While the Honda Civic is just about to enjoy a mid-cycle refresh, Toyota's Corolla is reaching the end of its current life, and new model is expected next year.

Until then, the 2013 Toyota Corolla remains much the same as the 2012 car--so don't expect much excitement.

For the 2013 model year, the Corolla offers the same engine and transmission options as before. That means a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine, with an outdated 4-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.

You get 132-horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 128-lbs ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. Automatic models achieve an EPA-rated 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, while the manual nets a 27 city, 34 highway rating. A tank of gas in the manual should be enough for 356 thrill-free miles.

New Premium option packages

Keeping the Corolla afloat until the new model arrives--not actually difficult, as people buy Corollas in their droves--is a raft of new equipment for 2013.

New premium packages let owners spec-up their LE and S-grade cars. As standard, each gets a 6.1-inch touchscreen display for audio, with six speakers, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity.

To the S-grade, a Premium package grants you 17-inch alloy wheels and a power tilt/slide moonroof. Premium Interior adds automatic climate control, multi-reflector halogen automatic headlights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Premium Complete adds navigation and an Entune multi-media system--complete with SiriusXM Radio, HD radio with iTunes tagging, advanced voice recognition and Entune apps.

Corolla LE models offer similar packages, but swap the 17-inch rolling stock for 16-inch wheels, as well as an 8-way power driver's seat in the Premium Interior package.

Familiar face

Little of the exterior has been changed, as the biggest alterations will be reserved for the 2014 models--but you do now get a chrome-lipped grille. The interior is also largely as before.

The Corolla's lack of excitement and so-so fuel efficiency hardly hinder it in the marketplace, so changing neither in the 2013 facelift is unlikely to affect sales.

Really though, we're more eager for the 2014 model, which should improve on the current car with more dramatic styling and greater efficiency.


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