Cars for Teens is a regular series that helps parents decide which vehicle is best for their teenage drivers. Frederick J. Goodall is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association and provides unbiased reviews of each vehicle.
When I was in college, my friend had a used 1991 Toyota Corolla. That car took us on countless adventures through the streets of D.C. and on several road trips up and down the Eastern seaboard. By the time we graduated, my friend had put tens of thousands of miles on that car. When he finally sold it a few years after graduation, the odometer had surpassed the 200,000 mile mark. His next car was a 1998 Toyota Corolla (which he just recently donated to charity). I asked him why he bought another Corolla when he could have bought any other car. He replied, “My dad bought me that Corolla because he wanted me to have safe, reliable transportation while in school, and that car didn’t disappoint. I never had one bit of trouble out of that car. I figured that I couldn’t go wrong if I bought another one.”
This is the kind of brand loyalty that Toyota earns. Despite some recent recall issues, Toyota has a reputation of building cars that last. That is why I often recommend the Toyota Corolla to parents who are seeking cars for their teenagers.
I spent a week testing the 2015 Toyota Corolla S Premium, the top-of-the line trim level, and I found it to be a solid contender in the compact sedan segment.
The Corolla’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, while not as peppy as some of the other cars in this class, is efficient and gets 31 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway) EPA-estimated fuel economy with the four-speed automatic. With the available 6-speed manual transmission, you will see a slight boost in fuel economy.
Seats: 5 (however, it only seats four comfortably)
Engine: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque
Top Speed: 111 mph
Fuel Economy: 27/36 mpg
Fuel Type: Regular Unleaded
Crash Test Rating: Five Star
Warranty: 3 Yr./ 36000 Mi.
MSRP: $22,955 as tested
The 2015 Toyota Corolla S Premium is an affordable, reliable car that should take your teen from high school to college and beyond.