Highlights: The Corolla is the first automatic gasoline engine in the segment pushing out 42-mpg on the highway. And, despite having a dated design, the Corolla still managed to place number two in sales for the segment in 2012. Over the past 45 years 10 million Corollas have been sold.

Price Range: The 2014 Corolla is priced from $17,600 for the base L model, climbing to near $22,100 when opting for the sporty like S trim with a manual transmission.

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: 8 airbags (driver, passenger, knee, side and rear); driver and passenger whiplash injury seats; a tire pressure monitoring system; and Toyota’s signature Smart Stop Technology which includes stability control, ABS, traction control, brake distribution, and brake assist.

Standard Equipment: 15-inch wheels; LED daytime running lights; power windows; power door locks; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a manually operated cloth front seats

Standard Audio: a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD with MP3, iPod Connectivity and Music Streaming Capabilities

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Engine/Horsepower:

1.8-liter, 4-cylinder/132-hp
1.8-liter, 4-cylinder/140-hp (LE and Eco models)

Recommended Fuel: Regular Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage:

28 city/37 hwy – 1.8, 4-cylinder
30 city/42 hwy – 1.8, 4-cylinder (LE and Eco models)

Trim Levels:

L
LE
S
LE Eco

What’s New: After numerous delays, the 2014 Corolla has finally arrived, with an expressive design, which mimics that of the brand’s current-generation flagship vehicle, the Avalon. The 2014 Corolla wheelbase rides on a longer, wider and slightly lower platform. To complement the new design, the compact vehicle offers a few segment exclusives and a host of must-have technological features.

Standout Features: The 2014 Corolla offers more legroom than others in the segment, a class-leading 4-cylinder Eco model pushing 42-mpg on the highway and LED headlights. Corollas executives are also counting on this vehicle to be one of the quietest compacts in the segment, too. No, it’s not as quiet, as its big sister, Lexus. However, Toyota is striving for it to be the quietest compact to date.

Besides the quiet-tuned interior, the Corolla is now available with a push-button ignition starter, an automatic ventilation system, two-tone interior trim, Bluetooth capabilities, a rear decklid spoiler, the second-generation Entune audio infotainment system with Apps, a nav system, a rear back up camera, and a one-piece instrument panel, which helps to reduce squeaks and rattles.

And for those seeking a sportier Corolla, the Sport trim is available, offering a firmer suspension system and 17-inch wheels, paddle shifters, a new CVT engine, and a Sport mode which alters the steering and transmission response. Unfortunately due a small time window, we didn’t have an opportunity to spend time in the manual transmission Sport that was available for a media review.

Opportunity for Improvement: While Toyota has immensely improved the Corolla, the vehicle lacked a rear center armrest and real leather seats. Toyota offers pseudo-leather seats, which are known as Soft-tex. Toyota claims that they are more durable and last longer. Moreover, the telescopic steering wheel was a welcome addition. Unfortunately, the wheel is limited is its reach, as it relates to the length. Moreover, while the vehicle offers class rear leg room, the headroom is somewhat limited for taller occupants.

Furthermore, Toyota should consider adding audible rear sensors to compliment the back up camera. This would just serve as an additional added value safety measure.

Early Verdict: The 2014 Corolla has remained one of the top vehicles in the segment even with a dated design. With the arrival of the new Corolla, buyers no longer have to purchase the vehicle because it’s been a reliable staple in the car industry for approximately 45 years. The curvaceous expressive design and the array of new features will surely provide other selling advantages to attract a new base of buyers. In fact, as one Toyota marketing executive mentioned, the vehicle is now in a position to peel away sales from the Focus and Civic.

In addition to going after the general market for sales, Toyota has been one of the few automakers who have literally invested in the community, that being the Hispanic and African American community. In fact, Toyota is counting on young black male professionals to put the sportier looking, high-tech Corolla on their shopping list.

The 2014 Corolla may finally have what it takes to resume its position of being the top selling vehicle in the segment again. The new Corolla is available in a variety of trim levels, with either a manual or an automatic transmission. There is no doubt that the curvaceous 2014 Corolla will continue to be a segment leader.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait until we spend a week with a vehicle to evaluate the driving impression of the Corolla. In the short period we spent with the vehicle it met our expectations for a compact, as it relates to acceleration and handling capabilities. Look for a more extensive review in the near future.

Competition: Chevy Cruze, Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda3 and Nissan Sentra
 
Reviewer’s Background:

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com.  Follow him twitter/JeffCars.

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