Undoubtedly the 2014 Toyota Corolla is the most significant new Toyota for this year. Some more fuel-efficient, more stylish and good-performing competitors in this segment outclassed the previous-generation Corolla. The 2014 Corolla, slightly lower, wider and longer than last year’s model, has a more impressive exterior. The better front-end style is expected to polarize consumers but at least it’s more interesting and edgier than the previous forgettable forms. An unexpected feature in this segment, LED low-beam headlights, on all 2014 Toyota Corolla is now standard.
It is available in four main trim levels: L, LE, LE Eco and S. All are further offered in the Premium and Plus sub-trims except the L trim.
Exterior and Interior
Toyota says the new look is more athletic, and it definitely is. Modern, Basic, Dynamic and Iconic ideas were combined with the design and would help people who have kids, or looking for a sedan for families. It is almost three inches longer than previous version along nearly four inches of additional wheelbase giving the Corolla a sportier look. At the front, the angular headlights and a gaping lower grille provide it a thrilling look while a character line moves through the length of the vehicle and meets the wraparound taillights giving the Corolla visual width. A different look is given to Sporty Corolla S models having a blacked-out grille in front with fog lamps.
The interior gets improved materials and a two-tier design pushing the corners of the cabin outward giving spacious look. The dashboard, with fake stitching, is now a soft-touch material. All models except the S come with a new three-dial gauge cluster with chrome trim. The S gets a two-gauge cluster containing a 3.5-inch black-and-white TFT display along trip computer functions. All the other models offer a three-gauge look with silver accents. Steel Gray Fabric is offered for the Base models while LE and LE Eco get an upgraded fabric.
Stability and traction control, antilock brakes, side curtain airbags, front side airbags, a passenger seat cushion airbag and a driver knee airbag. All versions except the base L have a rearview camera as a standard.
Power and Performance
It is powered by a four-cylinder 1.8-liter engine. It produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque on every model except the LE Eco. A more efficient and enhanced version of this engine is used in the LE Eco and it rates at 140 horsepower and 126 lb-ft torque. On the L and S trims, a six-speed manual transmission is standard. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional on the L, while on the S a CVT is optional and standard on the LE and LE Eco. The S model offers steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a Sport mode sharpening steering response and transmission when equipped with the CVT.
With the six-speed manual, the EPA-estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway (31 mpg combined) and, most importantly, it is the same with the four-speed automatic of the L. With the CVT, it will give a slightly better 32 mpg combined (29 city/38 highway for the LE, 29/37 for the S). And the LE Eco earns an estimated 35 mpg combined (30 city/42 highway).
MSRP ranges from $16,800-$20,100.
2014 Honda Civic and 2014 Mazda3 are top rivals.
1) Roomy rear seat
2) Simple controls
3) Comfortable ride
4) Extra fuel-efficient LE Eco model
1) Modest acceleration and horsepower
2) The available Entune system is made useless by a cumbersome setup process
This Corolla model is disappointingly overdue as no meaningful change in the eleven years is simply embarrassing, and it seems the Toyota didn’t work to update its hot seller even in its last year. However, the new Japanese giant management is hip, young and sporty and some new updates can be hoped in the future.