Redesigned for 2014, the compact Corolla was roomier, more fuel-efficient and more refined than the model it replaced. Though it may not have been as sporty, as stylish or as innovative as some of its competitors, the 11th-generation Corolla appealed to buyers looking for solid, affordable and reliable transportation. The car's improved interior, full complement of available tech goodies and reputation for bulletproof Toyota quality were all strong selling points.
The 2014 Corolla was available in four trim levels: base L, mid-range LE, fuel-sipping LE Eco and sporty S.
Corolla Basics: Dimensions
The 2014 Corolla was 182.6 inches long, 69.9 inches wide and 57.3 inches high, with a 106.3-inch wheelbase. Its base curb weight was 2,800 pounds.
The front seats provided 38.3 inches of headroom, 54.8 inches of shoulder room, 53.0 inches of hip room and 42.3 inches of legroom. Rear-seat passengers got 37.1 inches of headroom, 54.8 inches of shoulder room, 43.9 inches of hip room and 41.4 inches of legroom, which was a dramatic 5.1-inch improvement over the previous-generation Corolla.
The Corolla's trunk had a capacity of 13.0 cubic feet, which was about average for a compact sedan.
Corolla Basics: Drivetrain
The Corolla was powered by a 1.8-liter, dual-overhead-cam, inline-four. Designed to emphasize efficiency more than performance, it produced an adequate 132 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 128 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm.
The LE Eco model featured a specially tuned version that generated eight more horsepower but two fewer foot-pounds of torque. In real-world driving, the LT Eco's engine -- which was created to further maximize fuel economy -- was mostly indistinguishable from that of other Corollas.
The little Toyota came with three different transmissions: a four-speed automatic, a continuously variable transmission and a six-speed manual. The bargain-basement autobox was exclusive to the entry-level L model. The CVT was the most popular option, by far. It offered a desirable combination of effective performance and good fuel economy. The six-speed manual was available only with the sporty, upscale S model. It was intended for enthusiastic drivers who enjoyed the experience of shifting for themselves.
The L was the least expensive, base trim level. Even so, it came with a decent assortment of standard features, particularly for a value-focused compact. L modelsgot 15-inch steel wheels, power windows and mirrors, LED low-beam headlights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, a 60-40 split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity and a four-speaker stereo with a CD player, USB-iPod interface, auxiliary audio jack and steering wheel controls.
The LE model added 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, variable intermittent wipers, heated mirrors, power door locks, cruise control, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, metallic interior trim, a 6-inch touchscreen infotainment display and an upgraded six-speaker stereo. The LE Plus sub-trim level added alloy wheels and foglights. The LE Premium sub-trim level added leather-like vinyl upholstery.
In addition to the special powertrain tuning, the LE Eco trim level added a subtle rear spoiler, modified front and rear fascias for enhanced aerodynamics and low-rolling-resistance tires. The LE Eco Plus sub-trim level threw in alloy wheels, foglights, a driver-selectable Eco driving mode and chrome beltline trim. As with the standard LE, the LE Eco Premium sub-trim level upgraded the interior with leather-like vinyl upholstery.
The S was the top-of-the-line, "fancy" Corolla. Its equipment list included everything that came with the LE, plus foglights, a chrome grille, a rear spoiler, color-keyed mirrors with signal repeaters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport front seats, piano black interior accents, a trip computer and sport instrumentation. The Plus sub-trim brought 17-inch alloy wheels, a performance-tuned suspension and rear disc brakes -- all other Corollas soldiered on with rear drums. Again, opting for the Premium sub-trim got you vinyl upholstery instead of the standard cloth.
Stand-alone options on the Corolla S included a sunroof and the Driver Convenience Package, which comprised a GPS navigation system with smartphone app integration, satellite and HD radio and keyess ignition.
All 2014 Corollas came standard with four-wheel ABS, traction control, stability control, dual front airbags, side curtain airbags, front side airbags, a passenger seat cushion airbag and a driver knee airbag. All trim levels except the L also came with a rear-view camera for increased outward visibility.
Good fuel economy has long been among the Corolla's top selling points. The most fuel-efficient version was, predictably, the LE Eco. It received an EPA fuel economy rating of 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. The least fuel-efficient Corolla was the L model with the four-speed automatic, which was rated at 27-36. The majority of LE and S models sold were outfitted with the CVT transmission. These cars received a 29-38 rating. Finally, S models with the traditional six-speed manual were rated at 28-37.
The 2014 Corolla L had a base price of $16,800. The LE started at $18,300, the LE Eco at $18,700 and the S at $19,000.
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