2014 TOYOTA Corolla Review

OUR TEST CAR: 2014 TOYOTA Corolla Euro 1.6 Valvematic CVT

2014 TOYOTA Corolla - Page - 1
Think about the feeling you’re experiencing when you realize you’ve forgotten your phone at home in the morning. It’s this painful technological withdrawal that the 2014 Toyota Corolla bets on. The Japanese model’s purpose is to make sure that its drivers never get the aforementioned kind of feeling.

Of course, the aforementioned dependability has made the Corolla the best-selling nameplate in the world. However, this eleventh generation aims to add some refinement to its tried and tested recipe. Toyota wants to win over new customers, on top of the already large group of traditional Corolla buyers.

The Corolla story started like that of most popular cars, with an automaker’s intention of motorizing its home country. However, as the generations rolled, more and more people across the world started appreciating the Corolla’s no-frills, but never humble attitude.

There’s always a “point B” where we need to get, so we recently decided to see how the Corolla would handle such a job. We were introduced to an Euro-spec 2014 Corolla.

Our tester used the most powerful engine in the range, a 132 HP 1.6-liter petrol unit. Not only does this deliver the same amount of power as the 1.8-liter engine in the US 2014 Corolla, but it was also mated to a CVT. That’s pretty important, as the 2014 Corolla is the first to bring the CVT option to the American market.

Toyota isn’t the kind of company that takes risks, so we figured they must’ve been up to something if they decided to gift the Americans with the pulley-type CVT. With this in mind, we started our drive on one sunny autumn morning.

As we were getting to know each other, one question raised above all others. We wanted to see whether the 2014 Corolla would rest on the laurels of its family tree or come up with its own schemes.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla actually looks like non-identical twins. We’re talking about the difference between the 2014 US Corolla and the European models here.

Those on the Old Continent get a Corolla that could very well be a brand ambassador. This thing is a four-wheeled graphic representation of the Toyota badge.

Meanwhile in America, the 2014 Toyota Corolla gets a “look at me!” appearance. They’ve sacrificed the family identity for the sake of a design that also appeals to younger buyers.

Regardless of which one you prefer, you’ll end up with the best-looking modern Corolla so far. While that itself may not say much, the 2014 model has its fair shares of decent styling cues. And under these, we find a longer, wider and lower Corolla.

We’ve only met the European-spec Toyota Corolla in the flesh, so, from here on, we’ll stick to this one.

As you approach the car, you can almost see how the designers chamfered the clay model, gathering material towards the nose of the Corolla. Then, probably proud of their work, they placed a Toyota badge over the resulting creation. Actually, the whole front fascia looks a bit robot-like, as if the Corolla would be a Transformers character.

As for the side view, the designers managed to integrate the boot volume well into the overall line, reinforcing the sedan personality. Moving to the rear of the Toyota Corolla, we notice the styling becomes blander. However, the rear scene is dominated by the taillights, which expand onto the rear wings.

Despite the radical change in exterior styling, the hefty differences in interior design still strike you as you open the door of the 2014 Toyota Corolla. Just like before, the cabins of the US and the Euro models are very close to each other, but this time it’s America that dictates the styling.

The first thing that caught our eye us was the manly dashboard, which seemed to bring back memories from the Chevrolet Camaro test drive. There are massive elements everywhere, with the horizontal design dominating the interior of the Corolla.

Embedded in these shapes, we have something that can only be described as text book ergonomics. Everything the driver needs is located in the upper side of the dash. All the controls are within your reach, so you don’t have to take your attention from the road when operating any of the main ones.

Speaking of the controls, everything is clear and the buttons are large. You could probably set up the temperature to an exact value while blindfolded.

As we set off, we start interacting with the new steering wheel. This is one of the interior elements that make the car feel one class above its actual status. We’re talking about an ergonomic, solid steering wheel. If you’re in the mood for some humor, you can even add a set of paddles here.

In front of you, they’ve placed a set of dash instruments that looks like a sketch. They’ve drawn as little lines as possible, so that it all stays clear, be it day or night.

Zooming out of the dashboard, you notice that the driving position is keener. You sit lower than before and the steering wheel angle has been lowered. Despite this, the visibility is still excellent, so you’re always in good control of the Corolla.

The American influence is just as strong when it comes to the interior space boost in the 2014 Toyota Corolla. The hefty increase in wheelbase can immediately be felt up front, but the real effect arrives in the back.

Aside from pushing the rear seat hip point back, Toyota also came up with slimmer front seat backs, so there are tons of space in the rear now. Again, you feel like you’re the mid-size segment more than in the compact one.

The interesting part is that this hasn’t been done at the expense of luggage capacity. Oh no. That boot has been expanded to 16 cubic feet (452 liters), so you’re not that far off from a 2014 Mercedes S-Class. Good to know.

As the evening settles in, the rush hour traffic simply won’t go away. While we were not exactly prepared for this, it seems that the Corolla was. There’s an air of easiness to this Toyota’s movements and so you’re never too tight behind the wheel.

The various tech bits of the 2014 Corolla work together as a football team to achieve the aforementioned goal. It all starts with the easy access. The keyless entry and engine start really make life easy. Once you get used to them, you won’t want to return to that nasty key ever again.

Then there’s the powertrain. We drove the 132 HP 1.6-liter engine with a CVT. There’s really not much torque available, but this setup makes most of this available in the first half of the throttle pedal travel. There’s no hybrid tech here, but you’d better keep that green “Eco” light on the dash on. To do so, it’s best to stick to the aforementioned amount of throttle.

The steering, with its lightness, comes to assist. You won’t notice its presence inside the city, it’s like you wish for the car to go left and it simply acts on your thought.

And the way in which you interact with the Corolla is also there to make life easier. The nice ergonomics mean that the Toyota Corolla wants you to exploit all these assets. The same is true for the good all-round visibility.

Of course, when it comes to parking, there can never be too much rear visibility. This is why you can have front and rear sensors, as well as a rear-view camera.

And if you don’t want to handle this part of your trip, the Corolla can do it for you. It can do this thanks to its Simple Intelligent Park Assist (SIPA). This works rather well - the car finds the parking spot and takes care of the steering, while you control the speed using the brake pedal.

The Toyota Corolla will spend most of its time inside urban areas. Knowing this, the car doesn’t just respect its driver, but also the city - when you’re being gentle with the throttle, those around the car can barely hear the engine’s voice.

We’ve been stuck behind a truck for quite a few minutes now, but the Toyota Corolla knows how to deal with this. Not, they haven’t fitted it with a magic button for such situations. Instead, the Corolla is the kind of car that invites you to drive it in a relaxed manner.

This Toyota moves along with ease. The Corolla never asks too much from its driver and neither does it offer him more than the basic info. It’s been a very peaceful drive ever since we left the parking lot. It’s like there’s an army of minions spread all around the Corolla with the aim to keep things flowing. This is the recipe that has made the Corolla the best-selling vehicle in the world.

Let’s take the steering for example. This doesn’t care about words like “feedback” but it does provide a comfortable drive. The Toyota Corolla feels pretty sure footed on the road, with the handling being as neutral as possible.

This is Toyota’s way of dealing with the classic ride vs. handling issue. The suspension is comfortable enough on most roads. When encountering more serious tarmac problems, you’ll feel the ride get a bit rough, but this is what keeps the body roll away. Thus, you end up with a decent handling and a suspension that’s comfortable most of the time.

We’re on a much less crowded road now and that 132 HP 1.6-liter up front has just proven that it perfectly suits the car. Our tester matches it with a CVT and it’s not difficult to understand why they’ve dared to bring this transmission to the US for the first time.

As long as you’re not in a rush, the CVT keeps things smooth. You’re never going to feel any jolts and you’ll also be pretty happy at the pump. Speaking of this, we got an average efficiency of 31.4 mpg (7.5 liters/100 km) during our drive.

Alas, as you reach into the last third of the throttle pedal’s travel, you’ll feel that the engine noise-acceleration ratio goes a bit crazy. You have to plan you overtaking ahead with a CVT. Remember that this transmission never provides a truly strong connection between the engine and the wheels.

There’s a “Sport” button somewhere around here, but we found that it’s best to simply drive the car without it. It does seem to help a little, but the increase in engine agitation is too hefty for what you get in return.

We found the CVT’s sequential shifting mode to be a bit more useful. Yes, you can keep yourself busy via the simulated seven gears of the transmission. You can even add paddles to the game, but you know you won’t need such things in a Corolla.

Nevertheless, the CVT seems to suit the Toyota Corolla perfectly. Skip the feisty parts and the car will reward you with an efficient drive. We’re not just talking about fuel here - the transportation activity itself will be handled with ease.
83user rating 82 votes
Rate this car!
autoevolution Oct 2013
In the city
Open road
Tech facts
83user rating 82 votes
Rate this car!
Photo gallery (70)
2014 TOYOTA Corolla driving in city2014 TOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla at speed2014 TOYOTA Corolla drivingTOYOTA Corolla 1.6 CVT city drivingTOYOTA Corolla driving2014 TOYOTA Corolla 1.6 CVT driving2014 TOYOTA Corolla in city2014 TOYOTA Corolla CVT acceleration2014 TOYOTA Corolla city drivingTOYOTA Corolla driving2014 TOYOTA Corolla front fascia2014 TOYOTA Corolla frontTOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla headlightsTOYOTA Corolla badgeTOYOTA Corolla light sensor2014 TOYOTA Corolla side view2014 TOYOTA Corolla front wheel2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear wheel2014 TOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla rearTOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear light2014 TOYOTA Corolla keyless entry2014 TOYOTA Corolla spare wheel2014 TOYOTA Corolla luggage compartment2014 TOYOTA Corolla bootTOYOTA Corolla 1.6 Valvematic engine2014 TOYOTA Corolla 1.6 Valvematic engine2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear door child safety lockTOYOTA Corolla rear seats2014 TOYOTA Corolla Isofix anchors2014 TOYOTA Corolla front door bottle pockets2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear cupholdersTOYOTA Corolla rear center armrestTOYOTA Corolla interiorTOYOTA badge on 2014 Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla wheels2014 TOYOTA Corolla windscreen wipers2014 TOYOTA Corolla front grille2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear bench2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear interior space2014 TOYOTA Corolla interior: rear2014 TOYOTA Corolla rear seats2014 TOYOTA Corolla interior: front space2014 TOYOTA Corolla center console2014 TOYOTA Corolla CVT gear shift lever2014 TOYOTA Corolla infotainmentTOYOTA Corolla dashboardTOYOTA Corolla interior2014 TOYOTA Corolla interior2014 TOYOTA Corolla dashboardTOYOTA Corolla automated parking button2014 TOYOTA Corolla power windows controls2014 TOYOTA Corolla steering wheel2014 TOYOTA Corolla interior2014 TOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla front seats2014 TOYOTA Corolla front cupholders2014 TOYOTA Corolla dashboard instruments2014 TOYOTA Corolla speedometer and rev counter2014 TOYOTA Corolla front passenger airbag2014 TOYOTA Corolla drivingTOYOTA Corolla driving2014 TOYOTA Corolla ground clearance advantage2014 TOYOTA Corolla2014 TOYOTA Corolla driving off the road