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Will the Redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla Bring Happiness?

2014 Toyota Corolla
2014 Toyota Corolla/Photo Courtesy of Toyota

This evening, Toyota revealed the all-new 2014 Toyota Corolla. Leading up to tonight, Toyota has been using social media to show off different parts of the redesigned Corolla.

In the beginning, Tatsuo Hasegawa, the Corolla’s first chief engineer, said the mission was “to develop a car that brings happiness and well-being to people around the world.” Now, according to a Toyota press release, the Corolla has been around for 47 years with almost 40 million sales in more than 150 countries.

Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for Edmunds.com, says, "You can't underestimate Corolla's importance to Toyota's success. Its legions of buyers continue to grow Toyota awareness and Corolla is a strong gateway into the brand. Toyota has had a successful formula with the Corolla, but the vehicle does need some improvement in order to capture the more discerning compact car buyer in this competitive environment."

Data from Edmunds show that the Corolla, thus far, is the best-selling compact car in the United States. Edmunds chalks this up to dedicated customers. Of all trade-ins for a new Corolla in May, 35 percent were older Corollas.

2014 Toyota Corolla
2014 Toyota Corolla/Photo Courtesy of Toyota

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has four trims: L, LE, S and a new LE Eco trim. According to Toyota, all Corollas will have LED headlights, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, full power accessories, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, cloth upholstery and eight air bags. Other features on higher grades or optional packages include a smart key with push-button start, SofTex seating materials, heated front seats, a navigation system and Entune apps. Features available on specific trims and prices will be released closer to when the Corolla goes on sale in the fall.

2014 Toyota Corolla
2014 Toyota Corolla's Interior/Photo Courtesy of Toyota

Toyota expects the Corolla’s highway fuel economy for the LE Eco, a new trim that focuses on fuel economy, to surpass 40 mpg. It comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with Valvematic technology. Toyota notes that this will be the first vehicle in North America to have this technology, which will improve fuel economy and increase the engine’s productivity to 140 horsepower. Low-rolling resistance tires or available aerodynamic alloy wheels are also available on the LE Eco. For car shoppers who want to cut down on maintenance cost, low-rolling resistance tires have been proven not to last as long as standard tires.

Another 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on the L, LE and S trims and produces up to 132 horsepower, according to the Toyota press release. The L model comes with an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. The manual transmission is available in the S. The CVT mentioned in the LE Eco grade is available in the LE and S trims.

The CVT can be changed from Normal mode to ECO and SPORT modes in the LE Eco and S trims. The ECO mode in the LE Eco will control the air conditioning along with some driving changes to get better fuel economy. Toyota says that the SPORT mode in the S trim is supposed to “deliver a more dynamic driving experience with software tuning that alters shift points, creating transmission behavior during acceleration that enhances the sporty character of the S-grade.” Paddle shifters on the steering wheel are standard on the S trim with the CVT. The shifter in the S can also be used to manually shift in the M mode.

The 2013 Toyota Corolla is ranked near the bottom of our affordable small car rankings going up against vehicles like the Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza. After reviewers test it, we'll see if it makes them happy enough to give it better reviews.

In the market for a new affordable small car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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