Santa Monica, Calif. ? Toyota showed a new face and new attitude early in June with the Hollywood-style unveiling of the all-new 2014 Toyota Corolla. We?ve known the brand more for serious, business-like introductions, but to pull the wraps off the new image of Corolla it was ?elevated? and then literally lowered the from the rafters during the gala introduction.
Staged in the football field size, Barker aircraft hangar, at Santa Monica airport, the Corolla Gala was a fusion of events including a massive cocktail party for 750 people and flashy avant-garde stage show climaxed with the unveiling of the new 2014 Toyota Corolla.
Toyota also brought out four vintage Corolla?s from the Toyota Museum in Torrance, Calif. displaying models from 1969, 1971, 1983 and 1987.
The theatrical part of the show included a performance by an Argentinian group, called Fuerza Bruta, who performed above the crowd while hanging from ropes suspended in large mesh boxes displaying an ever-changing show of lights and graphics. Later the group moved into a large shallow pool, that reminded us of a 50 x75-foot children?s pool suspended 20 feet above the party floor. The clear bottom pool had and enough water in it to allow the ?dancers? to slide acrobatically through the water. The pool was then lowered to just above the heads of the party goers.
An unusual assortment of foods was prepared by celebrity chef Richard Biais, who also served up his famous liquid nitrogen cocktails. Biais is best known his appearance on Season 4 of Bravo?s hit show ?Top Chef? and his winning run on ?Top Chef All-Stars,? for which he received his own Corolla among other prizes.
The evening was capped off with brief remarks about the new Corolla by Toyota Group Vice President and general manager, Bill Fay who said, ?Full of surprises and unexpected features, this global reveal event captures the new era and elevated experience of the redesigned Corolla. As our second best-selling vehicle and a familiar sight on American roadways, the new Corolla retains its trusted quality and reliability while adding an exciting new look and energy.?
The Toyota Corolla has the distinction of being the world?s best-selling vehicle of all time, with almost 40 million in global sales.
The 2014 Corolla takes on a more contemporary look, leaving behind the styling often described as ?cookie cutter? by the media. Each trim level (L, LE, LE Eco, and S) offer a range of popular features to entice current owners and in an effort to attract new, youthful buyers.
The new Corolla?s exterior design comes from the ?Iconic Dynamism? styling seen on the Toyota Furia Concept shown at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in January. It also indicates that Toyota is off in a fresh new direction.
The new Corolla has a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs than the last generation, which make a significant increase in interior space, including nearly three more inches of rear legroom.
The interior design uses premium materials and soft touch surfaces to create a more upscale look. A popular seat material called SofTex? has been brought over from the Lexus brand and used as an optional seat material. It looks and feels like a glove soft leather and reflects infrared rays to maintain a cooler seat surface.
A new LE Eco model will be offered with an efficient 140-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with Valvematic technology, improved aerodynamics and low rolling resistance tires. The Eco-badged model is expected to achieve more than 40 mpg in highway driving. Other models will be powered by a 132-hp 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with intelligent Variable Valve Timing (VVT-i).
The LE and S models will have a new CVT (continuously variable transmission) that helps to improve fuel economy even more. The transmission has been engineered to provide smooth efficient power transfers without the ?rubber band? feeling often associated with CVTs. A six-speed manual transmission is available on the Corolla L and S grades.
The 2014 Corolla is the first compact car equipped with standard LED headlamps, and all models are standard equipped with eight airbags, and Bluetooth? hand-free phone and audio-streaming connectivity.
We?re looking forward to driving the new Corolla later this summer.