Now in it’s 11th generation, the Toyota Corolla as been significantly reworked for 2014.
The most obvious change is the exterior. Far from its dull econo-box roots, the new design is more chiseled and sporty. Also new is the level of standard features.
Features such as, steering wheel mounted audio controls, Bluetooth, additional airbags, and LED headlights are standard on all models. Air conditioning, touch screen audio, cruise control, back-up camera, key-less entry, heated front seats, variable intermittent wipers, and automatic headlights are standard on all models except the CE on which they are not available. This is an impressive step for Toyota, whose base cars used to be very basic with a long list available of options for sale.
The wheel base has been increased over the previous generation. This along with slimmer front seats has greatly increased rear passenger leg room and comfort. The front seats are comfortable, even for the taller drivers out there.
The dash board layout is neat and functional, without being boring. There is an abundant use of plastics inside which cuts cost, but may add to interior rattles as time goes by.
There are two engine options available. In the CE, LE, and S trim, a 1.8-liter with VVT-i producing 132 hp @ 6000 rpm, 128 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm is available. New for 2014 is the LE ECO model featuring a 1.8-litre engine with VALVEMATIC , a valve train technology putting out 140 hp @ 6100 rpm, 126 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm.
The latter is noticeably less enthusiastic and only provides a marginal increase in fuel economy. Neither engine is intended to be sporty, rather they are engineered for comfort and drive-ability.
The LE ,S, and ECO models come with a CVT which mimics a conventional 7 speed transmission by providing “shift shock”, as the transmission pretends to change gears. Why companies do this is perplexing. If we want a CVT, then we accept it will function differently.
There is also a 4 speed auto available on the CE model only and a manual is optional on CE and S models.
Toyota has a strong record of reliability and build quality. The 2014 Corolla carries on that tradition. The Corolla represents more than 40% of Toyota’s sold globally. This latest version can only increase that.