Published on November 5th, 2015 | by Jo Borrás


Test Drive: The 50 MPG 2016 Toyota Corolla S

November 5th, 2015 by  

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 a bit on the low side by sticking to the posted speed limit in a bid to boost fuel economy. Yes, that is considered “hypermiling” by some people. That said, I do those things with each and every car I test drive, and I’ve never seen cars so significantly and consistently outperform 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.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • rockyredneck

    Jo did say that he used hypermiling techniques to some degree. Techniques you would likely be forced to use, when driving an EV, for good range. The savings and the benefits to the environment are immediate. A better approach than rushing to replace your current vehicle. Certainly, consider an EV if it suits your location and needs but don’t discount high mileage vehicles and driving techniques.

    • Thanks for the backup on this. Maybe I should have included that I got my best MPG figures between 50 and 55 MPH on a steady highway cruise? If I bumped up the speed to 70-75 MPH MPGs dropped immediately to the high 30s, which is right in line with EPA estimates.

  • bill_christian

    I averaged 50 mpg with my 1978 diesel rabbit. It was not a fast car. I would have thought that we would be far beyond 50 today. The big barrier is that we want “vroom” that we very rarely if ever need. I would buy a car that could only go 40 mph up a steep hill, if it got 60 mpg. That wouldn’t cost me 20 minutes a year in drive time. I might even come out ahead, with less refill time.

    • I think you’re ignoring quite a number of things here. Today’s 50 MPG car, even at the same double-nickel speeds, produces far fewer emissions than your ’78 Rabbit. It’s also very likely quieter, more reliable, and is definitely safer than anything built in the 70s or 80s … or even 90s!

      As for your calculations re: hills and drive time- I believe you’re right! 😀

  • joe

    And if you really care about the environment, just don’t drive at all – walk or ride a bike. The solution is too simple.

    • That’s a ridiculous comment, but I suspect you already knew that and are trying to create a new breed of eco troll that wants everyone to live in vertical cities on penalty of death?

      • hybridbear

        I’m not used to seeing the author of the article be a troll too… I’d think you’d be above that…

        • Here’s the thing, kiddo- people drive cars. You know that. This is a car article, and you knew that, too, before you clicked on it. Then you come into the comments and say people shouldn’t drive cars … and you, in your bizarro world, think that you’re somehow NOT a troll? Puh-lease.

          • hybridbear

            You don’t need to feed the trolls, just delete their comments.

            Also, I am not the one who made the trolling comment & I don’t appreciate your tone. I don’t think you should be allowed to publish articles on CleanTechnica until you change your attitude & learn how to engage respectfully with readers.

          • Fair point! I didn’t realize you were different guys … all the same. 🙂

  • Martams

    Obviously a shill of Japan’s Toyota. What a traitor advertising in our midst. Overrated mpgs.

    • Obviously anyone with anything positive to say about anything is a paid shill for whatever product does well in their reviews. What a crazy tin-hat conspiracy nut commenting in our midst! (Obviously a paid shill for Tesla.) Underrated MPGs.

  • John Moore

    The title of the article implies that the car is rated at 50 miles a gallon. Misleading. The idea that a car rated at 37 mpg gets over 50 mpg is preposterous on the face of it. It is impossible. The article and the title of the article are bogus.

  • jeffhre

    “But, like, definitely go Corolla shopping.” But like, don’t go Carolla shopping when you are ready to work on eliminating the monthly gasoline column – from the household budget, LOL!

    • Goes without saying, no? Also like, don’t go Corolla shopping when what you really need is a dishwasher and some blueberries.

      • jeffhre

        …but I have a dishwasher and some blueberries?

        • LOL! Well played. 🙂

          • jeffhre

            Jo, I got some blackberries too today! And I also saw a 2016 Volt in the parking lot, the blue color GM has been showing off. It looks better than I expected. Looks relatively small small from the outside. I didn’t even know the local dealer here would be ordering them.

          • They need a matter green metallic, but yeah- that blue is killer.

  • Michael G

    No other car reviewer is getting this sort of mileage. They get pretty much what the EPA says to expect.

  • David McCauley

    Trusting Toyota is fine (i guess) but you should validate. Start with a full tank, end with full tank so fill-up is # of gallons used….in my experience these dash numbers are optimistic and therefore wrong.

    • freethinker

      yea, not calculating yourself is sort of saying that you are stacking the deck. what’s the point of doing that?

      • I don’t think it’s stacking the deck, but here are my numbers: I did 560 miles from fill-up at put in approx. 12.7 gallons on the way back from the last leg of our road trip. That works out just over 44 MPG … which is still better than what most reviewers are getting and which serves to show that the 50 MPG number is obtainable.

  • Marion Meads

    Still a very ugly gas guzzling econobox with a ride that is very bad for your spine.

    • Once again, Marion’s comments baffle me with their strangeness.

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