New Toyota Corolla Pretends It Isn’t a Corolla

June 10th, 2013
2014 Toyota Corolla S

2014 Toyota Corolla S

The Toyota Corolla is boring.

It’s somewhat bland, dated and uninspiring. It’s also one of the top-selling cars in the world each year, and Toyota has sold over 40 million of them since the car’s inception.

Obviously, people are drawn to the car’s propensity for predictability and reliability. Changing the formula could be a risky move, but seeing as how the current car doesn’t have much in the way of cutting-edge technology or engineering, the time has come for an all-new Corolla.

But if the draw to a Corolla lies in its simplicity, maybe a used model would better suit the needs of some drivers.

In reading Toyota’s press release about the redesigned Corolla, my first impressions are that it wants to pretend it isn’t a Corolla. It’s longer, bigger, has sharper lines and, to my eye, looks like designers borrowed a page from Honda’s stylebook. The look is sculpted and sporty, a huge improvement over the current model.

Toyota opted to make a continually variable transmission available, which is programmed to make drivers feel like they aren’t driving a CVT.

A CVT can change gear ratios smoothly as the car speeds up or slows down.

CVTs, though, can feel strange to drivers, because the transmission can make the car’s engine feel and sound strained. For the new Corolla, Toyota programmed the CVT to act like a 7-speed transmission. During acceleration, the engine will speed up and slow down as if gears are actually being shifted.

Different trims can be programmed to behave differently. The Corolla Eco will be have a special fuel-economy mode, while the Corolla S will get a performance-tuned mode that allows drivers to “shift gears” using paddle shifters or the gear selector.

If drivers want to shift real gears, they should opt for the manual transmission. The Corolla Eco, equipped with the CVT and a 140-hp 4-cylinder, will get up to 40 mpg on the highway.

The new Corolla will include standard LED headlamps and Bluetooth connectivity, along with available touchscreen audio, a backup monitor, Smart Key, paddle shifters and Entune, Toyota’s multimedia app suite.

The new Corolla will go on sale this Fall, with prices expected to start near current levels. Used Corollas hold their value pretty well, so the decision to buy new or used isn’t necessarily one of simple economics. The decision should be based on what a buyer expects a Corolla to be. The new car will be technologically advanced and bigger than many old Camrys, while going used will net a conservative compact commuter perfectly suited as a transportation appliance.

Would you want the new advanced Corolla, or a used basic one?

-tgriffith

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  1. Jimmy
    | #1

    Hmm, still looks like a boring Corolla to me. Why is it that when the American manufacturer’s in kept making their cars bigger, the press chided them for being inefficient and wasteful, but when the Japanese do the very same thing, it is a “we;comes change”? Sorry but just a the original Honda Accord was around 1900 lbs in 1976, and now porks out at a whopping 3400-3500 lbs, this little pig is no improvement on an already ho hum appliance, and making it bigger, thirstier and fatter do not help.

  2. Drew
    | #2

    @ Jimmy jesus man, get used to it. you dont like these cars because of a weight factor then get a 1976 accord. regardless of american, asian, and european, they all for the most part became heavier over time. And it’s not because they get heavy for no reason at all. take a look a look at the 2 same cars that are a few generations apart, MOST of that added weight is because of safety features(IE, crossbars in all doors, non crush zones) that you wont ever see unless you take off panels, exterior and such. another thing is all the luxuries such as satnav, but those are options, you dont have to get them. Dont bother with media, because all they do is curve your opinions based on things they want to tell you.

  3. Randy
    | #3

    You hit the nail on the head. People buy Corolla not because they want excitement, but because they don’t want a car with reliability problems, a target of thieves, high insurance costs. and similar annoyances. And they really don’t care if the car is bland looking. (look at how many people bought the Impala, the world’s worst mid-size sedan.)
    As for the new Corolla, I’m not sure what Toyota is up to. The car looks like Hyundai copied a lexus and Dodge Dart. I certainly wouldn’t buy one.

  4. Chris H
    | #4

    Well I have always hated the looks of the Corolla. This is a drastic improvement in my opinion. Looks like a downsized Avalon, which is one the most beautiful cars on the road right now IMO. My only question is how did the Camry get skipped in this design language?

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