2014 Toyota Corolla Review
This year marks the arrival of a new Corolla. There is a new look inside and out and a few new editions and changes throughout the car. Is it still worthy of its best-selling status for you to consider?
Toyota stepped up its game for its global best-seller. You are greeted with an aggressive front end, new side glasshouse and a very alluring rear end. Though there is plenty of evidence of evolution over previous generations dating back to 1988, the Corolla sports some very extroverted design elements to change perceptions of this car.
It is very safe to say that no one will find the Corolla boring anymore. Our tester, the S model, is where things get interesting, with a more aggressive lower grille and texture, along with seventeen-inch alloy wheels and low profile Firestone tires.
The biggest improvement for the Corolla is its doors. They are larger than ever. By mentioning these doors, another big improvement awaits once they are open.
The new Corolla is now the roomiest version in its history. A longer wheelbase is party to credit for this, as now six-footers can happily enjoy the rear seats, especially when the car is full of six-footers.
Today’s Corolla is a bit lower slung, but very accommodating for the same driver 30 years later. The seats are bigger than before. The S now features improved bolstering and a wider cushion and backing between them. Select the Premium, and you get to sit in SofTex leather-like upholstery.
If you have been the latest Camry or RAV4 lately, you will notice a new ergonomic philosophy Toyota is employing across the board. For this Corolla, a few tweaks were used to ensure scale and versatility to the brand. The S models gets two big dials with a switchable TFT screen in-between them. It is safe to say that the Corolla received some upscale touches with more chrome and satin trim, along with better switchgear and higher quality materials across the instrument panel.
The center stack also changed towards incorporating Toyota’s Entune audio systems. Customers may choose an enhanced App Suite to go along with their Entune systems. You can now get Facebook connectivity, along with iHeartRadio, OpenTable and other associated apps straight from your mobile device. Normally there is a subscription fee to use this suite, but Toyota now offers this service for no additional charge.
Open up the hood and you may not be surprised to find that the basic engine remains the same. Toyota continues to offer its sturdy and bulletproof 1.8liter four-cylinder engine with 132 horsepower and VVT-i as they have for the past few years. A new transmission is added to the lineup – a continuously variable transmission. The CVT is available as the standard transmission for the S. This alone is the biggest improvement for the Corolla, getting the most out this engine with the right gearing and shift points. One result for both engines is increased flexibility and reaction to throttle changes. They no longer seem stressed and underpowered, but, rather, powered right for the new Corolla.
In terms of driving dynamics, you can truly feel that Toyota made a serious effort on making the Corolla a better road car. The lack of roll and lean in the S model was astounding. At regular speeds, the Corolla cornered near flat. You do get some roll on higher speed cornering, but there is plenty of control to keep things gathered in and out of the turns. Steering has been worked on, with little play of the wheel on center and some feel on the turns. A small radius on u-turns adds to this strong steering system. If you switch the Sport button on the console, the steering feel tightens up with a heavier feel for better control. Braking is quite good, also.
In terms of fuel economy, the Corolla promises to get return good gas mileage every time. Our tester achieved an average of 32.5MPG – just above the stated average on the sticker.
The new Corolla starts off at $17,610 for an L sedan with a manual gearbox. Our S Premium tester with the Driver Convenience Package and moonroof came to $23,570 – the most expensive Corolla available.
Everything seems to point to one thing: This Corolla is better than before. It looks better, has more room, drives fine and is one of the better values in its class. Just when you thought that Toyota could make a better Corolla…they just did.
**If you are interested in a Toyota Corolla, log onto CarSoup.com to find out what is available on sale. **
*Photos © Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. *