In San Diego we just sampled Toyota's all new 2014 Toyota Corolla, a completely redesigned car from the inside out. One of the top selling cars of all time for Toyota, this new model will have a huge impact on the brand's sales and image in the coming year.
After all, the 2013 Corolla has still been selling some 24,000 per month despite being one of the oldest cars in its class, having few changes or updates for over a decade.
Styling is the first thing we noticed. The 2014 Corolla has a much sportier look all around. The front features standard LED headlamps from the Corolla L all the way up to top models. The front fascia has a more aggressive lower chin, shedding the Corolla’s previously conservative stance. The grille and headlamps are more modern in shape and detail, really elevating the Corolla’s first impression.
On Corolla L and LE models the front fascia has a handsome carbon fiber look to the bumper area. When you step up to the Corolla S, you get a unique front fascia with a different lower design and piano black finish. The S also gets larger wheels with black accents.
The silhouette is familiar just enough to tell you its related to Corollas of the past but shared Toyota’s latest angular design language. The rear quarter has a handsome stance and new tail lamps tie up the rear proportions tidily.
Wheels range from 15” steel with covers on the Corolla L, to 16” on LE and S. On LE and Corolla S, you can step up to the Plus or Premium grades which are new for 2014, which give you handsome 16” of 17” alloy wheels.
Under the hood, the 2014 Corolla gets a familiar 1.8 liter VVT-i four-cylinder engine with 132 horsepower. While similar to last year’s model, it now comes with a number of enhancements which help it achieve an average of 3 mpg more than before.
Optional and new for 2014 is a 1.8 liter 140 horsepower Valvematic engine. Starting at $400 extra in the Corolla LE Eco model this engine comes with a unique valvetrain technology which enables it to achieve not only more power but up to 42 mpg highway.
Transmissions include a six speed-manual available on the Corolla L as well as the Corolla S. And if you want an automatic, an all new constantly variable transmission is available called CVTi-S. This new transmission is available on the Corolla LE and above, the L still only comes with a 4-speed automatic.
The new CVTi-S offers simulated “shift points” which make it feel more like a traditional automatic instead the rubber band effect most CVT’s offer up. On the Corolla S, they go one step further and give the CVT paddle shifters which enable you to operate the CVT manually to have up to a 7-speed transmission in feel.
On the LE CVTi-S models the 2014 Corolla is rated at 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined. Corolla S gets slightly less due to its more sporting tune with 37 mpg highway. The six-speed versions get a bit less fuel-economy as well as the 4-speed automatic Corolla L. The LE ECO model gets a top rating set of 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway and 35 mpg combined.
On the road the Corolla rides very similarly to the previous generations. The chassis is a bit stiffer and handling response has been enhanced slightly. If you have been a Corolla owner before the new 2014 model will feel plenty familiar.
The interior is really where the 2014 Corolla really shines up. Even on the base L model which starts out at $16,800 now includes features like Bluetooth connectivity, a 4-speaker tech audio package with USB and iPhone connections, eight airbags, and new whiplash injury lessening seats.
The Corolla LE, the mainstream model will offer up automatic climate control, Entune display audio, backup camera, and a wider array of two tone interior treatments and accent colors. With the new Premium trim levels for LE and Corolla S, you can even get Toyota’s new Softex seat trim which is the closest thing to leather you will find anywhere.
The new dash design is laid out horizontally with a lot more detail. A large display audio system is now central on LE models and above with and expanded array of Toyota’s Entune application suites. The HVAC controls are conveniently laid out below.
The center console has plenty of spots for your goodies and cups, and one some models have ECO or SPORT buttons which either give you increased efficiency or a more sporting feel from the powertrain.
The Corolla S interior has a wide selection of vibrant colors and nicely bolstered seats. The LE model which will be most popular gives a generously sumptuous interior look as well, a huge step up over the 2013 model.
The new 2014 Toyota Corolla is landing at dealership lots around the country now. Its new styling and features should really earn it a spot on anyone's shopping list when looking at compact sedans. You get Toyota's legendary reliability, with new features and style that hasn't been there before.