The cars we loved.
America’s best selling compact car is a little less generic looking this year as it 11th generation design takes a few cues from the surprisingly exciting Furia concept car of 2014. While the lines of the 2014 Corolla are more aggressive with its sharp creases and folds, it very much the same refined, comfortable gas sipping appliance it always has been.
You could say that the Mississippi built Corolla is America’s best built compact, but there might be people in Ohio who build Civics who would dispute that. There seems to be no shortage of Corollas on the road. For a few years before trucks and SUVs dominated the car market, a Corolla was consistantly on the top ten list of car sales.
The new car is quieter, bigger and more comfortable that previous models and is avaiable with a slick “7 Speed” CVT. Why a CVT would be marketed with seven speeds is beyond me, but it’s smoothness is said to be like a well timed fully automatic. Speaking of transmissions, for those who are not trying to chase hybrid mpg numbers (up to 42 mpg for CVT equipped cars), there’s a 6 speed manual (yeah!) and traditional 4 speed automatic.
Reguardless of the transmission cjoice, driving the new Corolla is not much different from any other Corolla of recent vintage. The trusty 1.8-liter twin cam with its VVTi technology carries over with the same 132 hp rating. This time due to improved transmission gear ratios, the 2014 Corolla may actually have better acceleration.
To match the agressive exterior, the interior got a major makeover too. No longer looking like a late 90s mini Lexus, the new dash features leniar volumes and a floating center stack that is highlighted by a easy to use touch screen. While it certainly brings the Corolla into the Teens, it lacks the simple elegance of the previous model.
The 2014 Corolla is only available as a sedan and most of the trim levels carry over from last year except the XRS model and its more powerful engine. The new agressive look make the Corolla look like a cross between the Camary and the sporty Scion LP coupe. You might even imagine the Corolla as a sedan counterpart to the LP, but without the power or sport tuned ride.
The 14 generation Corolla is an attractive value, but under its better clothes, its no giant technical leap for Toyota. The previous cars excelled at being reliable and comfortable, so Hyundai style makeovers were not necessary meaning that the Corolla will likely maintain its loyal following. If solid build quality, reliability and high resale value are your most import shopping points, then the Corolla has no equal (except for the Honda Civic). The fact that the Mazda 3, Ford Focus and Dodge Dart are far more fun to drive would have no bearing on most Corolla buyers anyway.