Speed Dating: the 50 MPG 2016 Toyota Corolla S


2016 Toyota Corolla 50 MPG

The last time I test drove a Toyota Corolla it was a then-new 2014 Corolla that gave me more than 51 MPG on one of my trips, and averaged nearly 39 MPG throughout my test drive. It was a phenomenal performance, and one that had its doubters. After a while, I convinced myself that, yeah, it must have been some kind of crazy fluke. So, when I got my hands on a 2016 Toyota Corolla S Premium earlier this month, I didn’t really expect that the car was going to blow away its 32 MPG combined EPA rating.

To say, then, that I was surprised by what the Toyota’s fuel-economy computer reported after a week and nearly 300 miles of driving might be a bit of an understatement.


2016 Toyota Corolla S | 50.1 MPG

2016 Toyota Corolla 50 MPG

That’s right, kids. After just over 290 miles of driving in mixed conditions that included downtown Chicago, gridlock on the Eisenhower Expressway, and about 150 or so miles of smooth highway sailing at 55-60 MPH, my 2016 Toyota Corolla S Premium tester got 50.1 MPG.

Before anyone asks, yes. Yes, I do trust the fuel economy calculations on modern cars. Yes, I did inflate the tires a bit on the high side (38 psi). Yes, I did intentionally keep my cruising speeds on the low side to boost fuel economy. That said, I do those things with each and every car I test drive, and I’ve never seen cars so significantly and consistently out-perform their EPA ratings- even using their own computer-reported fuel economy figures. Never, except for 4 cyl. Toyotas.


2016 Toyota Corolla S | Final Thoughts

Despite the stellar fuel economy and top-of-the-line S Premium package on the car, my 2016 Toyota Corolla tester wasn’t perfect. For starters, the SofTex “leather” felt a bit off- and leather, in general, seems out of place in what is, otherwise, a very simple A-B type of car. As a baby-hauler, it’s OK, and you could try to justify the leather as being easier to clean- but I didn’t find the cloth seats in my 2014 tester all that difficult to clean, either. Neither did I find the S Premium package to offer particularly Sporty or Premium handling.

All in all, the latest 2016 Toyota Corolla S Premium is an excellent, well-engineered machine that delivers stellar, real-world fuel economy and decent passenger space. It’ll hold its resale value and will reliably get you from point A to point B in reasonable comfort for $23,890. You can also, however, save yourself around five thousand dollars by picking up a 2016 Toyota Corolla without the S Premium package and the fake leather seats, and that’s what I’d recommend you do when you go Corolla shopping. But, like, definitely go Corolla shopping.


Original content from Gas 2.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • JP

    Fill it up, top it off; drive, then fill up again with a top off. Manufacturers ALWAYS overstate MPG on trip computers.

    • GuilleKnows

      I tried myself with a Toyota Auris 2007 and your are wrong, the numbers on the office were even worse than I got by calculation. Maybe you see that in Hyundai/Kia, but I dint think you “soccer” the same on a Toyota.

    • Maybe so, but they’re not usually off by more than 2 or 3 MPG in my experience- and usually they’re not consistently optimistic on MPG. They can go both ways.

    • remus

      I so agree with this. My wife has the 1.8 LE plus she averages 24 in city. When I drive i get 40 on flat highway, but any hill or even a slowdown that dips to 30-32. I would say this car is more of 25/32 in real world vs the 27/39 they claim.

  • AaronD12

    I had a 2015 Toyota Corolla S as a rental car a few months ago. It was a surprisingly good car — decent handling, great gas mileage, plenty of room. The audio controls, however, were frustratingly and unnecessarily complex. I’m not a fan of touch screens in cars (my LEAF S does not have a touch screen), and especially as this one required a lot of eyes-off-the-road time to use. Overall, the car was quite good and I was surprised at the HID headlights.

    • I agree with you on the audio controls, but I just want to use my phone anyway and the Corolla lets me do that.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Some cars are easier to hypermile… but make no mistake, this is still hypermiling.
    The EPA test is still the closest thing we have to give us an expectation of MOST drivers.

    That being said… the last car with a great reputation of “beating EPA ratings” consistently… did it by cheating.

    • I’m with you, but it’s like I said: this is just how I drive. I drive every car I test pretty much the same way, on pretty much the same roads, to pretty much the same places- and if the Corollas are *THAT* easy to hypermile in, well … then we should pretty much all be driving Corollas, no?

  • Steve Hanley

    Cars like this make it hard for mainstream shoppers to consider an electric or plug-in car for normal, daily use.

    • I agree. To me, an EV is still a second car. A PHEV? Solid lease prospect.

  • tb

    Why buy this when you can buy a Prius for about the same money. The Prius will get better average mileage, even without hypermileing. The Prius has way more cargo capacity, and will probably have a better resale value too.

    • The cheapest Prius starts at around $7000 more than the base Corolla, so- no. That’s not the same money at all. As for getting better mileage, I haven’t had that experience. Beyond that, long term ownership of a Prius (like, to 200,000 miles) may require a new battery pack/electric motor *AND* engine maintenance, making the potential repair bills much higher.

      • tb

        I didn’t see the base price of a Corolla is $17k. I was comparing to the test vehicle’s $23k vs $24k for a base Prius. My bad.

        You should be able to easily get higher mileage in the Prius, especially if you hypermile.

        So are the EPA numbers just a bunch of garbage?

  • James Mayfield

    I absolutely love the Softex seats in my 2015 S Premium — I don’t care one bit that they’re “not leather” — what I want is something that allows me to move around in the seat a bit, compared to cloth which tends to grab me. Also, the cleaning is astoundingly easy — any “interior cleaner” you like will do just fine, and it’s much better than the gooey leather conditioners.

    The onboard MPG average display isn’t entirely accurate, and it completely depends upon resetting it each time you fill the gas tank. It usually reads a bit over 1 MPG high for me, though the higher MPG I achieve, the more accurate I get. On a recent 40 MPG tank, it was very close to my calculated mileage.

    The S model provides heavier-bolstered seats, which is a “must-have” for me. It also adds rear disc brakes (the other models have rear drums) and side-mirror signal lights, which other models don’t get. It also has the Corolla’s best dashboard information display.

    The Corolla gives you lots of displays that will help you get better fuel economy, including the Average MPG display, along with an “ECO Zone” display that shows you if you’re getting the best mileage or not. But in the navigation/audio display in the center stack is an ECO display that shows your current MPG in a vertical bar, and then it saves your past MPG numbers in one-minute bars, so you get a very good idea of exactly what you’re doing with your gas mileage. It’s a great tool to use to keep your mileage at its best.

    I moved from a 2008 Camry SE V6 to the 2015 Corolla S Premium, and I’m getting somewhere over 11 MPG better mileage with the Corolla. And I feel that I’m not giving up much at all in terms of comfort, passing ability, and road holding. I’m very happy with the Corolla.