In 2003 my dad packed himself, my mom, us two kids, all our luggage and a week’s worth of groceries into a rented Toyota Corolla to take us on an eight-hour drive to see Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. The Corolla reigned supreme before compact SUVs became default transportation, and it’s still a more versatile car than you might think.

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In today’s climate, small cars are on the out. Nobody wants a compact vehicle anymore, everyone wants elephantine crossovers, trucks and SUVs. Most buy in the name of “practicality,” but I’m willing to wager that these same people also rarely pack their large car up with enough of their crap to justify all the extra room. It’s a just-in-case mindset.

So perhaps that’s why this latest Corolla is so flashy. It needs to draw some attention to itself, make some noise, otherwise, people would look right over it and go for the RAV4 instead (also a good car, but unnecessary if you don’t need all the space).

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The looks aren’t just skin-deep, either. It drives pretty well because it’s small, compact and light. Chuckable. You can even get it with a manual! Can you say that about your big, lumbering crossover? Didn’t think so.

To see why else the Corolla is so great, check out our video!

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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