2014 Toyota Corolla Test Drive

??2014?Toyota Corolla launches 11th?Generation?

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The 2014 Toyota Corolla, represents the iconic marque?s eleventh generation.?It was 1968 when the Corolla from Toyota first appeared in the U.S. marketplace with its first generation examples, following two year in the Japanese market. Power for the first models came from 1.1-liter SOHC 4-cylinder engine. The second generation bowed with an available 1.2-liter 4-cylinder. The third generation ran from 1974 through 1978 when the fourth generation reigned until 1979 when Gen 5 was introduced. The 10 millionth Corolla was produced in March of 1983. 1984 marked the entry of fifth generation models, when the front-wheel drive was first introduced. Corolla celebrated its 20th anniversary in the U.S. during the popular car?s sixth generation, which launched in 1988 and ran until 1993, when the seventh generation appeared moving Corolla from the subcompact segment to the compact segment, and production for all U.S. units moved to North America. Generation eight appeared in 1998 with a new 1.8-liter engine featuring VVT-i. The ninth gen Corolla was introduced in 2003 and was available in Standard grade, LE and S grades. Generation ran from 2009 to the present with a new Dual VVT-I for the 1.8-liter four-banger. A 2.4-liter motor was introduced in the XRS model.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla is all-new, and is truly a global product, being sold in 154 countries, with 16 build locations. Corolla is the best-selling car on the planet, with nearly 40 million vehicles sold. The 2014 Toyota Corolla delivers an unexpected exterior design that is both expressive and chiseled, based on the Corolla Furia concept car. This 11th generation Corolla displays a more taut design with athletic proportions ? it rolls on a 3.93-inch longer wheelbase, with the wheels stretched out further to the four corners, while featuring short overhangs front and rear. The front and rear styling showcases a more tapered look for a more dramatic expression. It is also 3.90-inches longer overall, but delivers a more compact image that emphasizes the wheel arches and ?wheels-to-the-corner? stance. The new front fascia presents sharper, more pronounced detailing with the large trapezoidal grille positioned just beneath as thin intake inlet below the hood.

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Sleek, sculpted surfaces are complemented by the aerodynamic LED headlamp assemblies. Door handles are integrated into the body, aligning with the side profile character line that spans the length of the door surfaces. The new C-pillar features a ?faster?, longer sloping angle that blends in to the rear deck in a bolder fashion. The rear view is highlighted by large, sharply sculpted rear taillight assemblies, and there is a subtle available rear deck-lid spoiler that accentuates the sporting nature of this latest iteration Corolla.

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The new interior continues Corolla?s ?Iconic Dynamism? theme, creating a?stylish, functional, and inviting interior space with a greater sense of?craftsmanship. The dash structure helps to enhance the interior?s sense of spaciousness. The interior serves up a premium aesthetic with its use of piano-black gloss trim, highlighted by metallic ornamentation and trim. Depending on interior color theme chosen, blue, black or amber pinstriped accents are used in conjunction with the dash and door panel ornamentation. Ornamental stitching appears along the leading edge of the dash pad for a more upscale look. A decorative boot is available with ornamental stitching surrounding the shift lever. Two different gauge clusters differentiate and distinguish models ? Corolla L, LE and LE ECO gauges appear with three gauges, while the Corolla S model comes with two gauges separated by an information panel. All trim grades offer a base, a Plus and a Premium equipment level.

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Two engines are offered for the 2014 Toyota Corolla ? both are 2ZR-FE 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder units with Dual Independent VVT-i. and electronic fuel injection. One engine delivers 132 horsepower and 128 pound feet of torque, appearing in? L. LE and S grades; the other powers the LE ECO grade models and features a new Valvematic valve train variable control feature. The latter version motor generates 140 horsepower along with 126 pound feet of torque.

There are four different transmissions available with specific grade assignments: a four-speed automatic is available on L grade Corollas only; a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with intelligent shifting is fitted to S grades only with new Sport and new ECO drive modes. A Sequential Shift Position allows for up to 7 preset ?gears? to be selected via either the shift lever or paddle shifters; and finally,, a 6-speed manual gearbox is available for L and S Plus grades. All Corolla models are Front-Wheel Drive.

Braking chores are handles by power-assisted ventilated discs up front and leading-trailing drums in the rear. Brake control systems include: ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop Technology, TPMS, VSC and TRAC Traction Control. Directional maneuvering is courtesy of Electric Power Steering.

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Nine exterior color choices are available, four of which are new. There are six wheel treatments available, ranging from15 and 16-inch? steel wheels with composite covers through 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels, all with varying spoke treatments. The drag coefficient varies with wheel size from 0.28-0.30.

A host of safety systems ? both active and passive, make the 2014 Toyota Corolla enjoyable and safe to drive.?Two Option packages are available for Plus and Premium models: a?Moonroof Package with power tilt/slide moonroof with a sliding sunshade; and a Driver?s Convenience Package with Smart Key System on front doors and trunk with Push Button Start, remote keyless entry with lock, panic, trunk-release and liftgate functions.

During the regional press launch in Seattle, WA., I was able to experience a 2014 Toyota Corolla S Plus with the six-speed manual transmission, which sported a Blue Crush metallic exterior and a Black interior. The base price was set at $19,700 with a final sticker total of $22,870. after adding the Moonroof and Driver?s Convenience Packages. I later piloted an LE ECO Premium grade finished outside in Slate metallic and the inside in Black. It featured the CVT transmission, rolled on 16-inch wheels and tires mounted on 5-?V?-spoke alloy wheels. and came with a base price of $20,100. And a final sticker of? $23,270. After adding the Driver Convenience Package, Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof with sliding sunshade and Delivery processing and handling fee.

SUMMARY: The 2014 Toyota Corolla is truly elevated well above its predecessors in terms of styling and visual appeal, equipment levels, value, comfort, function and versatility.

Ride comfort was above average for a compact vehicle and handling attributes bordered on sporty. The manual gearbox took some getting used to at the outset, with the clutch engagement being a little tall. The CVT actually provided a more enjoyable experience.

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Acceleration on the low end of the spectrum seemed adequate, but both versions would benefit from more power, perhaps best generated by turbocharging. The 1.8-liter four-banger makes vehicle occupants aware of its presence when under load, and passing on a grade requires full throttle, with the pedal pressed all the way to the floor to take care of business.

The LE ECO grade with the CVT transmission actually seemed to perform better than it?s S Plus stable mate ? the few extra horses were definitely appreciated.

In the final analysis, this latest Toyota Corolla fills the role of affordable, comfortable, compact transportation quite well, and it will no doubt continue to reign, if not the best selling compact car on a global basis, certainly as one of the best. We?ll have to wait to be sure, as there?s considerable competition on the compact sedan playing field.
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[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Toyota Corolla S Plus [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $19,700.
Price as Tested: $22,870.
Engine Type and Size: 1.8-liter DOHC, 16-valve, Dual Independent VVT-I inline four cylinder
Horsepower (bhp): 132 @ 6,000 rpm (140hp @6,100 rpm on LE Eco)
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 128 @ 4,400 rpm (126fpt @4,000 rpm on LE Eco)
Transmission: Six-speed manual.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with L-shaped lower control arms.
Rear – Revised Torsion beam.

Brakes: Power-assisted front vented discs / leading-trailing drum rear with ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop Technology, VSC and TRAC Traction Control.Tires: Firestone FR740 – P215/45 R17 mounted on 7-split- spoke machined/painted alloy wheels.Wheelbase:106.3 inchesLength Overall:183.1 inchesWidth:69.9 inchesHeight:57.3 inchesCurb Weight:2,845 lbs.Fuel Capacity:13.2 gallonsEPA Mileage Estimates:28 mpg city / 37 mpg highwayDrag Coefficient:0.300 – 60 mph: Not Tested.

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