out corolla this year.


I don't care about global fleet sales as that does not impact the resale value of my car - only North America fleet sales do. I can tell you're a GM fan boy as everyone knows the overwhelming majority of Impala sales are to fleets.


Without fleet sales the impala easily beats avalon in sales. Probably half of impala sales are fleet. The camaro is hardly a major fleet player. I'm a facts fanboy and I don't like it when people make up things and refuse to admit they don't know something. gm has cut fleet sales and incentives which improves residuals. Gms newer products are fully competitive in terms of resale value. A huge % of their fleet sales are for trucks and government sales- two types of sales that have minimal impact on resale because those vehicles are kept for many years.

Derrick G

"Without fleet sales the impala easily beats avalon in sales. Probably half of impala sales are fleet."

Half right. Impala is closer to 75% fleet, but still beats Avalon at retail.




just rented a '12 Focus hatchback SEL. Great looking car but the transmission is terrible! Very jerky & shakes a bit when u let off the brake...

Brain Greenberg

WOW the GM sells 75% of it's Impalas to fleets!? As a former owner of a '05 Impala I find that disgusting. I wouldn't ever compare an Impala to a Avalon as my uncle owns one and that's a true luxury car. The Impala is not. Buick would make a better comparison.

Derrick G

Do remember though that those aren't all sales to RENTAL fleets. Many go to corporate and government fleets where they'll be driven many thousands of miles. And someone has to fill those orders. So it's probably smart for GM to keep the car around. But it'd probably be smarter to have something better to sell at retail.


The impala is old and likely very profitable. The auto business is about profit and until a new model debuts chevy can fill fleet orders and make money with impala. My point is impala and lacrosse outsell toyotas full size car. In my area impalas are pretty popular at retail. The next gen car is supposed to be considerably more luxurious and expensive.


So it takes two American cars to outsell one Japanese car?! It's no wonder people prefer Japanese and Korean cars over American.

Derrick G

"So it takes two American cars to outsell one Japanese car?"

Get real. LaCrosse sold 61,178 for 2010; Impala sold 47,173 just at retail. They BOTH easily bested Avalon's 28,390.


If GM only sold 47,000 Impala's through the retail channel that's horribly pathetic. Toyota dealers average 1,900 new car sales per dealership which is the highest in the industry so they're the benchmark. While GM has made great strides in recent years they average four dealerships for every one of Toyota's. If Toyota had a model which only sold 47,000 units through a retail dealership channel of 4x it would be considered a massive failure (the same can be said for most other manufacturers).

I don't work for nor own any Toyota cars/trucks. I work for BMW and own a GMC Sierra (best truck made) and a 2006 M3.


@ Sheth
I dont buy a car for it's name, I buy it for its proven record of quality and reliability. I rather drive a car that is under powered and bland than driving something stylish and always in the shop making me to drive a rental all the time. and I do agree with D. I drove a new Focus Titanium and the transmision is horrible. Ford needs to work on the setup im sure they did it that way to have good mpg figures but it need a good setup.

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