Review: 11th Gen Corolla, JDM Spec, And A Discussion With Its Chief Engineer
Two weeks ago, I covered the arrival of the 11th generation Corolla in Japan. In Japan, the sedan is called Corolla Axio, the station wagon variant is called the Corolla Fielder. My report caused consternation amongst some readers who do not expect the arrival of the new Corolla before 2014. Instead of simply accepting that TTAC is ahead of its times, some readers ordered me to do better research. Your wish being my command (this time,) I went back to the scene of the alleged research crime to sit down with the car’s creator, Toyota Chief Engineer Hiroya Fujita. I asked him to explain to the Best and Brightest the birds and the bees of the new Corolla.
I also drove the car around the block a few times.
Toyota Launches 11gen Corolla. No, You Can't Have It
When a new generation of the world’s best selling car, and of the best selling cars of all times (accounts differ) rolls off the line at its factory, then this is usually a big deal. This time, it’s a smaller deal. The 11th generation Corolla that started production today at Toyota’s new plant near Sendai in Japan’s tsunami-ravaged north, is a little shorter than its predecessor. It breaks a tradition of carbloat.
Junkyard Find: 1992 Geo Prizm
We’ve seen a few NUMMI-built Junkyard Finds in recent weeks, including this ’87 Nova and this ’87 Corolla FX16 GT-S. However, the car that really comes to mind when you think of NUMMI is the Geo Prizm. Here’s an example of GM’s rebadged Corolla that I found at a self-service junkyard about 20 miles from the car’s birthplace. It’s the circle of automotive life!
Junkyard Find: 1981 Toyota Corolla Liftback Coupe
After 15 years of sales in the United States, the Corolla had become as familiar to Americans as the Nova or Dart. By 1981, Toyota had confused matters by badging the unrelated Tercel as the “Corolla Tercel,” but the actual Corolla was still selling well. With the gas lines of the 1979 energy crisis— by some measures more painful that its 1973 precursor— still fresh in car shoppers’ memories, the stingy Corolla made a lot of sense. The Corolla was getting sportier-looking as the 1980s dawned, too; compare this car to the smaller and frumpier Corollas of just five years earlier. Here’s a nice example of the Celica-influenced fourth-gen Corolla liftback, spotted last month in a California self-service yard.
Junkyard Find: 1975 Toyota Corolla
It’s strange how the passage of a few decades makes the mid-70s Corolla seem like a much better car than it actually was. Granted, it was quite a car for the time, with a combination of price, reliability, and fuel economy that Detroit and Europe couldn’t touch… but if we take ourselves out of the mindset of the Malaise Era and fast-forward our vehicular expectations maybe ten years, this generation of Corolla turns out to be a cramped, underpowered, noisy econobox that lasted maybe 150,000 miles (if you lived in the rust-free Southwest).
Adventures In Marketing: In An Alternate Universe, the Corolla Is All About Sex
Having suffered behind the wheel of a few rented Corollas during my travels with the 24 Hours of LeMons Circus, I’m here to tell you that the current generation of Corolla— the version you get in rental fleets, at any rate— is one of the least fun motor vehicles you can buy. I am convinced that the suits at Toyota have ordered their top engineers to devise a Fun Prevention Control Module™ for the Corolla, a little box under the dash that does everything from preventing you from finding a good song on the radio to ensuring that you will never, ever be able to pull off even a half-assed e-brake turn in a muddy racetrack paddock. With the FPCM™ in full effect, you’ll drive your Corolla for hundreds of thousands of trouble- and fun-free miles, all the while fantasizing about setting the thing on fire and giving some crackhead $119 for a much more fun ’95 Mercury Mystique rolling on three space-saver spares. So, it came as a shock when I spotted this Corolla-hustling ad on a Saigon Toyota dealership during my recent trip to Vietnam.
Junkyard Find: 1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S
Just a few years after Toyota confused American car shoppers by badging the early Tercel as the “Corolla Tercel,” they offered two very different vehicles as the 1987 “Corolla GT-S.” One was the AE86 coupe, based on the older rear-drive Corolla platform and much beloved by present-day drifters, and the other was the front-drive FX16 hatchback, built in California and equipped with the same 16-valve 4AGE engine as the AE86. The FX16 was sort of goofy-looking, with sharp angles and cheezy-looking plastic panels, but it was a screamin’ fast competitor to the VW GTI and held together much, much longer than its Wolfsburg rival.
Review: 2012 Toyota Yaris 3-Door
The 2012 Yaris! It’s a car! That might sound like the strangest marketing claim for a new car ever, but if you dig deeper it is Toyota’s attempt at saying “OK, we get it.” Why? Because Toyota, like most manufacturers, has had trouble staying on message with basic transportation. Need proof? Look no further than the Corolla. The Corolla was a small, cheap and cheerful vehicle that has since grown into a 15-foot long sedan that weighs almost 3,000lbs and can reach $20,000 with options. No matter how nice a Corolla might be, cheap to buy it isn’t.
Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corolla SR5
Keeping track of American-market versions of the Corolla got difficult in the early 1980s, because you had the rear-drive E70 Corolla, and then you had the unrelated front-wheel-drive Corolla Tercel. Here’s an example of a “real” Corolla that I spotted at a Denver self-service yard last week.
Junkyard Find: 1987 Chevrolet Nova
When the GM Fremont Assembly plant took on Toyota managers and became NUMMI in 1984, the same supposedly inept lineworkers who hammered together sub-par Buick Apollos suddenly started building Corollas that were at least as well-made as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts (you are free to draw your own conclusions about GM management in the 1980s). The initial round of GM-badged Corollas were given the Chevrolet Nova name, prior to becoming the Geo Prizm; you still see Prizms around, but the 80s Nova has become a rare sight on the streets and in the junkyards. Here’s a Nova I spotted in an Oakland, California, self-serve yard earlier in the month.
Toyota Starts Second Shift For The Corolla. What For?
A few days ago, 24/7 Wall Street published yet another list of the best selling cars of all times, kicking the perennial Ford F-Series to second place. We usually stay away from these lists, they just produce flame wars, especially when the methodology remains as dubious as in “we looked at best-selling car data from a number of sources.”
However, powered by the Huffington Post et al, the list went viral. And there you have it: “Toyota Corolla becomes world’s most popular car with one sold every 40 seconds.”
Toyota took that to heart today and added a second shift to its Blue Springs, Mississippi plant. It makes the Corolla in America. And yes, in the press release, Toyota confirms that the Corolla is “the world’s best-selling car of all time.”
The Blue Springs plant has an annual capacity to produce 150,000 Corollas. According to our monthly sales snapshot, the Corolla disappointed in January, whereas the new Camry is selling well. In 2011, Corolla U.S. sales had been down 9.7 percent. (With the Ford F series solidly in number 1.) So why a second shift?
New or Used: Which Last Car?
TTAC Commentator threeer writes:
A recent ”New or Used” got me thinking. I’m facing a (sort of) similar situation regarding an upcoming vehicle purchase…for my 67 year old mother. A brief background…
New or Used: Ending 2011 With a Bang!
Junkyard Find: 1973 Toyota Corolla Deluxe
By the time this Junkyard Find ’78 Corolla was built, the Corolla was an institution in North America (at least in the western parts of the country). Not so with this ’73, built when Toyota was still a slightly oddball import marque and the fuel-economy penalty for a Valiant or Nova didn’t mean much to small-car buyers (this all changed because of certain events in October ’73).
Junkyard Find: 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon
You want rare? When’s the last time you saw a Corolla All-Trac, anywhere?