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#14

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $16,800 - $21,300
Invoice: $15,876 - $19,722
MPG: 27 City / 36 Hwy
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Toyota Corolla Performance

Play 2014 Toyota Corolla Performance Review Video Video: Corolla Performance 2014 Toyota Corolla Performance Video Review

Many reviewers say that driving the 2014 Corolla is a snooze, though they also write that Toyota devotees aren’t likely to care. While it may not be fun to drive, the Corolla will get you where you need to go, they say. A new continuously variable transmission boosts fuel economy, and a sport mode, available in the S model, offers more driving fun, but reviewers say it’s not enough to compete with snazzier-performing competitors like the Ford Focus and Mazda3

  • "Forty million customers can't be wrong, can they? That doesn't necessarily mean you want to be one of them. The 2014 Corolla drives more or less as it always has, only better, infused with familiar Toyota strengths." -- AutoWeek
  • "The precision of the steering is improved and there's a new gas-saving continuously variable transmission, or CVT, to replace the outdated four-speed automatic. But it still feels like a Corolla - the car that will get you there, though not necessarily inspire." -- USA Today
  • "The car is rather small, so it's easy to maneuver in small spaces, but compared to the fun and sophisticated character of the Ford Focus and Mazda3, the Corolla feels more like an appliance than a driving machine." -- MSN
  • "While still not quite worthy of that coveted 'driver's car' tag, the 2014 Corolla is an improvement. Perhaps more importantly to its fan base, the Corolla remains a comfortable highway cruiser." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has a 132-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is available, as is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). According to the EPA, the CVT-equipped Corolla gets 29/38 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. The LE Eco model comes with a more powerful 140-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and also offers the best fuel economy estimates in the Corolla lineup at 30/42 mpg. 

Reviewers say the 2014 Corolla doesn’t offer much power, but will serve commuters well. Test drivers find the manual transmission to be more engaging to drive, but they are intrigued by Toyota’s new CVT, which they say operates smoothly and performs much like a conventional automatic. One reviewer comments that the CVT-equipped Corolla is a little slow from a stop, but competent at highway speeds. 

  • "With the same 1.8-liter engine carried over, the car still feels pretty much like the outgoing Corolla - competent but giving the driver little incentive to want to push the car to its limits." -- USA Today
  • "Around town, it never feels particularly slow accelerating from a stop, and while the inline-four can feel a bit lifeless during freeway passing, the smooth-acting CVT does a nice job of keeping the revs in the powerband without being overly wheezy. Nissan has some fine CVTs in its stable, but Toyota is to be applauded for its application here in the Corolla. Comparatively, I'd say this car's continuously variable transmission is more refined than what's found in the Sentra." -- Autoblog
  • "The Corolla's meager power ratings combined with the CVT's tuning for higher speeds means the compact is slow to get off the line." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

Though reviewers say the Corolla’s steering is improved over the previous generation, the consensus is that it’s unresponsive and provides little driver feedback. Some test drivers say the Corolla is not particularly agile around curves either, while others note tire noise at higher speeds. 

  • "It's difficult to sugarcoat it - the steering in the Corolla is not good, even by commuter car standards. There is excessive ‘slop’ in the steering system, which means you can saw the wheel from side-to-side without the car deviating from a straight line. Needless to say, there is no steering feel to speak of." -- Left Lane News
  • “The Corolla comes with rear drum brakes unless you get the biggest 17-inch wheels with their harsh-riding 45-series tires, and the drums make the brake action uneven at low speed while the pedal itself feels wooden." -- Automobile Magazine
  • “Keep the car below five or six tenths and it will perform acceptably on your favorite twisty road. Go much faster and the stability control system will intervene, the tires will begin to howl, and the car's weight will transfer from one side to the other in a not-so-graceful way." -- Motor Trend
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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