We feature a lot of cars that, while great to look at, aren’t exactly in most people’s budget. So when Toyota approached us about being one of the first groups to test out the new 2014 Corolla, we thought it might actually be informative for readers looking to make a daily driver purchase. Toyota sent us out to San Diego to test drive the new 2014 Corolla L, LE, LE Eco, and S and here’s what we thought:
How It Looks
Will the 2014 Toyota Corolla ever be mistaken for a Lamborghini? Clearly not, but the more aggressive styling on the new Corolla is a nice step up from the fairly bland look the car has sported in the past. This makes complete sense when you figure the price point ($16,800 for a base Corolla L) is ideal for younger car buyers. This is the 11th generation model and is the first one we’d really consider sporty or athletic in any way. The S grade, which will be the focus of the marketing campaign, also features a sport front fascia, a rear spoiler, 17″ alloy wheels, and fog lamps and is clearly the best looking of the line. However, as we’ll mention later, it might not be the best of the lot to purchase.
On the inside, we’ll give the Corolla this, it’s spacious. The longer wheelbase definitely adds to the roominess of a car that was already fairly roomy. Everything used throughout the interior feels nicer than past Corollas even if it’s all promoted in such simplistic terms as, “Soft touch materials.”
Upgrading to get the Next Generation Entune Audio unit is worth it in our book. They ditched the subscription model and now the price is just built in to the purchase of the car. Entune Premium gives you access to an app suite with things like Yelp, OpenTable, and more and they ditched the clickable arrows to allow for swiping and easier navigation. It’s all part of a sharp looking display on the center console which is just one of the nice touches to the interior.
Since you’re probably looking at the Corolla for reliability and value and not so much crazy performance, the improved styling is a huge plus. Nobody really wanted to drive their mom’s car and this no longer looks like it.
How It Drives
It’s a Corolla. You don’t buy it because you want a car with a ton of ponies under the hood. The ride is smooth in all grades including the sportier S and you’re obviously going to get pretty good gas mileage (42 mpg highway if you go with the LE Eco). The ride is quiet and relaxing as you might expect. When it comes to the different grades, it does get a bit interesting. If you happen to go for the LE Eco ($18,700 base), instead of the 132-hp engine, you’ll get one with 140-hp and better gas mileage. Obviously the small difference in power isn’t really noticeable, but still the LE Eco becomes the most interesting option of the bunch even if most will go for the LE ($18,300 base) or S ($19,000 base). Getting your hands on an LE Eco might be tough because they won’t be produced as much as the other models, at least at the beginning. Why the S doesn’t get a boost is odd and makes us recommend the LE or LE Eco a bit more than their pricier but sportier brethren.
There’s a reason the Corolla is the best-selling car of all time, it’s reliable, comfortable, and offers solid value. None of that will change with the 2014 release and the improved looks should help sway some of that younger demo they clearly want to go for. That said, it’s still a Corolla. You aren’t buying it because you want an intense driving experience, you’re buying it because you want a car that will last, offers good gas mileage, and is fairly easy on the old wallet. Corolla nails all that and is no longer boring to look at. It hits showrooms in September.