By on October 11, 2013

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Toyota may have become monumental on the basis of the midsize Camry’s popularity with American drivers over the past two decades, but that monument was built on the foundation of many, many compact Corollas. Before Lexus, before Camry, it was the Corolla that earned Toyota its reputation for reliability and quality construction. Forty million Corolla branded cars have been sold globally since the car’s introduction in 1968. For more than a generation, the conventional answer from both car enthusiasts and regular consumers alike, when asked to name a reliable small car, has been “Toyota Corolla”. Like Alfred Sloan proposed, Toyota knows that if you can capture car buyers when they are just entering the market, you can sell them a lot of cars over the course of their lives. While driving the latest Corolla isn’t on most car enthusiasts’ or automotive journalists’ bucket lists, the introduction of a new Corolla is indeed big news, at least as far as the car industry is concerned. Though the Honda Civic leads the segment in U.S. sales, the Corolla is close behind in second place and Toyota expects to sell about 300,000 Corollas this year. They’re hoping to increase that by 10% by selling cars to other than just traditional Corolla buyers, attracted by more exciting exterior styling and upgraded interior features.

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The new 11th generation Corolla just recently started arriving at dealers and as part of the rollout, which includes an ad campaign that tries to be both nostalgic and contemporary, there was a media ride & drive event held in Minneapolis which included technical and marketing presentations. Toyota is a conservative company and those traditional Corolla buyers are equally conservative. As a matter of fact, the word “conservative” was mentioned unashamedly, a reference, no doubt, to the fact that the “new” Corolla is a derivative of the same basic platform that underlies the previous generation U.S. market Corolla. It may look all new on the inside and the outside, but the bones are still more or less the same. Conservative buyers may also explain why the Corolla that we get here in America has a beam rear axle setup, unlike the independent rear suspension featured on Toyota’s comparable European market car, the Auris (Europe’s Corolla is a cheaper car related to the Yaris). When I asked Paul Holdridge, vice president of sales for Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, how come Europe gets IRS and we don’t, he said it had to do with differing driving styles, needs and expectations of American and European consumers.

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The new Corolla doesn’t handle quite as well, even in S trim, as the Auris examples that I sampled last month (capsule review of the Auris hybrid soon come, mon, soon come), but I believe that Toyota’s product planners are correct, owners of previous Corollas and other potential Corolla buyers won’t notice, or care about, the kind of rear suspension the car has. Actually, the rear suspension has been upgraded with angled toe mounts that keep the rear axle located better under cornering forces. Other technical improvements in the Corolla lineup are six speed manual and automatic transmissions in the base L model, an in-house developed (with keiretsu associate Aisin’s help) CVT in the other models (you can get the S with the six speed manual as well), LED headlights on all models, a variable valve lift system called Valvematic in the LE Eco models, and Toyota has rebranded Entune to be the name for all of its center stack touchscreen based infotainment systems. The LE Eco is the first North American application of the Valvematic system. The 1.8 liter 2ZR-FAE engine in the Eco is rated at 140 HP and 126 lb-ft while the standard 2ZR-FE carried over from the previous Corolla is rated at 132/128. Other than the trick engine head, the two motors are identical. While in this application, variable valve lift is used to increase fuel economy, adding it to existing variable valve timing systems as the LE Eco does, has performance potential as well.

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The rebranding of Entune is part of an overall upgrade of the Corolla’s interior. Even the base L model, which does not get an Entune branded system, comes with an audio system that is Bluetooth and smartphone capable. Toyota also no longer charges a subscription fee for Entune, instead making the Entune apps an extra cost option on the car. There’s still a lot of plastic in the Corolla interior, even hard plastic in some cases, but it never looks cheap and most touch points don’t feel cheap either. As mentioned, contrasting detail stitching, first seen on luxury cars, has now proliferated down to economy class. The new Corolla features both real and molded-in ersatz contrasting stitching. Ah, the democratization of luxury. The only part of the car that looked or felt cheap was the safety release on the hood latch, which worked fine but felt a little flimsy.

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The LE Eco model uses Valvematic (which reduces pumping loses in the induction system at partial throttle), low rolling resistance tires, a rear spoiler and manipulation of the HVAC system to get a 42 MPG EPA rating. The Corolla lineup will include L, LE, LE Eco, and S models. The base car starts at $16,800  and a fully loaded S will run $22,300.

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Toyota had Corollas with a variety of trim and equipment packages for us to sample on loops around the Twin Cities, along with a 2013 Corolla S for comparison (more on that later). Other than the Dodge Dart (which is sort of a larger, in-betweener segmentwise) I haven’t driven any of the other cars in the C segment, so I was able to judge the new Corolla on its own merits, and not whether or not it’s a class leader. Since I wanted to take the longer two routes (60 and 40 miles) so that  I could get a more realistic appraisal of the cars I decided to drive only two cars, the one that enthusiasts would want to drive, the Corolla S with the six speed and a clutch, and the one that traditional Corolla buyers would get, a not quite loaded LE with the CVT. Toyota expects for the bulk of sales, 40% each, to go to the S and LE models, with the LE Eco and L models each taking up 10% of the mix.

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The routes were a mix of winding 45-55 mph roads, with some slower 25 mph sections and a few Interstate miles as well. The weather was perfect, a warm early October day, sunny, and the scenery, with trees starting to change, and Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River along the routes, was lovely.

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As I said, I can’t say that the new Corolla will be class leading, because I have little to compare it to. The cars were preproduction prototypes that I was told were identical, parts wise, with the cars now coming off the assembly lines in Mississippi and Ontario. All Corollas sold in North America are built here. There were no visible flaws, but then they were detailed to a fare thee well. The crew from the staging company even cleaned them up between drivers.

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My assessment? The Corolla is an honest, competent car from a hypercompetent automaker. The S was almost fun to drive. With only 132 horsepower, it isn’t going to win any races (unless its a spec Corolla series), and if the steering of the Mazda3 is the standard by which steering feel is measured, the new Corolla is at the other end of the spectrum. Still, it goes where its pointed, there is relatively minimal body roll, and it has enough power that it can get out of its own way even if it only gets withing hailing distance of sporting. The LE is softer, with more body roll. Toyota tried to make the CVT act as much like a conventional automatic gearbox as they could, and for the most part they succeeded. There are seven imitation gear shifts that can be accessed manually in sport mode and they’re nice if you want the engine to rev out. I suspect, though, that most Corolla buyers won’t notice or even know what kind of automatic transmission they’re using. The only peculiarity with the CVT that I noticed was a bit of juddering in reverse. The six speed manual in the S was adequate. The throws aren’t particularly short and I missed a couple of shifts, though that could have been my fault. The clutch action was fine. I got right around 32 mpg with the S. The LE returned mileage that was much poorer, ~22 mpg according to the information screen, but I’m not convinced that I was using the info screen properly.

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I like the new styling. It has a rounder, more organic shape based on the Corolla Furia concept shown at the NAIAS in Detroit last winter (or, more properly, the Furia concept was based on the new Corolla) and I’m guessing that Toyota’s California design studio had more to do with this car than the previous generation, which to my eyes looks like a Japanese design. Inside the new car is a pleasant space. One major change from the last Corolla is that the platform was stretched, yielding three more inches of legroom in the back. It felt spacious to me back there, but then I only have a 28″ inseam. The seats, both leather with cloth inserts on the S and all fabric on the LE, were comfortable, though I appreciated the firmer side bolsters on the S. There is a substantial false pedal on the left, if you’re the sort who braces when braking. Ergonomics are good and there are some thoughtful design touches like the way the arc of the cowl over the instrument panel echoes the curve of the steering wheel, and how the asymmetrical center stack visually curves around the wheel as well. Even with all those curves, Toyota designers were going for a linear, horizontal look with the dashboard so it has a spread out feel. The word “retro” was mentioned, which coincidentally is the word I used to describe the not entirely dissimilar Auris dash. According to the presentations, they were going for a more spacious feel to the cabin. The new Corolla is not as airy or as wide as the Dodge Dart but it’s not cramped.

Corolla Furia concept at the 2013 NAIAS in Detroit

Corolla Furia concept at the 2013 NAIAS in Detroit

Of course the improved interior includes the now ubiquitous contrasting detail stitching on the upholstery and there are luxury touches like piano black and flashes of color. There is a thin detail line that runs from door to door, across the dashboard. On the S that I drove it was blue, and on the LE it was a nice wood tone, which complemented the beige upholstery well. In the presentation they stressed the increased number of interior and exterior color choices. Perhaps we’re seeing an end to the “you can have any color interior you want as long as it’s a shade of grey” era.

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The Entune systems in both cars easily paired to my Android phone and Steve Kimock’s various bands sounded just fine in both cars.

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The Corolla is a very quiet, well composed car. It didn’t handle harsh, rough pavement as well as the Toyota Crown Royal did, but for a compact car the ride is admirable. It’s rather remarkable just how good economy cars are today. Brakes on the S were very good for normal driving conditions. They grabbed quickly and were easy to modulate. The brakes on the LE, which has drums in the back instead of the S’ four wheel discs, weren’t quite as good, but they won’t disappoint buyers.

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In summation, that might be the Corolla’s biggest problem, trying to satisfy traditional Corolla buyers. There was nothing that I particularly disliked about the car. At the same time, there wasn’t much endearing about it either. The presence of the 2013 Corolla for comparison was telling. Toyota apparently benchmarked the new Corolla against the old one. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to mess with success, but sometimes you can be a bit too conservative. Perhaps they should have benchmarked it against class leaders, it might have had more of a wow factor. Still, it’s a nice little car.

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The new Corolla’s indeed a nice car and I can’t see that many of the 300,000 or so people who will buy the car every year will have buyer’s remorse. A friend of mine has a Camry from Toyota’s “fat product” period, the early 1990s, a ’93 I believe. That’s the car that crushed Detroit. In a number of ways, the 2014 Corolla is a nicer, more comfortable, better equipped car than that 20 year old Camry ever was. The problem for Toyota in growing Corolla sales is that it doesn’t matter to consumers if the 2014 is a better car than a 1993 Camry or even if it’s better than the 2013 Corolla. If they’re going to sell those additional 30,000 cars and challenge Honda for first place in the segment, the new Corolla will have to compare favorably to the Civic, the Ford Focus, the Hyundai Elantra and other cars in that class, not last year’s Corolla.

Toyota provided and lodging for this reviewer.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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173 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Toyota Corolla...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Wonder why it says published 10/4 when I just got an email notification about it, and there are no comments!?

    I can’t see the “wood tone” detail line in any of the pics, I was interested in that part. It seems not to fare so well in lighter colors, as the front 3/4 shot of the beige one highlights the HORRIBLE seam in the plastic near the headlamp. That just looks cheap.

    The interior looks one-thousand-million times better than the old model, and I’m glad they finally improved it. Way past time for an updated power train as well, though I’m not a fan of CVT since my 2010 Murano experience.

    Any comment on how this compares to the new Sentra with it’s nice interior and all the leg room at the back? I think it’d be my choice in this segment – not that I’d want anything with such a small engine.

    Edit: I see the “wood tone” line, I mistook it before for someone having tucked a rubber band between gaps in the door/dash panels.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Bring back the 170 hp XRS and I might be half-way interested.

    The local Toyota dealer is a Toyota/Chevy operation with a huge lot with the two operations separated by a small fence. It would be interesting to see how sales of the two models go now that there is a new Corolla but a Cruze that is selling so well that Chevy has delayed a refresh.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    The base model looks 100 times better without the chrome mustache on the front bumper cover.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    “In a number of ways, the 2014 Corolla is a nicer, more comfortable, better equipped car than that 20 year old Camry ever was.”

    Color me skeptical. You said the steering lacks feel even by the miserable standards of electric power steering. That wasn’t true of that old Camry. I remember renting a standard 4-cylinder LE example and being startled by the solidity of the car and the precise feeling of every major and minor control.

    This car assuredly has more Bluetooth (if that’s “comfort”), more airbags and more interior brightwork (for better or for worse). But… I know time marches on, but I also know this is a smaller car that’s being built much more cheaply (absent those airbags and electronics) than that one was. I’d be interested to hear your comparison in a little more detail.

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      I just totaled my mom’s 1996 Camry V6 and can confirm it had awesome steering and felt very solid. Current Camrys and Corollas you tend to have to seesaw the steering wheel as you go along any curve because there’s no steering feel/feedback/resistance off-center.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        @tony: Agreed. My parents had a 1994 Camry. I haven’t driven this Corolla as reviewed by Ronnie, but unless they’ve improved it by a factor of 22x over the current one, that sentence is perhaps one of the most absurd assertions I’ve ever read in a review by anyone on TTAC.

        The Camry of the early 90s was one of the few cars where it’s not hyperbole to claim it was more refined, drove more smoothly and was of such thorough quality down to the last detail that it embarrassed vehicles that were priced 2x as much (or more).

        The early 90s Camry was a proper “game changer.”

        • 0 avatar

          I should have been clearer because I wasn’t trying to dismiss the Camry. Perhaps I overstated things. In my defense, I didn’t say that, overall, the new Corolla is a better car than the fat engineering era Camry, I said that there are a number of areas where it’s nicer. There is a reason why I used a 20 year old Camry as a benchmark, it’s arguably one of the best mass market cars ever.

          Without driving the two back to back (and I did spend some time yesterday trying to track down a ’93 or ’94 Camry for sale on Craigslist whose owner was willing to let me test drive it in exchange for publicizing his ad here on TTAC), it’s impossible to really compare the two cars but the new car has more features, more air bags, a more modern structure that’s probably safer in a crash and isn’t that far from the old Camry in terms of driving dynamics. The new car is very quiet so it might be quieter as well.

          As car guys we may scoff at the notion that features and gizmos make a difference, but to consumers, those features do make a difference. I’m an old Volvo guy and I can remember scoffing at heated seats, till I owned a car with heated seats.

          It’s an interesting thought experiment, though. Put a low mileage ’93 Camry next to a ’14 Corolla and ask average consumers which one they’d rather drive for the next two years.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            It’s an interesting thought experiment, though. Put a low mileage ’93 Camry next to a ’14 Corolla and ask average consumers which one they’d rather drive for the next two years”

            And 99.9% would choose the brand new car with a brand new warranty, roomier interior, better MPG, no prior owners, and loads of standard safety and technological advancements in it.

            I love the 3rd Generation Camry (Gen 2 is my favorite, however). My mom had a 1994 XLE V6 that she to this day loves and wishes we still had. Inflation adjusted, a 3rd Generation Camry would cost much more than a ’14 Corolla and still wouldn’t have all the stuff that the Corolla has.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    This is “more exciting” exterior styling? To my eyes, this makes the Honda Civic look like an Audi in comparison. The Corolla looks lumpy and ill-proportioned. The matte-black/plastic front bumper is especially badly integrated.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Is it just this computer, or does the main page with the link to this story really have 15 pages of fragmented thumbnails & photos below it before I get to the next story down?

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      For me, the front page is frozen on October 1st, with the Aston Cygnet story at the top. I have to click the tabs for “news” and “reviews” to get the new articles. And yes, the reviews page is going berserk with thumbnails from this article.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    “When I asked Paul Holdridge, vice president of sales for Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, how come Europe gets IRS and we don’t, he said it had to do with differing driving styles, needs and expectations of American and European consumers.”

    *sigh*

    What a depressing answer. We expect little, and receive thusly.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Maybe it just means we have better roads?

      Plus we have guns so many of us males don’t need to aggressively drive.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        Better roads? Surely you must be joking!

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        I read it to mean we’re cheap and don’t really care how our cars work, and we drive like the most negligent examples of the walking dead. I might already have an opinion on this though, I’ll admit.

        Besides, it’s not aggression, it’s motivation. Don’t you want to get to the range (or dark alley, or wherever your firearms see use) in good time?

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “Besides, it’s not aggression, it’s motivation.”

          With you, I’d believe that.

          But then you don’t appear to be fond of using terms like thrash, cane, flog, whip, hammer, spank, nail.. etc. when referring to operating a motor vehicle.

          I’m also convinced you’re free of misogyny and don’t see your car as a surrogate beeyotch. What’s a nice boy like you doing in a place like this?

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        European driving enthusiasts buy a car. American driving enthusiasts buy a car with a V-freakin’-8.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          “European driving enthusiasts buy a car. American driving enthusiasts buy a car with a V-freakin’-8 and no steering capability.”

          There, fixed that for ya. ;)

  • avatar
    Wagen

    Wow, the LED clock from the ’80s is still there.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I meant to mention that. It’s the same one as in my 01 GS as well.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Ditto my 1996 4runner and my parents’ 2009 RX350 (!) I almost think it’s like a secret little reminder that they left themselves of the ‘Golden Age of Toyota.’

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Stop trying to make “Golden Age” work. It’s not going to work!

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’d say late 80s-mid 90s were very much a golden age for Toyota, atleast as far as product quality and excitement goes. One single car can sum up the awesomeness that was early 90s Toyota: the Supercharged, mid engined, Previa AWD. Nevermind that it sold poorly due to a staggering price. The fact that Toyota was willing to sell such a car in the US market gets kudos from me. It was unique, roomy, incredibly tough. The 1993 Corolla was the mini-Lexus of compacts, the 92-96 Camry is the epitome of overbuilt “fat” engineering.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL True or not, I just want you to stop saying Golden Age all the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Oh, what a feeling…”

            Better?

    • 0 avatar
      Toy Maker

      That’s the first thing that caught my attention as well.

      For a second I wondered if anyone at the press event inquired about the dinasour clock, but then remember last month my 61 year old father stuck a dollar store digital clock on his new car because he “didn’t know how to find the clock from the instrument clusters, and don’t want to learn”.

      Maybe that’s the secret to building brand loyalty.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Please, more reviews by Ronnie.

    As boomers who have lived the Corolla/Camry transition, my wife and I are now increasingly interested in smaller cars.

    We only drive when absolutely necessary, we don’t care about anything except reliability and safety, and we’ve both been delighted with the better in-town maneuverability of our Rio5 compared even to our Camry.

    We’ll have to go to the Toyota store and check this out, though we’d both sure prefer a hatch version.

    Toyota may find their core market going back to the car we started with due to changing needs and increasing financial caution.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You’ll the complimentary trips to the dealership for recalls. Yes, wipers switch is being replaced on this car and 2013 Camry and Avalon.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …..We only drive when absolutely necessary, we don’t care about anything except reliability and safety, and we’ve both been delighted with the better in-town maneuverability of our Rio5 compared even to our Camry……

      If that is true, I have to ask you the same question you asked above…

      What’s a nice boy like you doing in a place like this?

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    It’s too bad that the bumpers don’t have the matte black plastic at the corners where nearly 100% of Corollas acquire bumper rash. I guess Toyota knows their key demographic and provides acres of painted plastic for inattentive Corolla drivers to put their drive-by-feel signatures.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    My wife had a 1989 Corolla. Nice, refined car that rusted like crazy and felt tinny.
    They are carrying on the tradition with this one that has poor offset crash tests. Which is the best of the breed? Honda?

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Mazda. As usual.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Let me rephrase that, see how this works: “I don’t know anything about the Corolla except a 25 year old one wasn’t all that great, and the new one doesn’t do great on a new crash test that most cars don’t do great on, so they still suck just like then!”

      (Disclosure: I have an ’05 Corolla I got used. It’s boring, and rattles more than a Great Car would, but the Corolla – like the Civic – has never been a “great car”, rather an “economy car”. At some point I’ll care enough to apply some work to the dash and door panels and shut it up a bit.

      I am obviously going to sell it immediately because the moment IIHS invented the partial offset crash test it went from being a perfectly safe car, as cars go, to being an intolerable deathtrap.

      No, wait. I’m not, because that’s insane.

      Pretty much every generation of cars is safer than the last, though the gains get lower every generation, because we’ve gotten a whole lot of low-hanging fruit.

      The partial-offset front crash will make great *marketing* for a year or two, but I seriously don’t give a flying goddamn about it.)

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I don’t give a damn about any of the crash test results. I buy cars to drive, not to crash. If it is safer than a motorcycle it is good enough for me. Heck, I drive a ’74 Spitfire all summer long. The seatbelts in that car just keep your body closer to the crash scene so it will be more easily identified.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “The seatbelts in that car just keep your body closer to the crash scene so it will be more easily identified.”

          Aahh… like my Finnish Yooper buddy says,

          “Him are funny.”

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          You state that you buy vehicles to drive and not crash, but that discounts the fact that there are many people driving who are impaired, incompetent or just afflicted by a basic lack of motor skills or adequate vision who WILL crash into you no matter how cat-like your reflexes.

          One of the scariest events that can happen to anyone is a head on collision, at ANY speed, fully head on or offset.

          The laws of physics lead to ugly carnage when this happens.

          The parents of a friend of mine from college were involved in such a crash, while driving a 1997 Lincoln Continental, when a pickup truck crossed the center line in a 45 mph zone, on a two lane road in northern Michigan.

          Both of his parents survived, but they both suffered massive injuries (so many broken bones, internal bleeding, head injuries – plaguing each ago them to this day), and the driver of the other vehicle was killed.

          A head on collision can happen to anyone, no matter how great and defensive a driver they are, and they typically lead to devastating injuries at speeds even close to 35 mph, let alone above those speeds.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Has nothing to do with my abilities as a driver – trust me, I am no Jack Baruth behind the wheel. I simply am a bit of a fatalist – when your number is up, it is up. And while 30K+ traffic deaths in this country sound like a lot in isolation, reality is that compared to the number of miles driven your chances of dying in a car are pretty slim. Especially when you take drunk driving and young driving out of the equation. I managed to survive my youthful driving excesses, and I don’t normally drive at the peak drunk driving times, so I just choose not to worry about it at all. At ~1000 miles a year, mostly at around town speeds, the chances of my dying in my Spitfire are pretty slim.

            I have related on here before about the head-on semi vs. pickup crash that happened right in front of me a few years back – there but for the Grace of God go I.

    • 0 avatar
      vwgolf420

      I had an 89 Corolla in college. The only problem I had was that the AC vents broke, one by one, and fell into the dash. The engine was whisper quiet, but yeah, a tin can, but impeccably screwed together aside from those vents. I think I may have had one of the last ones whose VIN started with a “J”. I’m in Alabama, so no rust.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Not a fan of the styling, it has that generic melted look that is so popular with Hyundais these days. The taillights in particular look to be all too similar to the Elantra’s. The old corolla was distinctive to me in that it looked like a third world taxi (and I mean that as a compliment), and actually had halfway decent ground clearance for a modern sedan, something missing from most mass market passenger cars IMO. Interesting that they followed Honda’s footsteps in playing it safe and conservative, in the face of much more sophisticated competition.

    The zenith of corollas for me was the 1993-1997 generation, and a close second place the 1988-1992 generation. Incredibly durable cars with fantastic build quality. What used to differentiate the Toyotas from Hondas was how tough their suspension was: Hondas with their double wishbones and fragile upper balljoints would get eaten up on bad roads. You could hit a curb in a toyota at speed and sometimes not even bend a tie rod end. My family at one point (mid 1990s) owned a 1977 Corolla coupe, 4 on the floor, mustard yellow and rusty as all hell. Now that was an honest old warhorse if ever there was one. I remember my tying a ladder to the roof once, the utility of a car you don’t care about getting scratches on is unmatched!

  • avatar
    nickoo

    You’d be nuts to buy this over a scion TC. For the same price at the higher end, you get a cargo swallowing hatch, better/more sophisticated styling, much better handling, 40 more hp, a double DIN replaceable stereo system, and an honest to goodness 6 speed auto or manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “a double DIN replaceable stereo system”

      Whoa… now *that’s* critical.

      Thanks for saving us. I’ll tell CNN you’re a Hero.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Don’t be a smartass just because you’re ignorant. You can upgrade the double DIN to a system with NAV for a few hundred bucks rather than pay the dealer rape charge to have the car come with NAV.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Ya got me on being an asswipe.

          But many of us don’t care about nav systems; verily, we’ll go out of our way to avoid the extra cost and visual distraction.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          An in-dash nav system?

          No thanks. I’ll either use my phone or a unit that sticks to the window. I can move it from car to car.

          • 0 avatar
            jefmad

            Plus, if it breaks it’s $100 to replace at your nearest Target/Walmart/Best Buy not $1000 and a day at the repair shop. I really don’t understand why people want nav in the car’s dash anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Exactly.

            And a window/dash-mount can be updated every few years if you care (this starts to matter if you keep the car longer than length-of-a-lease) – and I find them more useable than in-dash units.

            You can *look at* a window-mount nav system without having to take your eyes off the road nearly as much as a center-console mount – and that’s a huge safety win.

            But more importantly against the parent comment, a *Corolla* is not competing against a *tC* for most of the market.

            The Corolla’s market is people who want a cheap, dependable sedan. Not a “sporty” coupe – who even cross-shops the two? Very, very few people.

            (Though, GOD, who thought the Corolla’s grille was a good idea? It looks like a bad imitation of an Audi.

            That’s the weakest part of the otherwise handsome Audi lines, and it looks like trying way too hard, on a Corolla.)

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            jefmad, I’ll tell you one good reason to spend extra for in-dash navigation:

            As a driver in a big city, I don’t want to make my nav system look as if stealing it will be as quick and easy as a smash & grab of my window.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Totally agree, not only are separate Nav/GPS systems cheaper, they usually function better, are easier to update, portable and if you find yourself in a not-so-desirable part of town, it takes 10 seconds to dismount and stow the thing away

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        For people who want to update their stereo without buying a new car, it’s important.

        Hey, different strokes and all… Some of us Americans really don’t care if we have big-gulp sized cupholders.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      You’ve shown me the light I’ll rush down to my local Toyota/Scion dealer and pick up a 4/5 door TC for my family hauler and I’ll gladly pay sticker for it because of no haggle pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        The TC obviously doesn’t come in a 5 door, not sure what you’re smokin bud…If you need a comparible 4/5 door, head down to the mazda dealer and they’ll be more than happy to sell you what you need.

        • 0 avatar
          Ion

          Or I can just be nuts and get a 4 door Corrolla

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            There’s nothing particularlly wrong with the Corolla, Actually I like the dash a whole hell of a lot, but I don’t see a reason to buy it when other, better cars, are available at the same price. If the corolla is the car for you, you’re certainly not alone!

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    “When I asked Paul Holdridge, vice president of sales for Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, how come Europe gets IRS and we don’t, he said it had to do with differing driving styles, needs and expectations of American and European consumers.”

    What difference? Did you ask him to expand on that any?

    “The new Corolla doesn’t handle quite as well, even in S trim, as the Auris examples that I sampled last month (capsule review of the Auris hybrid soon come, mon, soon come), but I believe that Toyota’s product planners are correct, owners of previous Corollas and other potential Corolla buyers won’t notice, or care about, the kind of rear suspension the car has. ”

    Ok never mind, you kind of answered it yourself. :) Though I’m curious if Mr. Holdridge was willing to spell it out like this, which we all know to be true. Sometimes I’m really ashamed of the tastes of some of my countrymen in cars…at least the Corolla LOOKS better now. And they’re building it here, which is not a small thing.

    BTW, Toyota, you guys needed LRR tires, a CVT, and HVAC manipulation to get 42 MPG. Mazda managed 41 MPG with none of that junk, and while still getting 15+ more HP than youse guys. Zoom Zoom FTW.

    Oh, doesn’t the rental special get a FOUR SPEED automatic? Might want to correct that….anyway, nice appliance at least but they really need to improve the powertrain technology. They’re falling way behind. And what is with their addiction to the stalk-mounted cruise controls?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “BTW, Toyota, you guys needed LRR tires, a CVT, and HVAC manipulation to get 42 MPG. Mazda managed 41 MPG with none of that junk, and while still getting 15+ more HP than youse guys. Zoom Zoom FTW.”

      The Mazda will pick up even more MPGs due to weight reduction as half the body rots away in no time at all! :p

      Even the current 4spd equipped pre-2014 models crack 40mpg on the highway no problem driven sanely. It’s one of the few cars not tuned to ace EPA tests, it simply delivers in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Yeah, you know Mazda is one of the other few manufacturers that doesn’t tune for EPA tests? It just gets or beats its ratings. They always did, it’s just that up until SkyActiv their ratings were pretty horrible compared to anyone, much less Toyota.

        Anyway, my point stands, Toyota should be able to do better. They’re what, 100 times the size of Mazda? Conservative or not, they’re using 90s engine technology, which is progressing beyond “conservative” right to “backward.” The CVT is good, I hate them, but it’s likely the right choice for them and they’re being smart about it. But the engine needs to go.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      “And what is with their addiction to the stalk-mounted cruise controls?”

      What’s wrong with sticking to something that can be operated by feel alone with no need for taking eyes off the road? Now if only it were like BMW’s stalk cruise control with no superfluous on/off button.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Nothing wrong with it. And that would be a valid explanation if they didn’t deploy so many other controls that CAN’T be operated by feel. :)

        Come to think of it, anyone who doesn’t remember the position and shape of their wheel-mounted cruise controls has got some serious issues. They’re designed to be operated by touch alone you know.

    • 0 avatar

      “Oh, doesn’t the rental special get a FOUR SPEED automatic?”

      Yes, you’re correct. Thanks for pointing that out. The 2014 Corolla L comes with the U341E 4-speed automatic transmission.

      I’ve asked Derek to revise the review accordingly.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Toyota is aggressively going after the younger demographic. If anyone studies car brochures like I do, I recommend contrasting the US 2014 versus the 2013 and older Corolla brochures on auto-brochures.com. They look like they hired some hipsters, whereas previous brochures there was no one to be seen.

    That’s a big deal, because IMHO it’s a sign that even a slow, bureaucratic, conservative organization like Toyota has woken up to marketing rather than just being an engineering led organization.

    It should move a ton of metal for those 65 and older!

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      That’s nice that they designed the brochure to appeal to younger folks, but they need to design the CAR to do so as well. This Corolla only does so in isolation, when you hold it up against a Civic or Mazda3, it looses in cool factor. Hold it up against a Cruze or Elantra and it looses in features.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I thought that was Scion’s purpose in life. Anything is better with hipsters I guess.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Toyota is aggressively going after the younger demographic. If anyone studies car brochures like I do, I recommend contrasting the US 2014 versus the 2013 and older Corolla brochures on auto-brochures.com. They look like they hired some hipsters, whereas previous brochures there was no one to be seen.

    That’s a big deal, because IMHO it’s a sign that even a slow, bureaucratic, conservative organization like Toyota has woken up to marketing rather than just being an engineering led organization.

    It should move a ton of metal for those 65 and older!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Thanks for actually regarding the Corolla within the scope of its target market and for giving it an HONEST review, instead of listing all the ways that it isn’t an E30 M3.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Yeah…. Dykesian but with additional historical appreciation.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re welcome. Thanks for the kind words.

      As I mentioned in the review, I can’t really compare the ’14 Corolla to the other cars in its class because the nearest competitor that I’ve recently driver is the Dodge Dart and they don’t quite match up head to head. Since I’ve never driven an E30 M3 (or any other E30 BMW for the matter, does that mean I have to give up my car guy credentials?) I can’t really compare the Corolla to it, either.

      When I get loaned a car to review, I tend to judge it based on what it’s like to use and drive as it is, not necessarily how it compares to other cars in its class.

      If I drove 52 different cars a year I might have a different way I go about reviewing a car, but until they start dropping off a new car every week, I’ll keep on reviewing them based on what they are to me, not how they bench test against cars I haven’t driven.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The main difference between the 1993 Camry (and Corolla for that matter) and the 2013 Corolla is that in 1993 it was available in wagon form.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      *sigh* Yep. But you know what “wagon” means today.

      In fact, I’ve got a half-eaten (no bites) Magnum Mini Gold ice cream bar right here that gives a pretty good approximation of what today’s CAFE would leave of the ’93 wagon, that proud, tall-assed beauty.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        oh boy, Camry with its triple rear wiper, Corolla with its unashamedly rotund and non sloping hatch, sign me up! My family rented a very used up courier spec Corolla wagon of that generation in Siberia, leaf spring beam rear axle, slippery vinyl seats, 4spd manual in RHD. The hatch had a sticker with “600KG” written on it. That was a great rental for what it was used for: carrying 5 people and backpacking equipment up the mountains and across the steppes of Altai. In one water crossing, water was coming up onto the hood!

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          There you have it!

          The whole world loves a real wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            My folks are basically TTAC gods: they have owned not one, but TWO brown wagons: 1982 Civic Wagon in a chocolate (or poo) brown, with a 5spd, and then a 1990 Civic Wagon in “cappuccino metallic”! Unfortunately, neither were diesel or AWD :(

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            My ’82 Civic wagon (silver/red) turned me Japanese for decades. Only deviations have been Chevy trucks and a Kia hatch.

            But I consider Korean cars to be a subset of Japanese tech and process. Although they may eclipse their mentors.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        Gold?!

        I used to have a ’95 Corolla wagon. Always did like the shape of it, and it accepted various and sundry large items in the rear without complaint.

        The drivetrain felt a bit punitive, though.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The American desire for small sedans absolutely baffles me. A trunk on something the size of an S-class or Town Car is fairly useful, you can get 4-5 bodies in it, or large boxes. The trunk on something the size of a Corolla, especially with today’s swoopy styling fetish, is utterly useless. Small and the opening is so small you can’t get anything in it. If you are going to have fastback styling anyway, just make the damned thing a hatch already! A wagon is even more useful, but I will settle for a hatch. Trunk=NO SALE to me, I won’t even consider a sedan as a daily driver. If I am going to go useless I would go full-on useless and buy a pretty coupe!

      • 0 avatar
        vwgolf420

        I agree. My last three cars have been a Mazda PR5, a Hyundai Elantra hatch and a Volkswagen Golf. I will never go back to a car with a trunk. Another bonus is that it makes parallel parking a little easier because you know precisely where the car ends.

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        The american dislike towards wagons and hatchbacks is what gets me!

        I was just lamenting today that Acura didn’t offer a manual option in the TSX wagon. Sure, it wouldn’t have sold in appreciable numbers, but I imagine it wouldn’t have cost them much to do it at low volumes, and they would be coveted by the people who did get their hands on one.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “The american dislike towards wagons and hatchbacks is what gets me! ”

          Who says? I sure would like to read that one off base study that says we (Americans) don’t like wagons or hatchbacks. I’m with krhodes1 in that I find sedans a total waste when it comes to everyday hauling stuff. A wagon/hatchback makes so much more practical sense. When we’re talking about cars in this segment isn’t it all about practicality?

      • 0 avatar
        joeveto3

        Exactly. Squint, and they look like hatchbacks. So make them hatchbacks. Are we so hatchback averse (save the CUV/SUVs we gobble up) that making these cars effectively what they ARE will kill their marketability?

        Anytime in my life I didn’t have a hatch, I regretted it.

  • avatar
    PGM-FI

    Drove by the old Ranger plant eh? The river bluffs are a nice place to be this time of the year.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    That’s actually not a bad looking car, especially for the class (and this is coming from a Cruze owner).

    It would probably be a cold day in you know…before I bought a Toyota, but I will give them props on a decently proportioned car, not easy to do on this too tall too think modern compacts.

    Now if I could just drive one without my arms stretched straight out and my knees up against the dashboard (Ferrari 308 like), which has been my problem in 99% of Japanese cars I’ve ever driven, then I might even warm up to it a little more. Oh yeah, ditch the CVT too!

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Naah, the CVT is probably the right choice, this is an appliance after all. And making it simulate an automatic is smart on their part.

      I do notice the back seat is frigging huge. Maybe they’re looking for a piece of the taxi market? Wouldn’t surprise me if at least one fleet gives it a try.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    A sign of the times – fuel economy is boasted about, old platform, no leather offered, only vinyl. 2003 Corolla had leather on the LE and the same fit and finish standards as Lexus’. The 1999 models had independent rear suspension, even though it was a bit crap. The 1995 had soft-touch everything.

    Sorry, I’m not impressed by a stitched dash.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      So it doesn’t have enough leather, soft touch, and Lexus.

      What exactly were you expecting for 18,000 Bernanke dollars?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Gf’s 2012 Camry and her parents’ 2013 Rav4 both have all that stupid stitching on the dash. It’s not enough to distract me from uncomfortable seats with nasty fabric and vinyl, and the scratchy hollow door cards. Easily the worst trim piece in a modern car that I have seen is the lower plastic piece on the dash by the Camry’s lower dash storage compartment. The 3 millimeter gap surrounding its attachment point and the creak it makes when you rest your knee on it is horrid. Oh and it has a fake stitch molded into the plastic.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That stitching is really going to look like crap when it all sun rots and starts coming apart. Ugh.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    How does the CVT function in non-sport mode? Is it limited to the seven ersatz gear ratios, or is it free to move to the optimal ratio?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Excellent review, Ronnie, as usual.

    Boredom is in the eye of the beholder, and I am beholding boredom. I just couldn’t drive this car.

    However, I’m still a fan of beam rear axles. Few Corolla buyers are pushing this car to even 7/10s.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Torsion beam rear ends don’t have a bunch of control arm bushings to worry about, this applies especially to mazda’s acclaimed 5 link rear setup. I do not want to be the guy chasing down clunks on one of those in 5 years when its all rusted in place and you have to take it apart!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’m a fan too. Simple, light, no camber change and all it has to do is hold up the light end of the car. It was good enough for my ’84 Jetta GLI, it is good enough for Aunt Betty’s Corolla. Ditto rear drums on low-powered economy cars – no complaints from me on that either.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The reviewer writes that the standard L comes with a 6 speed manual or automatic, it gives the impression that it’s a 6 speed auto and it’s not, it’s the same 4 speed that has been around since 2003, but of course, most buyers won’t care or even notice.

    • 0 avatar

      A correction is in process. The 2014 Corolla L indeed comes with the U341E 4-speed automatic transmission.

      I heard the guy say four speed. I even wrote it down in my notes, but the fingers typed something different.

      Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

  • avatar
    Blaz

    “The brakes on the LE, which has drums in the back instead of the S’ four wheel discs, weren’t quite as good, but they won’t disappoint buyers.”

    I did not know drum brakes were still available on new cars…

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Considering how much brakes are biased towards the front, and how much simpler it is to connect a parking brake to drum brakes, I have absolutely zero problems with this. Rear drum brakes last forever as well. People love to make a fuss about this “OMG that’s soooo outdated” but honestly, can you even tell the difference? I’ve dealt with rear calipers rusting solid on multiple cars, but never had problems with rear drum brakes, except getting the drum off of a car that finally needed new shoes after about 180k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      A huge number of appliance cars still have drum rears.

      Rear brakes don’t take nearly as much wear (my old Toyota pickup was still on its *original rear pads* at 283kmi when I sold it), because they don’t do as much work.

      Rear drum brakes are more than sufficient for a Corolla-class vehicle, in terms of performance.

      The Cruze, for instance, has rear drums. So does the Civic.

      (I’m sure the Mazda3 fanatics will point out it has rear discs, to which the reply is, “does that actually matter?”)

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        I thought I sensed a disturbance in the Force down here. :) Anyway, yes, it does actually matter, going from rear drums to rear discs is definitely an experience, because a properly tuned system will add noticeable braking power when the rear discs are used in concert with the fronts. Going from my old Corsica (Rear drums) to my first rear disc car was like an awakening.

        Not to say rear drums aren’t “sufficient” for a buicky-appliance driver. But rear discs are significantly better, yes it is noticable, and yes it does matter.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “buicky-appliance driver”

          TTAC,
          I want a new user name. Do I have to get another frickin’ email account?

          (Might just go with B.A.D.)

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @npaladin2000

          That is because your Corsica was a crap car. On a FWD car with 60+% of the weight on the front wheels, there is minimal difference between rear drums and rear disks – weight transfer in a hard stops means they are doing diddly-squat either way. In the old days that meant the brake bias was set so that the rear brakes don’t do much, today you can send a little more force back there and let the ABS sort it out, but they still are not doing a whole lot.

          It might make a difference on a racetrack, where you might just get enough heat into the brakes for the advantages of disks to matter, but not on a street driven car.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            It was a GM, of course it was a crap car. Not only that, it was a V6, so it probably had even more weight over the front wheels. But a certain manufacturer who shall remain nameless really knows how to tune automotive systems so they work well, and the proof could be found in the copious rear brake dust of those first generation….anonymous manufacturer cars. :) Ok, it was a Mazda3. Bring on the rust comments, I know that just comes from a sense of inadequacy when faced with the almighty zoom-zoom. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Volt 230

            Once again the typical Corolla buyer will not care about disc or drum brakes, just as long as it goes and stops and does not use a lot of gas and it does not break down.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Volt, I do believe I said that. But I also wanted to challenge the fact that rear drums “don’t matter.” They do matter. It’s just that a typical Corolla buyer doesn’t care if they matter. 60-0 times don’t matter to someone who never exceeds 45. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            So you like the way drums work – the way centrifugal force actually holds water against the friction surface and degrades braking performance, instead of actively throwing it off, like disc do? The way their design holds heat in, where no amount of airflow can help? The extra unsprung weight?

            Apart from the worse braking performance, you actually want to WORK on drum brakes? Having to partially disassemble the wheel bearings, even if they don’t need to be disassembled, just to get the drum off, and then having to readjust them? Backing off the invisible star wheel blindly so you can get the drum off? The crappy, fussy hold-down hardware that is always rusty and that they never include replacements for with the new brake shoes? The wheel cylinders with their questionable mechanical relationship to the shoes, that always end with the pistons cocking in their bores and leaking? The similarly questionable mechanical relationship between the shoes and the flimsy backing plate, with the little pivot points and rub surfaces? The tons of friction material crap you have to blow off once you get the whole thing apart?

            Price? Rock Auto has Motorcraft (OEM) rear rotors for a 2003 Focus for $36 and Motorcraft (OEM) rear drums for a 2003 Focus for $62. I picked that car because you could get it with either kind of brakes.

            Drum brakes suck and they even sucked when there was nothing else available. I don’t know how much time you guys have spent actually working on drums…

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Fordson

            I have worked on plenty of drums. My Triumph, FWD VWs, even front drums on Beetles. On a lightweight FWD car they are darned near life of the car items anyway.

            I would infinitely rather work on a drum brake than deal with the variety of parking brake nightmares I have had to deal with on rear disks, on a car that doesn’t have any use for the performance of disks.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            @fordson.

            You said it man, as someone who does his own brake service and has seen the light with my 4 wheel disc T-bird, I will never buy another car with rear drums. Life’s too short to spend 2 hours beating a drum with a hammer to get it to break loose and fall off, worrying about breathing in brake dust, or spending a few hours on a cold January morning replacing an exploded brake cylinder.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I couldn’t say what fordson or nickoo did better, so I won’t try.

            It’s a very disturbing trend to see automakers revert to drum brakes, even on the rear wheels, when they’re less effective for their intended purpose, more difficult to work on than discs, and just generally suck all around.

            I’ll never EVER buy any vehicle with drum brakes again, period.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          On a smaller FWD car with zero sporting pretensions, rear disc-versus-drum is an Internet Argument at best. You might have to change the shoes once during the life of the car, if you do a lot of ebrake hooning. We are talking about cars with drums the size of a butter tub here.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Hey come on man! I have one and occasionally I hit the hair splitting, nerve-wracking 60 mph speed limit. Downhill, with a tail wind, of course!

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      “Oh, what a feeling….

      SLOYOTA!”

      You hit 60? Did you have the dealer remove the governor? Okay just please tell me you were at least in the left lane where all Toyotas belong. Otherwise my brain will explode.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        No! I am always in the rt lane, but I do pass all scooters (except Vespas) and cyclists as well, although I do get beat by Smarts and those pesky 3 cyl Metros.

  • avatar

    Good review-I appreciate the the perspective of the Corolla’s target demographic. For most people, a Corolla is more than capable of meeting all their needs.

    Personally, I like the new interior, but think the outside looks like last year’s Kia Forte with a RAV 4 front end. Having owned several Toyota’s, including a Corolla, I’d have to say the new one would be 4th or 5th on my list, behind the Focus, Mazda 3, Elantra/Forte, and Dart.

  • avatar
    Prado

    While this car may be on the mark for the target demographic, I am disappointed. More so with Toyota for not offereing an alternative product in this class that would appeal to someone with a more refined driving palate, as well as an appreciation (and budget) for more robust features, materials and styling. They have the brand in Scion, so why not offer a product that would appeal to those who would put the Corolla on the bottom of their shoping list. I would think the ‘upscale’ C class sedan segment would pull in more sales than pretty much any of their other Scion cars of which don’t even sell 20K units anually.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      Lexus HS250h?

      • 0 avatar
        Prado

        I’m not intereseted in paying a $5k+ premium just for a Lexus badge and faux leather. It seems like with Toyota, you can either get cheap drab appliance cars (Corolla, Camry, Rav4) or an expensive Lexus. Avalon is the exception.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      I thought Scion was supposed to be the hip trendy youth brand too, but the way it’s been withering, I’m not sure what it’s purpose is. I heard the tC hasn’t been touched mainly because they’re worried about cannibalizing Corolla sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The fact that Scion is intended for young people makes it desirable to people in their fifties and sixties (especially the original xB), and *they’re* the ones with the money…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “…So why not offer a product that would appeal to those who would put the Corolla on the bottom of their shoping list…”

      Because there’s no money in it. Just ask Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Given how successful Mazda has been with the new SkyActiv setups, that sounds a lot like sour grapes. Besides which, Ford and Chevy and Honda seem to be doing OK with their anti-Corollas as well.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    So, why does it look like a Honda?

  • avatar
    Ion

    I applaud Toyota for finally making the Corrolla look like they put a new grille on the previous generation. I hope they improved the torsion beam though, our 06 matrix rides rougher then my 98 mustang.

    I’m also cool with the new corrolla having rear drums noone is tracking a corrolla and the drums will provide adequate braking for a compact.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    Really great review, probably one of the few from major publications (independent reviews have all been positive) that hasn’t hated on the car for not handling like a Supra.

    I haven’t driven the new car yet, but I’ve sat in it. It looks great exterior wise, though they should’ve compensated the ride height on the S with the low profile tires. The interior materials and build quality are at the top of the class. A complete 180 from the direction the old Corolla was going. Absolutely destroys the refreshed Civic’s interior all day long, the Cruze still has the majority of its dash and door panels being hard plastic, the Focus has been decontented every year since 2012 and uses cheaper plastics on the rear door panels and much of the soft plastics on the front doors are now only on the Titanium model, which is sky-high expensive.

    As for drums, the Focus, Civic, and Cruze all come with them standard as well.

  • avatar
    mike978

    I find this a pretty attractive car – especially in S trim. A nice set of alloy wheels makes a huge difference. Although I prefer the new 3 sedan i can certainly see why this deserves to do well. It is reliable, very spacious (with no rear transmission hump), fuel efficient and can be had for under 20K reasonably well equipped. As the review said if you test drove nothing else you would be happy with this. Only if you test drive other models do you find it is class average in many areas. But you cannot go wrong with it if you choose to buy it.

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    I find it amusing that the Corolla is compared with the Dart, as basically the same kind of people who bought the original Darts in their ’6?-75 run, then switched to Centuricieras, will buy this. My mother wants a Corolla should her ’96 Ciera ever need to be replaced and I seriously doubt, other than a downgrade in interior trim and some exterior quality differences- the Ciera is made with ’79 X body technology, all metal parts and door handles and such- that she will ever notice the driving difference. How Toyota expects to get 30,000 new buyers with leftover IS300 styling and horrible cut lines, I do not know. I’m probably in this price range should I need a new car, but I would be looking at the strippo Caravans and Chargers.

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    And I drove the vaunted ’92-96 Camrys. In my driving, which is not any 10/tenths, nor even probably 5/tenths, but ordinary highway commuting and subdivision/stuck in traffic driving, they were less impressive than the aforementioned Centurciera. The Centurciera was at least, if not better built, than that Camry, and had a better quality feel of exterior and interior materials.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      No offense but that is just about the most insane claim I have heard in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a “international series” cutlass ciera as a beater, but there’s no way it can touch the 1992-1996 camry in terms of NVH, ride, handling, fuel economy, and especially build quality. The one metric it could beat it in is perhaps acceleration if comparing a camry 2.2 vs a ciera with a v6. Then again the ciera was available with a 3spd and 4cyl automatic so that’s more apples to apples.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    There are mumblings Toyota may bring the Auris to the US to replace the Matrix.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    My stepdaughter has our 06 we bought new. I loved everything about that car. Quiet, competent, right sized. My only gripe was vague, wandering steering, which I was able to address with a change to the toe setting.

    On a recent trip to Dallas, I grabbed a Corolla and expected to come away impressed in the same way our green 06 impressed me. Instead, I was horrified by steering that went beyond lifeless to unpredictable and frightening. The car wandered horribly. I made a u-turn and returned the Corolla for a Passat. The difference was night and day.

    Why Toyota insists on crappy steering and handling, instead of acceptable, or dare I hope, remarkable dynamics, is beyond me. The decision isn’t cost driven. It’s simply lazy engineering.

  • avatar
    gossard267

    I would take a new (or low mileage) 93 Camry over this any day.

  • avatar
    JD321

    “When I asked Paul Holdridge, vice president of sales for Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A….”

    Why would you ask this hack anything?

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=4035

  • avatar
    darex

    Hyundai interiors/ergonomics seem to be way ahead of Toyota interiors/ergonomics nowadays.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    A very thorough summary for a ‘capsule review’! So the new Corolla will be somewhat less unpleasant getting me from the airport to my hotel. If they’re selling to people who just want a replacement for their last ‘unbreakable Toyota’ they’ll do just fine. As for attracting buyers who treat every new car purchase as a fresh competition I’m not so sure. This is like going to a Master Chef tryout and bringing Hamburger Helper.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    “The new Corolla doesn’t handle quite as well.”

    0_0

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    The Dart, Cruze and Focus are designed while all the japanInc compacts are styled, funny how that’s reversed. Funny also how much more sophisticated the suspensions are on the American compacts compared to Toyota, Honda and even the VW Jetta.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The domestics are starting to out-Japanese the Japanese… unfortunately they have 2 or 3 decades of lost time to make up for. It takes a long, LONG time to alter perceptions… just ask the diesel engine.

      I sat in a new Focus recently and it blew me away at just how premium everything felt. I’ve said before that my dream car would be a Japanese luxury stick-shift hatchback. Suddenly that might be a Focus Titanium instead. :O

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Yeah let’s just see how long that Focus with its turbo Ford crap engine is gonna last compared to the “behind the times” Japanese motors.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The Japanese have little faith in these double clutch trannies, preferring to move on to CVT or just adding more gears to the traditional auto

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Europeans like the dual clutch trannys, they usually are ahead of even California.

  • avatar
    gisguru

    If you can’t objectively review a Toyota product (you admitted it), why don’t you just be honest with yourself and everyone else and don’t?


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