First Drive: 2014 Toyota Corolla Mark XI

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Without saying it explicitly, Toyota readily admits that its last generation Corolla was Beige. It lacked excitement. With more competitors in the compact sedan segment (both in quantity and quality), did Toyota succeed in making a more fun car this time around? But perhaps the more important question for Toyota might be– Does the Corolla even need to be a more fun car in order for it to be a commercial success?

Hooniverse had the opportunity to drive a pre-production model last week. Make the jump to see our impressions. 

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Exterior:

This is my favorite aspect of the new Corolla. It’s a marked improvement over the last iteration, which looked like it had appendages stuck on, a la Mr. Potato Head. The new look is smoother, simpler, and modern looking. It may not necessarily turn heads, but the little Toyota is finally falling in line with its competitors.

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Interior: 

Even in a model with an all-black interior, the new Corolla did not feel claustrophobic. The thick C-pillars prevent me from describing the interior as greenhouse-like, but visibility is not an issue. Visually and tactilely, the interior bits seem aspirational. But ultimately, it is still just an economy car.

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Seats: 

Apparently, the typical American car shopper cares more about seats than any other feature. The new Corolla’s front seats offer a surprising amount of comfort and support, and even excels in bolstering the oft-neglected thoracic region. But after a day of driving a gaggle of Corollas, my lower back started to get a wee bit sore.

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In a nod to the ever-expanding Chinese market, which loves rear legroom (think Audi A4L), the Corolla’s wheelbase has been stretched 3.9 inches. The increase in rear legroom vis-a-vis the prior model is substantial. In the photo below, the front passenger seat was set for a six-foot three-incher. I’m 6 feet tall and, as you can see, my knees still had adequate room.

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Engine: 

Two 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines are available, and this is where it gets both interesting and not-s0 interesting. The first unit is a carryover, which is good for 132 horsepower and returns mixed-driving fuel economy figures in the low 30s. I am left to wonder Toyota’s motive for keeping the old mill. Was it the budget? Lack of factory capacity? Apathy? Whatever the reason, it is disappointing.

The other engine, with Valvematic (variable valve timing) technology, adds eight horses and improves fuel economy. Mileage in mixed driving goes up to the mid-30s. In highway driving, an LE Eco with 15 inch wheels, low resistance tires, and improved underbody aero can obtain 42 mpg. This isn’t exactly cutting edge rocket science. Valvematic may be new to the U.S.-market Corolla, but it has been available in Toyota vehicles abroad for several years already.

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Transmission:

Three varieties are available– a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”), a six-speed manual, and an antediluvian four-speed auto. Truth be told, I prefer the four-speed auto. It is solid and predictable. In an attempt to make the CVT feel like a non-CVT, seven artificial shift-points were programmed in. They felt…artificial. With the 11th-generation Corolla retailing at essentially the same price point as the outgoing model, cheaper components, such as CVTs, were inevitable.

As a traditionalist, I feel that the the Sport mode button, paddle shifters, etc. that Toyota is cramming into its new car are a bit much for a compact economy sedan. But with every other manufacturer accessorizing their cars with these gizmos, Toyota had no choice but to offer them. 

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Thoughts: 

First, I am disappointed that the very good looking hatchback, which is available abroad, is not for sale here in the States. Smaller cars, and especially hatchbacks, are popular again and I think Toyota is missing out on many potential sales.

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Has Toyota created a more fun and exhilarating ride? No. The exterior is definitely easier on the eye, and the interior has been bedazzled. But in terms of driving experience, it’s the status quo, at best. In fact, with the gimmicky CVT, it might have even regressed. The engines are essentially the same old news, unless you get your jollies claiming you own a car that gets 42 mpg. Coupled with mediocre brakes and a too-vague gas pedal, there is no soul-stirring happening.

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But ultimately, it’s a reliable economy car. It will be purchased as a commuter car or as a first car for the kid who is off to college. Most, if not all, prospective Corolla buyers just want reliability and strong resale value. Toyota has certainly succeeded in designing and building a solid economy car. The new skin and Entune infotainment system may just be “fun” enough to keep the masses coming to the showroom floor. If you want a fun-to-drive Toyota, buy a Scion FR-S instead.

Trim Cheat-sheet:

  • L is the base model (starts at $16,800),
  • LE is the upscale model ($18,300),
  • LE Eco is for the greens ($18,700), and
  • S ($19,000) is the sporty model.

Cheers:

  • Contemporary and clean styling,
  • more rear legroom.

Jeers:

  • Unnecessarily complicated CVT,
  • vague gas pedal,
  • still Beige.

Verdict: 

It’s a Corolla, for better or for worse, in all its glory.

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Images Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jim Yu

[Disclosure: For this review, Toyota flew me to San Diego, put me up in a nice hotel, and fed me well. ]

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102 responses to “First Drive: 2014 Toyota Corolla Mark XI”

  1. dukeisduke Avatar

    A choice between a four-speed auto and a CVT? Pathetic. Like with the 2014 Tundra, Toyota is phoning it in. I like Toyotas, but I think they're heading down the Honda path.

    1. krazykarguy Avatar

      Toyota has been 'phoning it in' since they redesigned the Camry in 2002. It is pathetic.
      They continue to rest upon their laurels of perceived reliability, and the herds of sheep that have always bought them will continue to buy them. For most Toyota drivers, a car/truck is no more than an appliance that you can pilot with your brain turned off.
      I honestly laughed out loud when I saw the most recent Toyota commercial showing off all of their new 'safety features' (like lane departure assist/assisted braking/self-dimming high beams, etc.), and thought to myself, "good – now that Prius driver really CAN be asleep behind the wheel, rather than just appear to be so."

  2. eggsalad Avatar

    That "very good looking hatchback" looks a whole lot like the outgoing Toyota Matrix. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the Matrix comes back at the "Corolla Liftback" for the 2015 MY.

    1. duurtlang_ Avatar

      It's the new (second gen) Toyota Auris, the car of which the first gen replaced the important parts of the Corolla lineup in Europe. Although you could say it's still a Corolla. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Auris
      Besides the hatch there's another version as well, the decidedly unsporty wagon called Sports Tourer. A wagon with a rear end far less hideous than the hatch.
      <img src="http://media.autoweek.nl/m/m1ny9dkbub2p.jpg&quot; width="600">

      1. Maxichamp Avatar

        I like the wagon and the hatchback.

      2. FЯeeMan Avatar

        That rear end looks very much like the newest Subaru, and I'll hate Toyota forever for what they've done to Subaru design.
        Subarus used to have weird, funky designs that took a while to grow on you. now I have to check the badge on that Toyota to realize it's a Scoobie Subaru.

  3. The son of Gimmi Avatar

    The 2014 Corolla: Because fuck you haha, Japanese cars are always reliable and dependable and the single greatest thing punani so we know you'll buy this no matter what the other brands are making

    1. dwbf11 Avatar

      Sorry, come again?
      Thanks Jim for the review, and for clearly avoiding creating yet another over-dramatized and over-stylized review of the same car making its way around some of the *other* sites right now.

      1. The son of Gimmi Avatar

        The internet experts, once again, will miss the point of the car.
        THIS ISNT FOR YOU!
        The 3, the Focus, in some aspects even the Dart and Golf are better for you if you want higher quality fit and finish and better driving dynamics.
        By comparison, there are A LOT MORE drivers on the roads who do not give a flying fuck about such things. Hence, Corolla.
        I wouldn't buy one, that doesn't mean I can't respect why it exists.
        Everything that makes the 3 better to enthusiasts (and as such is marketed as being more enthusiastic) is something that the average Corolla buyer DOES NOT give a damn about.
        They'll look at both, but the Mazda is marketed as being more sporty and more this or more that and the Corolla guy will say "Okay, but I don't want any of that"
        Toyota knows their market, they know HOW to market the car and they know how to get the sales from that market. You want Toyota to change their car to appeal to a market that is already well serviced and to cater to a bunch of internet experts who wouldn't be buying their car in the first place no matter what it was.

        1. dwbf11 Avatar

          Now, that makes sense. Well put.

          1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar

            For posterity 'The son of Gimmi' wrote above first:
            "The 2014 Corolla: Because fuck you haha, Japanese cars are always reliable and dependable and the single greatest thing punani so we know you'll buy this no matter what the other brands are making"
            Then wrote:
            "The internet experts, once again, will miss the point of the car.
            THIS ISNT FOR YOU!
            The 3, the Focus, in some aspects even the Dart and Golf are better for you if you want higher quality fit and finish and better driving dynamics.
            By comparison, there are A LOT MORE drivers on the roads who do not give a flying fuck about such things. Hence, Corolla.
            I wouldn't buy one, that doesn't mean I can't respect why it exists.
            Everything that makes the 3 better to enthusiasts (and as such is marketed as being more enthusiastic) is something that the average Corolla buyer DOES NOT give a damn about.
            They'll look at both, but the Mazda is marketed as being more sporty and more this or more that and the Corolla guy will say "Okay, but I don't want any of that"
            Toyota knows their market, they know HOW to market the car and they know how to get the sales from that market. You want Toyota to change their car to appeal to a market that is already well serviced and to cater to a bunch of internet experts who wouldn't be buying their car in the first place no matter what it was."

          2. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar

            The oppositelock link above was by waymoe:
            "I am not a troll. Or a bot. I am Waymoe.
            I am not a troll. I do not troll for the sake of trolling. I poke fun at people with inflated egos and reply to rantings with logic, presented in a funny way.
            Victorias Secret. Can we not have a conversation? Do you perceive me to be slighting you by replying with logical statements?
            Exhibit 1:
            V: The internet experts, once again, will miss the point of the car.
            THIS ISNT FOR YOU!
            The 3, the Focus, in some aspects even the Dart and Golf are better for you if you want higher quality fit and finish and better driving dynamics.
            By comparison, there are A LOT MORE drivers on the roads who do not give a flying fuck about such things. Hence, Corolla.
            I wouldn't buy one, that doesn't mean I can't respect why it exists
            Waymoe: "higher quality fit and finish and better driving dynamics."
            What does this mean? Fit and finish is Kimi no? I have droven Darts, Golfs, Mazda3, Focus, Sonatas and Velosters. They are the same inside. The veloster was not great but I can not complain because it has odd number of doors and I have even number of arms. The Corolla is the same as these cars, it is just a Toyota. The corolla isnt designed to go very fast or corner very fast and neither are any of the cars mentioned above. They are all the same, you just perceive them to be different because you are angry. I will offer you a hug. But no hand stuff.
            Am I trolling him? Do I deserve a dismissal or do I deserve a reasonable answer to my rebuttal? I think we all know the correct choice of actions is to defend your claim and then we can move on as adults.
            Exhibit 2:
            V: Everything that makes the 3 better to enthusiasts (and as such is marketed as being more enthusiastic) is something that the average Corolla buyer DOES NOT give a damn about.
            They'll look at both, but the Mazda is marketed as being more sporty and more this or more that and the Corolla guy will say "Okay, but I don't want any of that"
            Toyota knows their market, they know HOW to market the car and they know how to get the sales from that market. You want Toyota to change their car to appeal to a market that is already well serviced and to cater to a bunch of internet experts who wouldn't be buying their car in the first place no matter what it was
            Waymoe: They are the same car. You say yourself it is just marketing. Stop fighting the bad fight. Fight the good fight, the one with kittens
            I present to you 2 pieces of evidence. After review of the facts you shall see that I am no troll. I simply present my arguments in certain ways, ways many of you also use. VS is the internet expert and I am merely the internet user, I know my place from now on. I have consulted the internet experts and the finding is that Victoria's Secret is that she is a bitch. A dismissive bitch. or thundercunt, depending on the wordsmith who is smithing the words."

            1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar

              Oh and look at this comment from waymoe under that same post:
              "FYI, I have been here a long time, you know me as someone else."
              Look can jalopnik please have all these trolls under various names like gimmi or son of gimmi or waymoe or bobo or krasnik or whatever they all are just all stay over there. It has been becoming ridiculous here lately.

            2. Maxichamp Avatar

              Huh? Come again?
              Call me crazy, but I really liked the Dart rental I drove over a weekend last year.

          3. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar

            I am not in a good mood about the recent trolling that has descended upon the 'verse. There was also this by waymoe earlier: http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/waymoe-unnlimite

            1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar

              Reproduced here:
              "Waymoe UNNlimited: For people who want to drive good and do other car stuff good too
              Hello and hi to you. I am waymoe and this is my test drive review series and today I will be test drive reviewing the Honda Insight which is a car so it meets the criteria. This was a Zipcar which means I did not have to ruin a salesmans day by not buying anything and then crashing into traffic.
              This is what the inside looks like.
              SEXPAND
              As you can tell it is a car made for the future. A future where gasoline is expensive but not so expensive that you buy a Leaf or learn to walk so it is the perfect niche car for now.
              Interior 5/9
              The layout of the car is very good but if you dont have arms I would not buy it as everything is far away from your shoulders which would make it hard for even the mightiest of creatures, the T Rex, to drive it let alone set the radio station to Lite FM.
              The seats are comfortable and made of foam so they do not hurt like a park bench does. There wasnt a center console which is annoying, unless you dont have arms then it isnt an issue, but storage was obviously lacking so I had to keep my capri suns in my lap. There is a glove box which was big enough for many gloves or other documentation and a little square opening next to it for keeping small square things like your moms dildo in it.
              Exterior 16.5/baseball
              The car was red like my passion for burning ferraris! It looked like a CR-Z and a Prius had a baby and then that baby decided to build a Honda Insight. There is a black bar directly in your line of seeing out the back so it is hard to not run over children so just remember that the next time you are scoping out a slumber party in Alabama.
              Mechanicals */%
              The Honda Insight shares many things with formula 1 cars like KERS, red paint, and many dials. The engine is of some size that doesnt really matter because its a Honda Insight and you have better things to worry about. Pedal feel is fine unless you dont haev feet then you cant feel anything so who cares even if you are a race car man you dont need pedal feel because it is a honda insight. Acceleration is smooth until you stop, then it is nothing. The car has stop-start technology which is good because when I stop at lights I like to be able to move again, stop-stop technology would not have been a good thing to make. There is an electric motor in the car that helps boost you when you are slow or something like KERs in forumla 1 except it always works which means it is not Hamiltons car. MPG is better than expected mainly because I use Kilometers and math is hard.
              Overall I give this car a potato/18 because it got me places for cheap and I didnt have to lie to anyone to be able to drive it around. I did drift the car around a turn when it understored and then I had to power through it with a j turning hand brake so that was cool though."

              1. Waymoe Avatar

                Sup

  4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Okay, can I rant for a moment? WHY, WHY, WHY would you equip a car with a CVT, which in theory is a good thing because they're simple and smooth and all about keeping the engine precisely at its most efficient operating speed, and then deliberately step the revs so that it's significantly less smooth AND less efficient? Can somebody explain the logic of this to me? PLEASE, forcibly strap all of these "engineers" into a snowmobile or a frickin' DAF 66, so they can figure out how it's done.

    1. ninjacoco Avatar

      THANK YOU! I usually drive a Lancer with a CVT that functions…like a CVT! Having been stuck in a traditional automatic for the past couple weeks has bee agony in comparison. Having pedal position correlate to tach position is much preferable (and much smoother!) than having jerky random shift points in there that always seem to come at the wrong time.

    2. Maxichamp Avatar

      That's exactly what I thought. If I had a car with a CVT, I would be bragging about it because of its checkered history. I remember reading about the DAF CVT five or six years ago and thinking that's so cool and bonkers, and how I wished they would sell cars with CVT again. I would rather drive a CVT without the artificial shift points just so that I could bore my passengers with pointing out how cool my car is for having a CVT just like the Dutch DAF.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        In my automotive experience, the CVT isn't the first thing people notice anyway.
        <img src="http://clunkbucket.com/wp-content/gallery/1980-kv-mini-1/img_6618.jpg&quot; width="350">

        1. jeepjeff Avatar

          Your KV Mini is a whole different level of tire-shredding glory.

          1. FЯeeMan Avatar

            Wouldn't that be tire-grinding glory?

        2. ptschett Avatar

          You could say that a person has to have a pair of stones to drive that car.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            That's how I roll.

      2. Otto Nobedder Avatar

        Ask a Mini owner how much it cost to (prematurely) have their CVT rebuilt/replaced…
        Ditto the Versa with CVT. Lets not get into an argument-the concept is great…the implementation is lacking for MOST cars..

        1. Maxichamp Avatar

          I must admit that my knowledge of CVTs is very superficial. I understand that they are cheaper to make than traditional transmissions. So cheap, in fact, that in many cases it's cheaper to just throw away the old CVT and stick in a new one.

    3. jeepjeff Avatar

      I'm pretty sure it's for the Corolla S crowd. They have no idea what the word "apex" means, and don't have the where-with-all to buy a real sports car (like the FR-S), but still want to pretend they have a Lambo sometimes (or think really hard about pretending to have a Lambo… I can't say I've ever seen a Corolla S driven in anger on the street*).
      * Edit to add: I just realized, it might not be possible to tell…

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Yes, but wouldn't the cluelessness of the typical Corolla buyer preclude any of them ever saying "It's so unsettling, the way I never feel the transmission shift."

    4. luisthebeast Avatar

      So this is what the review left out. The CVT functions like a CVT with some special tuning that won't give you the rubber band effect that other CVTs seem to have. But it also has a "sport" mode with 7 steps ("gears") to give you the feeling of a semi-auto gearbox.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Yes, I understand that the stepped "gearing" is one of several operational modes. That doesn't make the "feature" any more rational, or less irritating.

        1. luisthebeast Avatar

          Why is it irritating? If you want to select gears you can but if you don't want to, you don't have to. If it can be done but is optional, why is it a problem?

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

            It shouldn't exist in the first place, because it makes no sense. Let's say that your car had a "feature" that strobed the dome light when you put it in reverse. Would the ability to disable it somehow make it seem less stupid to include it in the first place?

            1. luisthebeast Avatar

              That's not the same thing. That type of argument is invalid. The idea is that you can select a gear if you wanted to in order to have a more traditional sensation. Since transmissions exist where you can select what gear you want, it's only logical that if you can add that feature to a CVT, you should if it doesn't hinder the operation of the CVT. So if you so please, you can select your gear or you can let the CVT operate how it normally does. The key here is that it's optional and the driver selects what they want.

              1. Maxichamp Avatar

                I understand where both of you are coming from and you both have valid points. Except with the Corolla's CVT, it felt like it took forever for it to "shift". And it didn't feel like a "natural" automatic transmission shifting. Hence, my description of it as feeling "artificial".

                1. luisthebeast Avatar

                  How slow was it?

                  1. Maxichamp Avatar

                    It felt like over a second after you asked it to “shift”. And the actual process of “shifting” felt like over a second in duration. I didn't time it, but it felt like a long time.In Toyota's defense, they added this feature to give their owners the feeling that they are driving a fun car that they can shift. I know that they put a lot of thought into it and cared to ask me for my thoughts. I assume this is the first production car to have this feature on a CVT. (I could be wrong.) And with any first attempt, there is room for improvement. (See BMW iDrive.)

                    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

                      I don't think you get this combo over there but the 1.33l yaris with the CVT had this feature a couple of years ago. Didn't work very well there either. Also the CVT in normal mode wouldn't rev high enough so it was slow; Sport mode worked much better but kept the revs too high when just crusing so that wasn't good either.. Ended up turning the sport-mode on and off several times during every drive. Other than that I actually liked the car.
                      GS450h also has paddles on a CVT.

                    2. Devin Avatar

                      The Nissan Rogue from whenever that came out had paddles and a CVT. I thought it was odd then.

              2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

                Excellent points. You're correct; my illustration is not applicable. Perhaps a feature such as including manual override of a car's automatic spark advance (just because cars used to have it) would be more analogous?
                Regardless, I must concede (mostly). While I have a hard time imagining that a significant percentage of drivers' personal preferences are so strong in this area to require it, that might be the case. Auto manufacturers do make it their business to know these things, after all. And perhaps keeping the transmission ratio at a particular point manual just might be preferable in some driving environments, similar to being able to select low gear on a slushbox.
                I guess the tipping point for me is how much added cost and complexity that feature really adds. If it's just a few lines of code in a software program and two momentary switches, no biggie. If it means there's a bunch of servos, switches and hydraulic lines have to be added just for that feature, then I'd have a bigger problem with it.

                1. luisthebeast Avatar

                  Ah! Manual spark advance would be a good example but it would have to be semi-manual advance where it wouldn't allow you to advance the timing if it detects a knock event. It would be interesting to have because you could advance as you pleased and get the peak torque you want.
                  At any rate, the mechanism that actuates the CVT cones should be enough to create the steps necessary to simulate gears so it would just be software that controls that.

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    "Valvematic just kicked in, yo!"
    Nope, just doesn't have the same ring to it.

  6. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

    I guess they did just enough to keep selling them. Toyota seems to realize that they really don't need to do much of anything at this point, and can still ride their reputation. I keep trying to think of what to add, but I honestly can't say much about a car that does absolutely nothing for me.
    Solid review, Jim.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      I was talking to a friend who is not a car guy about reviewing the Corolla. All he said was: Who cares how it drives, all I care is whether it's reliable.
      That is everything, in a nutshell.

      1. BobWellington Avatar

        That's sad to hear.

  7. MattC Avatar

    Great review Jim
    I tend to agree that the primary reason that Toyota has continues to stick with the same 1.8l/4speed auto setup is reliability. The target audience for the Corolla is interested in reliable transportation rather than a sporty driving experience. To be quite honest, these days the choices of sporty yet economical cars is astounding. The Corolla will never be included that list.
    The 4 speed auto may be antiquated but I had a similar setup in my 2009 Rav4 and found the gearing to be spot on and well matched to the 2.5l engine. I have driven the previous Toyota Corolla with the 1.8l/4speed setup and it is fine for what it is. The CVT option is inevitable but I still find that few work as well as stated.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Hey stranger! Where have you been?!
      Thanks for the compliment. Though it probably doesn't look like it, I spent a lot of time on this write-up. I could write a post just about writing this post.
      I really preferred the 4 speed auto to the CVT in the Corolla, and I wasn't trying to be ironic. It's unpretentious and very predictable. The CVT just left me scratching my head.

      1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

        You did a much better job than I probably could have. Mine would have boiled down to something like this:
        Pros:
        -It's a car.
        Cons:
        -Ehh.

        1. Jeff Glucker Avatar

          Same here…

        2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

          Now expand that to 800 words and make it interesting..

      2. MattC Avatar

        Thanks. I have been around, mostly lurking and some traveling. I was in Alaska for two weeks without any decent internet access. I do agree on the 4 speed. My old 2009 Rav4 routinely achieve better gas mileage and accelerated better than my wifes "08 CRV (with a 5 speed auto). So to me, the chouce of a 4speed is not such a demerit as it sounds on paper. Properly spaced ratios well matched with the engine does make a difference. Keep up the posts, I enjoy your reviews as well as your other site

        1. Maxichamp Avatar

          Glad to hear from you. I was ready to send out a search party for you.

        2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

          I would follow you if you had an IDC profile.

          1. Maxichamp Avatar

            He's a CIA spy.
            But seriously, MattC is good people and a lover of cars.

    2. luisthebeast Avatar

      You have to keep in mind that Toyota only expects about 10% of the Corollas to have the 4 speed auto. The majority will have the CVT and 10% will have the 6-speed.

      1. The son of Gimmi Avatar

        Toyota's move to make continuously variable transmissions the norm on many of its models. The company plans to produce upward of 1 million CVTs per year worldwide, on both hybrid and traditionally powered cars. In the US, the Venza crossover already comes with CVT as an option, and Toyota's new Yaris subcompact will get optional CVT. The move will mean more business for the company's Jatco division, which will supply the trannies (from a new plant in Mexico) for Toyotas and for the 2007 Dodge Caliber. Since CVTs swap gear ratios continuously, acceleration comes without the telltale pause between gear swaps in a traditional automatic. As for the whiny noise, we'll all just have to get used to it.

        1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar

          Yeah I know who owns Jatco, you're a sad individual http://jalopnik.com/128912/hit+and+run-transmissi… having nothing better to do than to steal from a nearly decade old post by The Postfather himself, please go away:
          "ToyotaNissan's move to make continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) — a design for which showed up in ol' Lenny's notebooks — the norm on many of its models. The company plans to produce upward of 1 million CVTs per year worldwide, on both hybrid and traditionally powered cars. In the US, the VenzaMurano crossover already comes with CVT as an option, and ToyotaNissan's new YarisVersa subcompact will get optional CVT. The move will mean more business for the company's Jatco division, which will supply the trannies (from a new plant in Mexico) for ToyotasNissans and for the 2007 Dodge Caliber. Since CVTs swap gear ratios continuously, acceleration comes without the telltale pause between gear swaps in a traditional automatic. As for the whiny noise, we'll all just have to get used to it."

  8. Devin Avatar

    As someone who will only drive one of these if I rent one while on vacation or an old lady or deer runs into my regular car (it's happened before), there's really one vitally important piece of information that wasn't covered in the above: Is the power mirror switch location as annoying to use as it looks in photos, being on the lower dash and all? Because it's really annoying to reach for a switch that you have to be in your normal seating position to use properly, but it's also going to be a switch I definitely have to use if I'm driving a Corolla.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      I do not recall. But overall, I was satisfied with the car's ergonomics. I did have a hard time figuring out how to operate the paddle shifters, but I have to admit that I am part dufus.

  9. dukeisduke Avatar

    Two generations back, they had the XRS, with a 2.4l VVTI-l engine hooked to a 6-speed manual. They didn't sell too many of those, and in the last-gen they offered a milder version of the XRS for a short while. They could build a real performance version; they just don't want to.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Apparently, the Matrix is still available in Canada.

      1. Devin Avatar

        For next year at least, but it always sold better here than there. Of course, it doesn't sell great, since most dealers I know were convinced they cancelled it a while ago.

        1. Maxichamp Avatar

          Where are the Matrixes made after they closed down NUMMI? What other markets get Matrixes?

          1. Devin Avatar

            Matrixes are made in Ontario, same place as Corollas. Production actually moved to Ontario before NUMMI even closed.
            It's only sold in Canada now, but I guess the tooling has been paid for so it's profitable until nobody wants them.

            1. Maxichamp Avatar

              I envision it as the 2018 Volga 21038!

              1. Devin Avatar

                I hope that eventually we get a weird Canada-exclusive Matrix pickup like what happened with the Lada Niva.

                1. Maxichamp Avatar

                  Look for Chris to do a post about brochures he got in 2033.

                  1. FЯeeMan Avatar

                    Crap. First AT tells us who the new Doctor is, and now you're telling us who the next companion is?
                    That's it. I'm outta here!

            2. LTDScott Avatar

              Weird thing I learned the other day: NUMMI era Vibes used Delphi (former division of GM) A/C compressors, whereas Matrixesesices used Denso (Japanese) compressors. I wonder if they had some agreement about vehicle content on each side.

  10. badhatharry Avatar

    Paddle shifters in a Corolla? I find this so dumb that I can't think of anything snarky to say.
    Wait… No. Lost it.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      We need more of your straight-talkin' sass here on Hooniverse.

  11. Kogashiwa Avatar

    I guess a six-speed manual is only fairly theoretically available if they didn't even have any to test at this event?

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      They did have it at the event. But they only had one. For 23 of us.
      I vaguely remember Toyota saying they anticipate 5% of the Corollas to come with manuals. Don't quote me on that though.

      1. luisthebeast Avatar

        I've seen a 10% number thrown out.

        1. FЯeeMan Avatar

          BMW had something along the lines of a 5% take on manual M3s before they decided to ditch it entirely. I find it hard to believe Toyota expects more people to by a manual refrigerator than a manual BMW.
          *numbers to the best of my recollection
          **BMW was a worldwide take, if I remember correctly
          ***Toyota's expectations in the US, must be below 5%…

          1. skitter Avatar

            When I was used-car shopping for my mom, I was under the impression that previous generation Corollas had no manual option. And I can't find the source, but I remember one GM exec commenting that they expected about eight for the manual CTS-V wagon, one of the greatest vehicles ever built. Eight percent? No. Eight.

            1. FЯeeMan Avatar

              I'm making sure that all three of my kids are proud of themselves and their mom for being able to operate a three pedaled car. I keep telling them it's the best form of theft deterrent there is.
              Also, Cadillac. 8 seems about right…

            2. Maxichamp Avatar

              I'm still looking for that single 2003 Merc C320 wagon with the stick.

          2. BobWellington Avatar

            I think part of it is that in the BMW, mostly douche bags drive them, and douche bags don't like to do more than they have to. Also, the Corolla is an economy car, and so it costs less with the manual. But still, 10% does seem high.

            1. FЯeeMan Avatar

              Your point about BMW drivers is, sadly, valid. However, your typical wet-behind-the-ears, newly minted drivers license/college diploma/McDonalds hat toting person likely to be considering a low cost, high reliability appliance purchase such as a Corolla probably doesn't want to do any extra work in the drivers seat either. It might interfere with the true purpose of driving, which is to get from A to B without spilling soda or dropping chips while texting and yapping on the phone.

              1. BobWellington Avatar

                You're definitely right about those driving the Corolla. Those that are really looking for the cheapest option aren't going to buy a brand new Corolla anyway, so it makes sense. I just wish more people cared about the actual driving dynamics of cars. People are so boring and uninteresting these days.

  12. Cookies Avatar

    Great review, thank you! Even as a car layman I got the gist.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Thank you, kind lady.

  13. Maymar Avatar

    I get that the Corolla is reliable and economical and fantastic if you only ever buy products based on a Consumers Report recommendation. And that's fine. I know plenty of people who swing that way, vehicularly. But I've never got why Toyotas have been so successful when Honda does the exact same thing, but manages to keep it from being completely depressing. I mean, I see too many current Corollas (and it's always the blandest CE spec car) on a weekly basis, all gray mouse fur interior, neutral paint colours, and the desire to go get my mood pharmaceutically improved. Say what you will about the 2012 Civic (although I'm still seeing more 8th gens), but that still had lingering interestingness carried over from the older car.
    To be fair to Toyota, at least the interiors they've been putting out lately haven't been quite so bad I'm forced to wonder what mistakes I made in my life to be in that car.

  14. DogsOfWar Avatar

    I like that Toyota turned this one up to 11.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      "I like that Toyota turned this one up to 1.1"
      Your decimal point was in the wrong place. I fixed it.

      1. FЯeeMan Avatar

        I like that Toyota turned this one up to XI
        Your subtlety detector was off a notch. I fixed it for ya'

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

          I got the joke. I was just making an additional one.

    2. BobWellington Avatar

      On the ugly scale.

  15. BobWellington Avatar

    Toyota's design is just so off, even with a derivative design like this. All of their vehicles (other than the FR-S, which I don't really consider a true Toyota) just have this cheap, tacky, backwards design language.

  16. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Screw the cars, check out that AWESOME SHIP BEHIND IT!!!
    Well, what I mean is she might just be a tarted-up hussy full of trinkets now, but once upon a time she was one of the most famous, feared and revered warships in the world. Many legends of the Far-East and tales of sailors on liberty originated via those who once walked her decks. Pilots had to have the biggest balls to land upon her centerline and crews had to have the greatest skills to keep her safely going. The liberty ports were exceptional, as she was nearly always underway or on-call to do so on short notice, as America's only (at the time) forward deployed aircraft carrier.
    She was my first, and I among her last. That old gal took me into battle then brought me safely home, and I returned the favor when we brought her back to American soil for the first time in 17 years – after being stationed overseas in Japan for almost a generation.
    My grandfather sailed alongside her on an Essex-Class carrier when the Midway first launched just after WWII, and marveled at the World's largest warship of it's time. Nearly 50 years later I would get a chance to do the same, sailing alongside the newly launched USS Lincoln and marveling from the Midway's decks. Being able to share these stories with him was absolutely priceless. Many of the ports, traditions, and even some of the equipment had remained exactly the same even after all those years.
    At the end of her final I/O (Indian Ocean) & West-Pac cruise I had this custom jacket hand-made in the Philippines to commemorate the moment in history. It remains one of my most prized possessions.
    <img src="https://sphotos-b-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/76115_1708085986536_5158917_n.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Back on topic, the cars are fine too. I'd probably rent one if I was trying to save money.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Interesting backdrop for the launch of a Japanese car, right?

      1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        I had similar thoughts.
        From the mid-70's up until it retired in the early 90's, the Midway was very famous and well known in Japan. Not so much for what the name stood for as much as being a giant iconic piece of American culture on their shores.

        1. Maxichamp Avatar

          Where were you stationed? I vaguely recall visiting an aircraft carrier during an open house at Yokosuka as a kid in the late 1980s.

          1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

            Yokosuka. 🙂 That's kinda awesome actually.
            "Friendship day" we called it. Many a phone number could be had on those wonderful events…

            1. Maxichamp Avatar

              Ha! I spent summers in Japan and I was just happy to get a Rice Crispies treat on base.

    2. longrooffan Avatar

      Thanks to you, and your dad, for your service to our country. And this olelongrooffan is absolutely serious with this comment. Thanks.

      1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        Thanks John!

  17. Komal Singh Avatar

    Very nice article about Toyota Corolla car.If anybody needs to Buy Toyota Corolla Tyres Onlineplease visit Tyreonwheels.

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