Toyota’s hot selling compact sedan is all-new for 2014. The redesigned Toyota Corolla offers a sportier look and a lot of value.
After the Camry, the Corolla has been the top selling model in the United States for Toyota. Worldwide, Corolla is the leader for Toyota, since the automaker sells more than one million of these compact cars annually. For 2014, the Toyota Corolla is completely redesigned with a fresh, sporty look. Larger on the inside and slightly longer on the outside, the Corolla provides excellent value and reliability.
Compact cars are rapidly losing their “appliance” look. That’s because car buyers want a vehicle that does more than take them from point to point: these days they are more likely to personally identify with their vehicles — they want a stylish model they can be proud of.
For 2014, Toyota pushed the Corolla’s wheelbase out by nearly four inches, and upgraded its body. Up front is a sporty face, accented by a sleek grille and a large intake. Flanking the grille are stylish headlamps; fog lamps are also available.
The Corolla is marked by distinctive hood creases, color-keyed side mirrors, profile character lines and wrap around tail lamps. Standard steel wheels in the base model are replaced by alloy wheels elsewhere. A color-keyed rear spoiler is included with the S and LE Eco models. The Corolla S comes with a front chrome grille surround with a piano-black insert; a chrome-tipped exhaust is also included.
Inside, the 2014 Corolla is outfitted with a fluid dashboard that flows in an unbroken line from driver to passenger side. The look highlights the instrument panel, the center stack and the passenger area for a pleasing upgrade over the previous model. The instrument cluster features a three-gauge analog display in all models except for the S edition. In the S edition, the Corolla offers two gauges with chrome accents flanking a digital driver’s information center.
Fabric-trimmed seats are standard and SofTex seats are available. SofTex looks, feels and breathes like leather, but it is a man-made material.
The driver’s seat is comfortable, providing good support for your back, thigh and legs. It offers 6-way adjustment; the passenger seat comes with 4-way adjustment. A tilt and telescopic steering wheel column is standard and comes with audio and Bluetooth controls.
Toyota equips the Corolla with a standard AM/FM CD player with four speakers, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and an iPod interface. Upgrades to Entune radio with voice recognition, music streaming and hands-free phone capability start with the LE package.
For 2014, additional space between the wheels is noticeable, especially in the back seat. The rear area holds three comfortably. A 60-40 split folding rear seat provides additional access to the trunk. The LE edition on up offers a center fold down arm rest with a pair of cup holders. There are also two cup holders up front and all four doors include storage pockets with bottle holders.
The Corolla’s trunk measures 13 cubic feet. Fold down the rear seat and extra storage space can be had.
As before, Toyota continues to make use of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine across the model line. The base “L” and “S” editions offer a standard six-speed manual transmission. The LE and LE Eco editions are equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the first time Toyota has offered a CVT with the Corolla. A four-speed automatic transmission is available with the Corolla L; the S edition can be upgraded to the CVT.
The LE Eco edition, all new for 2014, provides an engine tweak that brings in valvematic engine technology, what provides better airflow control to the engine. The result is a slight boost in horsepower compared with the standard engine (140 hp v. 132 hp) and a corresponding increase in fuel economy.
Indeed, the 2014 edition delivers the best fuel economy for the Corolla yet, ranging from 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway for a combined 31 mpg for the base model to 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway for a combined 35 mpg for the LE Eco.
Both the standard and enhanced engines provide sufficient power, typical for models in this segment. The increasingly rare manual transmission provides smooth shifting and should be desired by people preferring more interactive driving. Happily minimized with the CVT is the “rubber band effect” — a sensation that drivers typically feel when pressing down on the accelerator hard, resulting in a power lag. The Corolla’s engine doesn’t strain under the force nor does the transmission hold it back.
Toyota has been steadily and relentlessly upgrading its technologies in recent years and the 2014 Corolla benefits from those changes. Every model is equipped with LED low beam headlamps and LED daytime running lights and offer standard Bluetooth connectivity.
Upgrade to the LE and your Corolla comes equipped with keyless entry, a backup monitor, cruise control and Entune Audio. Entune is Toyota’s infotainment system, displayed on a 6.1-inch screen.
When equipped with a drivers convenience package, Entune is bundled with navigation and an app suite along with HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio (subscription) and hands-free calling.
All 2014 Toyota Corollas come equipped with numerous safety features to include: front, front side, side curtain, driver knee and passenger seat-cushion air bags. In addition, this model comes equipped with vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology.
The Toyota Corolla received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Corolla achieved the IIHS’ highest score of “good” for moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints & seats; and a “marginal” rating for small overlap front testing.
With a starting price of $16,800, the 2014 Toyota Corolla offers tremendous value, regardless of the model chosen. A well-equipped model can be had for under $20,000, putting this vehicle at the top of the segment for best bang for the buck.
Modest price increases for 2014 have reflected increased content. There has been a slight price reduction for the S edition, if you are looking for rock bottom price and are willing to give up amenities. Its excellent fuel economy and roomier interior clinches it for the Corolla.