A nameplate that keeps on impressing

You know you’re a pretty big deal when you’ve been given the title of the world’s bestselling nameplate of all time.
And that big deal is none other than the Toyota Corolla.

Say what you want about it — you can love it, hate it, be indifferent to it — but with almost 40 million units sold since it hit the streets in the 1960s, clearly Toyota is doing something right.
While it might not be the sexiest car on four wheels, nor is it the most powerful in its class, it does have some major selling points — for instance, reliability, fuel economy and affordability.

Heck, my mom bought a Corolla station wagon in 1991. It lasted hundreds of thousands of kilometres, withstood both my brother and me, only had one transmission change, and still kept fighting until the day we took her out to pasture. I still miss her. Sob.

2014 Toyota Corolla S.

2014 Toyota Corolla S.
Nick Tragianis,

Anyway, it just goes to show that the Corolla’s pedigree continues to resonate throughout the generations.
For the 2014 model year, the 11th generation Corolla is all-new.

With a new look inside and out, new transmissions and more, Toyota is trying to sweeten the deal, especially in light of the competition.
After all, the Honda Civic has been the top-selling car in Canada 16 years and counting. And the Mazda3 snags all the awards for everything else.

Regardless, the Corolla has a new look, attitude and is hoping to keep being the world’s best.
Under the new sheet metal is a 1.8L, four-cylinder engine that puts out 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft. of torque. This engine can then be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. The S trim that I drove came with the manual, though I have had time with the CVT, and it isn’t half bad.

2014 Toyota Corolla S.

2014 Toyota Corolla S.
Nick Tragianis,

While I love most things with a manual transmission, I didn’t love it when I was stuck in stop-and-go traffic. That said, the clutch is springy and easy to depress. Gear throws are longish, but that’s expected since this is not a high-performance machine.

I never thought I’d be saying this, but I give the Corolla style points for looking pretty good. It certainly helps that the test model was the “S” trim, automatically making it a little edgier than its sibling — if edgy is even an adjective I can use when talking about the Canadian-built sedan.

A few features the S has include a Multi-Information Display, front sport seats with sport fabric seat material, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a coloured rear spoiler, a rear-view camera, fog lamps, sport front and rear fascias and more. In my opinion, it checks all the boxes when it comes to creature comforts.

Throw in the Technology Package ($3,900) and life is even better. It comes with features like 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, navigation, leather seats, a push button start, and a power slide/tilt moonroof.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla is one of those vehicles that just does everything it’s supposed to do. It’s quiet on the highway, doesn’t offend passengers or onlookers with its looks and is well built.

2014 Toyota Corolla S.

2014 Toyota Corolla S.
Nick Tragianis,

Its ride feels planted to the ground though not necessarily sporty. It’s a vehicle most often used for urban romping so Toyota takes that into consideration when tuning the suspension.

Like I said, it does what it does and does it well.

Here’s to having many more generations of comfortable A to B

Around back, the Corolla has a 369-litre cargo capacity. It might not seem that impressive but what it does have working in its favour is a wide opening trunk opening. Wide enough to accommodate a new desk I purchased. Initially, the guys at the loading dock were a bit skeptical about the box fitting, but it worked out perfectly. Even they were impressed.

I guess the new Corolla impresses even the toughest critics!
Even if they don’t impress the toughest critics, they’re still going to sell. The proof is in the pudding.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla with the six-speed manual transmission has a starting MSRP of $19,215. With the optional package, destination charges and various charges, the as tested MSRP came to $24,768.95 (sales tax not included.)

The Specs

Type of vehicle: Four-door sedan
Engine: 1.8L, four-cylinder
Power: 132 hp @ 5,550 rpm; 128 lb-ft. of torque six-speed manual or available CVT
Brakes: Front ventilated disc, rear drum
Tires: P215/45R17
Price: base/as tested: $19,215/ $24,768.95 (destination included, sales tax not included.)
Destination charge: $1,520
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy: 7.1L/100 km city, 5.2L/100km hwy.

A sport front and rear fascia gives the 2014 Corolla S an edgier look, which Toyota hopes will keep the compact model at being the world’s best.  — photos: Alexandra sStraub

Atop the Corolla’s centre stack is a 6.1-inch touchscreen display.

About Alexandra Straub