By Richard Homan
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
Toyota argues that the Toyota Corolla is all-new for 2014, but that's a mixed truth. With roomy seating for five, the front-wheel-drive 4-door looks all-new, and its interior is certainly newer and nicer than ever. But the mechanicals include the Corolla's tried-and-true 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and the true-but-tired twist-beam axle rear-suspension setup, both deeply refined but neither revolutionized. Competitors like the segment-leading Honda Civic, the Ford Focus and the new Mazda3 all have something tempting to lure compact-sedan buyers away from a Corolla – even an all-new one – but none of them can match the no surprises, bread-and-butter goodness of a Toyota Corolla.
If you and your family have been speaking Toyota for as long as you can remember, the 2014 Corolla is the compact 4-door for you.
If you want sportiness, chase down the new Mazda3 or a Ford Focus. Need to save as much as possible? Try to scrape up a bare-bones Kia Forte (good luck on that quest).
Toyota portrays the Corolla as all-new for 2014.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Toyota Corolla is not out for blood. It is easy to drive, and if your expectations don't exceed the price you paid for the car, it is a...... pleasant way to spend your time – whether on a short commute or a weekend road trip. Its ride is compact-car decent, with some higher-speed road noise present though not oppressive. Both 1.8-liter engines can successfully shrug up enough power to tackle a freeway onramp and find a way around slower traffic. The CVTi-S automatic transmission serves its noble purpose – adding a few extra mpg to the Corolla's bottom line – but like many CVTs, it can rev a bit too freely, loudly at times. You should be getting this message by now: The new Corolla won't bring a twisty road to its knees, but it will get you comfortably where you gotta go without adding any fussiness, and it'll do it for a long, long time.
AN INTERIOR HOME RUN, PART I: MATERIALS
Toyota has gone back to realizing that this is where most people spend their time with a car: inside. The interior design, seating, materials and touch points are all a step up in the 2014 Corolla.
AN INTERIOR HOME RUN, PART II: TECH-READY SETUP
Even in base form, the new Corolla pays attention to audio tech desires. The car includes both an Apple-compatible USB port and an iPod interface, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and is hands-free Bluetooth phone ready.
Telling the real story of the new Corolla sedan means talking about the interior. As we mentioned, this is a very nice interior – even the car's headliner material is impressive. There's plenty of stretch-out space in the front seats, and the newly extended wheelbase gives rear-seat passengers world-record legroom. Rear headroom, however, is compromised by the jaunty sweep of the Corolla's C-pillar/roofline into the trunk – good to look at, but requires ducking from tall-torsoed riders in back.Exterior
Thanks to its 2014 redo, the all-new exterior styling has allowed the Corolla to move away from an anonymity that the Federal Witness Protection Program can't duplicate to an appealing series of folded edges in search of big wheels and tires to punctuate its stance (15-inch steel wheels are standard on base models, but find a way to move up to 16- or 17-inch wheels in steel or aluminum if you can). The car looks especially good in darker colors. And while the trunk capacity is a pinch bigger than the previous-generation Corolla, the trunk opening is smaller.
Like most of the players in this class, the basic Toyota Corolla L comes pretty basic. The most notable exceptions – Nice interior! Cool, iPod connectivity. Ahh, Bluetooth hands-free calling. – have already been outlined. Don't worry, the car gets air conditioning and a decent 4-speaker audio system, plus power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and – all the rage in luxury cars these days – LED headlights. Always thinking of you, Toyota also includes a manual height adjuster for the driver's seat. While not yet ready to tame all the forces in an offset crash test, the new Corolla does offer the protection of eight airbags.
As is the habit these days, carmakers don't offer options so much as they offer option packages and add equipment by trim level. The 2014 Toyota Corolla sedan follows this lead. Pass on the base L version and step up to the LE models to get automatic climate control, Entune 6-speaker audio with streaming Bluetooth, bigger wheels, and remote keyless entry. Reaching up to the Corolla S rewards you with a sportier environment that includes fog lights, a chrome-tipped exhaust and a rear-deck spoiler, plus bolder seats and instrument cluster. The Driver's Convenience Package nets you Entune Premium audio, navigation and apps. Stand-alone option highlights: moonroof and push-button starting.
Without asking you to wade waist-deep into an engine-technology discussion, we'd like you to know that the 2014 Toyota Corolla is offered with two versions of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. The first version, used in L, LE and S Corolla models, produces 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque – not much bragging rights for power, but the fuel economy is strong for the class (see the EPA numbers below). The second 1.8-liter, in Corolla LE Eco models, gets to tout fuel economy as high as 42 mpg on the highway – superb for a non-hybrid – mated to Toyota's CVTi-S continuously variable automatic transmission. That fuel-conscious CVTi-S also hosts the power in Corolla LE and S automatic-transmission models. A 6-speed manual gearbox is available in Corolla L and S versions, while a 4-speed automatic is available in the Corolla L.
132 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Corolla L: 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual), 27/36 mpg (4-speed automatic)
Corolla LE: 29/38 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
Corolla S: 29/37 mpg (CVTi-S automatic), 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual)
140 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
126 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Corolla LE Eco: 30/42 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
Corolla LE Eco Plus & Eco Premium: 30/40 mpg (CVTi-S automatic)
Starting with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $17,500 for the Corolla L and reaching over $24,000 for a Corolla S model loaded past the point of "a good value," the 2014 Toyota Corolla resides right in the heart of the compact-sedan pricing spectrum. Notably, that high end is also where you can enjoy some really nice midsize sedans as well. Before you close a deal on your new Corolla, be sure to check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what kinds of deals other folks in your area are getting for theirs. Since the 2014 Corolla is an "all-new" vehicle, it's too early for us to make a call on how well it's going to hold its value over the years, but we will go on the record saying that no brand retains its resale value more consistently than Toyota.
By Bond007 on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice interior"
Cons: "Noisy when on the freeway. Gas Mileage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I had a fully loaded version of this car since mine was in the shop for a couple of days. I have to admit the interior was overhauled and looked good for this car class, however, I didn't find the gas mileage any different from my 2003 Volkswagen Passat. I travel about 70 miles for work and noticed I got the same mileage per gallon ratio. Also my kids kept asking me why the car was loud when we were on the freeway and I have to agree it seem very noisy compared to a Ford Focus or my 4 Runner. So I guess it comes down to the historical reliability that Toyota seems to have which will make people gravitate to this car, however, I would caution since my 2004 Toyota has been having engine problem which still hasn't been resolved completely. And it was this reliability reputation the reason I bought the car in the first place. So who knows."
8 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By LeeBabySimms on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unbeatable Value + Historical Reliability"
Cons: "Convenience Package Not Worth It"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"2015 Corolla S Plus with Convenience Package — Blue with blue seat insets. Immediately went from the dealer to a third-party installer to tint the windows (25%), add a clear bra and side mirror clear wrap, add blue LED footwell lights, two white LED strips in the truck (the see cargo), and a small LED glovebox light (Toyota doesn't include a glovebox light — crazy). Went back to the installer a week later for a set of Infinity Reference S speakers all the way around (they're invisible — drop right into factory mounts). 5,000 miles in I'm still convinced it's the best small car value at present. Roomy with a great interior and feature set, super comfortable front seats, 38~40 mpg on flat highways. My only regret is the convenience package. I should've shopped longer for one in my preferred color combo with just a sunroof. I don't find the SatNav and keyless entry worth the negotiated price (let alone sticker). My iPhone mounted on the dash with Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps is a far better navi tool and is closer to the driver. That money is better spent upgrading the weak Toyota speakers (that are connected to an otherwise nice stereo head unit with bluetooth, etc). I love the revised (2014) 11th generation Corolla styling. It's the perfect blend of aggression and practicality. The blue (with a hint of purple) was what got me in the dealership, beating out (my final pics) a Honda Fit, Honda Civic Si, and Subaru Impreza Sport. Two of my relatives have older Corollas and everyone knows how reliable they are. Now that they have a little bit more fun/style, and Toyota dealers are aggressive on pricing — how can you go wrong?"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By RedRolla on Saturday, November 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG! Comfortable, affordable, touchscreen, LEDs"
Cons: "Lock controls don't light up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is my baby, I love it! Once I got in and had to drive it into the city I realized this is the comfiest car I've driven. Things to know are, the cabin storage in the front is a bit reduced than the larger camry, and the glove compartment doesn't lock. But it has standard led, and touchscreen, plus the back up camera is the best. The ride is smooth, you do hear some road noise, but nothing too bad. Fast heat up and it's pretty good in the snow. Easy to learn tech and you can track your mpg, and see what's the best mpg you've done. It doesn't have door cup holders like the larger camry, but it has a pop up cup holder in the back if you need it. The backseat is easy to fold, and the brakes are amazing. It fits almost anywhere, and the rims are pretty sweet. The steering wheel is very convenient when u can't access the touchscreen, though it isn't far to reach. You can choose from the sportier SE or the LE, both come with foglights as well. Loved the dashboard in the SE, made me think I was in a race car. Fills up with about $38, if gas is around $3.20. Test this car, you might find it to be the one for you. I know I did"
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful