Who woulda thunk it, the Toyota Corolla is 45 years young! When the car hit the scene back in '68, the Japanese automaker's big picture at the time was probably to fuse styling, quality and economy. The auto global brand that has put gazillions of folks on four wheels has always stood for reliability and the Corolla helped build that solid rep.
After being in production for a mere two years, Corolla became the "It" car in 1970 beating out all its competitors at the time to become the head honcho in these parts, as the most popular import in the U.S.
Globally, the Corolla was no small fry either, as it soon snatched accolades and rose to the number two spot across the planet. Toyota proved to its worldwide naysayers that Japanese automobiles were not metal misfits and their name became synonymous with dependability.
Toyota cranks it up!
Now fast-forward to four decades-plus later, there is no doubt that Corolla will maintain its rock star status as the now 'world's best-selling car,' a whopping 30 million plus sold, as the 2014 lineup of compacts continues to stir things up in the automotive world in a big way.
Toyota has long figured out that folks have body parts that require room and in many cases, cushioning. The Corolla sports a new platform, stretched length, width and wheelbase. And take heed all ye talls! The gangly set now have an extra 5.1-inches of legroom in the rear. Joy! Now if you're thinking trunk space was cut short due to all of the extra inches added--wrong! Toyota has added one more cube to its Corolla trunk which brings its size to 13 cubic feet, enough space to make any Costco shopper want to dance a jig as they load up on oftentimes useless bargains.
In the looks department, the 2014 Corolla spins heads. Sporty, sharp exterior lines, angular headlamps that cut upwards into the front flanks, aggressive front grille with a lower jowl, a lower stance, the Corolla just has a sleeker and sexier design that will make ya look, a few times. (The more athletic looking S trim has a unique front fascia with a piano black finish trim grille.)
Inside the Corolla is also where the automaker truly upped their game. The control layout on the horizontal dash is intuitive and the materials used, appear premium. The five-seater has soft touch plastics with 'a-la-Caddie,' piano black, finish trim. The feel-good-to-the-touch, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls is comfy as you maneuver. Sweet-spot tailored, and whiplash-injury-lessening seating; armrests that coddle, easy to read gauges--the Corolla has all the right stuff for taking long distance trips.
As you ascend through the range from the base L, LE, LE Eco, to the top of the line S, there are options offered that are hard to walk away from like the Entune system which connects you to apps like Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com and data services such as fuel prices, sports, traffic, and weather via most smartphones with a data connection and get this, no yearly subscription is required. There's also an optional 6.1-inch touchscreen (not offered on the base), that manages the navigation system, audio, cell-phone, and backup-camera display functions. You'll definitely have not one head-scratching moment, when operating the intuitive infotainment center which displays great modern graphics.
What lies beneath the hood of the 11th generation Corolla is a more spiffed up engine than its predecessor. Every 2014 Toyota Corolla is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. All trims except the LE Eco kick out 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque. The LE Eco comes in at 140 horses and 126 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual tranny is also offered on the Corolla LE and S trims.
Real Driver Enjoyment
Getting behind the wheel of the perky highway-passer is a fun experience. The Corolla offers a more precise electric power steering system, adequate acceleration, impressive connection to the road, taut suspension, great road thump absorption. The truly responsive sedan, that offers controlled handling has another plus, it hushes the wind and road din so impressively, it will make a librarian look over her spectacles in disbelief.
Besides being a great solid family vehicle, the Corolla is also a road-ready commuter car, as the numbers at the pump will please most frugal Fred's at 29 city/37 hwy, with the LE Eco coming in at 30 city/40 mpg hwy.
What's the upshot?
What is also most alluring about the 2014 Toyota Corolla is the slap-your-knee value that it offers consumers. A potential Corolla buyer will be getting a long tradition of a pretty rock solid rep for about $20,000 and under, a sticker price that is mind-boggling these days.
The Corolla will no-doubt, continue its legendary tradition of being a dependable member of the Toyota family of vehicles and with this latest generation, you'll be smitten with all of its upscale and snazzy changes that will make you a return customer for years to come.
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