- Redesigned for 2014
- New CVT and increased fuel economy (up to 42 mpg highway)
- Styling is a large improvement over the outgoing Corolla
The Toyota Corolla has always sold well and by many measures is one of the most popular cars on the road today. But at the same time, it is one of the least exciting cars to own; competitors like the Honda Civic and Ford Focus got large updates in the last few years, and the Corolla needed to make changes to remain competitive in the crowded compact car segment.
Thankfully, the Corolla has gone back to the drawing board for 2014 and gets a complete redesign which includes a new wheelbase, improved fuel economy, and more aggressive styling inside and out. It moves the Corolla firmly into the modern age, combining an up-to-date appearance with Toyota’s impressive record for reliability and value.
From the outside, last year’s model was one of the most anonymous vehicles still being sold but the new design changes that completely. Borrowing design elements from Toyota’s more recent vehicles (Avalon and RAV4), the Corolla has a prominent, blacked-out front air dam and sharper angles and curves which give the body much needed definition. Sharp LED running lights are standard, as are 15-inch wheels and body colored mirrors and door handles.
Under the hood, the 2014 Corolla offers two variations of its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The standard version makes 132-horsepower and is offered across all three trim levels (L, LE, and S). In the L, it comes mated to a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, but the LE and S offer a new, efficient CVT (the sporty S also gets a six-speed manual option). The more exciting option is a new version of this engine that goes into the LE Eco trim. Mechanical changes give it both more power (140-horsepower) and better fuel efficiency than the standard engine, all the way up to 30/42 mpg city/highway which puts it on par with the leaders in this class. In fact, those numbers are equal to those put up by diesel versions of the Volkswagen Jetta, lofty company indeed.
For 2014, the Corolla has gotten slightly longer and wider which pays dividends when it comes to interior room which has increased and is among the leaders in the compact class. In addition to new, fresher interior styling, the standard features list has expanded and includes a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, USB/iPod port, power windows/locks, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and air conditioning. Other technology like a navigation system, HD Radio, and Toyota’s Entune apps suite is optional.
There are also plenty of standard safety features, including antilock brakes, stability and traction control, eight airbags, and whiplash reducing seats. A backup camera with guidelines is optional for safer reversing.