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.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable Optional Equipment
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.
Under the Hood
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.
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