When it comes to talking about a Toyota Corolla words like “sporty”, “agile” or “fierce” would not be a way to describe any of the previous generations. The styling was about as enthusiastic as an IRS Auditors day. But this new Corolla… it seems Toyota pulled out a few tricks that we had no idea they had. There is one word to describe the new Corolla “eye-catching”. Okay, that’s two words, but you get the picture…
Inside, out the Corolla has been fully redesigned for 2014 with a “fierce” attitude. The new styling is much more appealing than before offering a sportier and aggressive design. At the front you’ll notice standard LED headlamps and a larger mouthed grille. A lot of the styling cues are courtesy of the Avalon giving the Corolla a more grown up look that will continue to look brilliant many years down the road. The side profile and rear are more simplified than the front with body wrapping taillights and trunk mounted lip spoiler – included in the “S” model.
Toyota offered us an array of Corolla trim levels, but I sprung for this Blue Crush Metallic S Premium. Adding the “S” badge upgrades the sharp looking sedan with 17” alloy wheels with painted black inserts, front fog lamps, and a decorative piano black finished grille with chrome mascara. Unlike the previous “S” models you won’t find body moldings adhered as if it was an afterthought. No, this new “S” trimmed Corolla is by far one sexy sedan!
The same story goes for the inside. Inside the new Corolla, it’s very “sporty”. It’s fitted with loads of piano black finish treatments around the infotainment system and gear lever. But what I love most about the interior is how well the trim is laid out. The flat dash design gives a 3-dimensional illusion split with piano black, silver, and blue trimming that is also resembled on the doors. It’s these little things that got me hooked.
Included with this “S” badging came with a fanatic black leather interior with white pin striped stitching and heated front seats. The driver is able to find comfort with ease through the 4-way power adjustable seat. The leather wrapped steering wheel felt thick & comfortable in your hands. The audio mounted controls are much like the Toyota RAV4, which is well laid out and are easy to use. The gauges on the other hand… in the lower models like the L and LE will too have similar gauges to the Toyota RAV4. However the addition of the “S” badge, the gauges are upgraded to a more sport driven layout wrapped in silver and black finish. And at the push of a button those gauges burst into a vibrant blue that is very appealing to the eye.
Our Corolla was a just one whistle away from having all the bells; fully equipped with the optional $1,510 Driver Convenience Package gives the Corolla an extra punch in technology. Opting for this package gets you Smart Key System with Push Button Start, Entune JBL Premium Audio, and Navigation with Traffic and Weather updates. Standard on all Corollas’ is a 6.1” high-resolution touch screen display that is quick & snappy along with a rear backup camera. There was some difficultly using the voice activation at first; it took some time to learn. But once I figured most of it out, everything else was super easy. Besides… how can you be mad at a system that greets you with “How may I help you” or “What would you like to do”?
So now you’re thinking, “has Toyota increased the power in the Corolla”? No! They haven’t. As expected the Corolla is front wheel drive powered by a 132hp 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine with 128lb-ft torque. But don’t let that get you down. Now, you’re not going to win any drag races, especially when it takes a mere 11 seconds to 60mph; but the Corolla turned out to be quite a good drive. The Corolla does use a very interesting CVT system that allows you use manually shift through gears for a more sport driven experience.
The Corolla is quite slow setting off, but once you engage “Sport” mode and hit about 4,000rpms, this CVT starts to become very lively and energetic to drive. Using the steering wheel paddle shifters (or the gear lever) your CVT turns into a 7-speed. Gear changes become extremely rapid and smooth, egging me on for more as it rev’s up to 6,000rpm. Flowing through corners is tight and “agile” through the responsive steering system. Unlike most “sport” sedans the steering is nicely done, its tight for precise handling yet loose for a more comfortable everyday driving experience.
The suspension had a sport feel; it was smooth for the most part but could feel the road under you and all its imperfections. Road and wind noise was noticeable but not unbearable; I found cranking up the tunes was a better soundtrack. The Corolla is fitted with phenomenal brakes; 10.8” in the front and 10.2” at the rear (on “S” trim models). The gas mileage was phenomenal too reaching 28mpg city and 35mpg highway for a combined average of 31.4mpg. When it came to fueling the Corolla, Unleaded fuel will do and takes 13.2 gallons to fuel it up that cost an affordable $35 if you take all the way down to the empty light. Roughly 400 miles can be taken out of the Corolla… if you drive economically of course.
One of the great things about the Corolla is its affordability, and I don’t mean how much the overall sticker price is. The Corolla is cheap to maintain and fairly cheap to insure. Considering that the Corolla has a wide range of drivers from Teenagers, College Students, to Commuters and the “Point A to Point B” types; I shopped around for insurance. Obviously depending on your driving situation I found quotes ranging from $350 (mid-aged 30 year olds) to $1,800 (16 year olds)… that are on a 6-month policy.
The Corolla has come quite a long way from being that boring tax man economy box; it’s great seeing it in a whole new light with a new “sporty” attitude. Whether you’re 16 or 55 the Corolla can fit your needs. It’s fun to drive, economical, and takes going from point “A” to point “B” to a whole new level.
|Price (As Tested):|
|2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium:||$20,400|
|Power Tilt/Sliding Moonroof:||$850|
|Driver Convenience Package:||$1,510|
**Disclaimer: Insurance quotes were based off my location, driving record, and amount of coverage. Actual Insurance quotes will vary**