A NEW MORE SCULPTED COROLLA IS PLEASING TO LOOK AT
A WIDER REAR STANCE AND REAR SPOILER GIVE THE COROLLA AN LOWER MORE ATHLETIC LOOK
A REDESIGNED DASH MAKES THE COROLLA FEEL ROOMY INSIDE
By Vinnie Richichi
Can the 2014 Corolla put Toyota back on to in the small car game? After spending a week in a 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco model it feels like they have figured their popular small sedan out and even made it better!
Lets face it…a Corolla was bland, good basic transportation. Sure they had a tricked out sports model here and there but you don’t see too many of these in college parking lots. They are mostly parked outside the bridge club or retirement home. That is about to change. The new Corolla is sharp looking, fun to drive, responsive, handles well and is anything but boring. Even in its low dollar versions.
Looking at the restyled budget sedan Toyota engineers and stylists finally figured that things like sculpted lines and spoilers really do add to someone’s desire to buy a car. The Corolla looks like it is ready to go, longer, lower more athletic and actually muscular in spots, it looks like the Corolla has been to the gym. The front gets the open grille treatment and headlight openings with LED’s that create a more aggressive look. Wrap around taillights and a rear spoiler widen out the Corolla's appearance when viewed from the rear. It has style.
The interior in the LE Eco version I drove had budget materials, cloth seats and such but it didn’t seem cheap. Front seats were low and bottom cushions were comfortable with the seat rears supportive. Rear seat room was ok with ample leg room. Head room was ok if you are under 6 feet. Designs were pleasing to the eye and the dashboard and instrument panel was easily readable and functional while being less massive than in the past. Front seat passengers will not feel as cramped as they might have in older models. The NAV screen took up a large space on the dash and was also easy to read and use. Toyota’s Entune system connects you up with a number of apps that can be operated through your smartphone. A low floor and wide opening give you a large trunk space.
Where the Toyota is less than exciting is the engine. The 1.8 4 cylinder ECO engine uses technology that squeezes ever drop of MPG it can out of it. Married up to a new for this year CVT transmission it is a bit slow off of the line when compared to other cars in this class. That is part of the price you pay for C VT technology. It seemed at times with a load of people in the car it needed some time to get up to 60. There is a 6 speed manual available on this car and I suggest if you want more out of it than just the commute and run down to the store you seriously consider the manual.
The ride on the LE Eco is about what you would expect. It is comfortable, the suspension built to absorb potholes not to jockey around them. It is much improved over the last two generations of the Corolla. Steering feel is adequate with a decent connection to the road. I’d like to feel it with something other than the 15” ECO tires that come with this version.
Sticker price on the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco version I drove was $19,510. Gas mileage was 30 city and 42 highway. I recorded a hybrid busting 39 mpg in prudent Turnpike driving to Harrisburg and back. The Corolla gets a Five Star Rating in government crash tests.
While I drove what might have been the most economical version of the Corolla it is head and shoulders above what Toyota had been cranking out the last two generations. It gets Toyota back in the game with the Koreans who’s cars with style and pizzaz and a sense of fun to driving dynamics have been selling all they can mint. You can now show up to that college parking lot in some cool duds if you are driving a Corolla!
For more information: http://www.toyota.com/corolla/#!/Welcome
REAR SEAT LEGROOM HAS BEEN INCREASED AND MATERIALS IMPROVED EVEN ON LOW BUDGET EDITIONS