The 11th generation of Toyota's best-selling nameplate in the world and second in the U.S. after the Camry ranking 8th overall last year (albeit including sales of the Matrix), which is none other than the 2014 Corolla compact sedan, made its world premiere tonight in Santa Monica, California.
Toyota had prepared us for the Corolla's looks with the Furia concept at the Detroit motor show this year, but if you were expecting the same sported up and hunkered down stance, you'll be disappointed. That's not to say the new Corolla isn't more interesting to look at on the outside than the outgoing model, but that doesn't say much, does it now…
There are many styling influences from the much larger Avalon, both on the outside, especially up front with five point lower grille and the standard LED headlamps, and even more inside with the dashboard that looks far more premium and interesting than that of the previous generation Corolla.
The renewed interior design is matched to a more spacious passenger cabin, courtesy of a 3.93-inch (99.8 mm) longer wheelbase at 106.3-inches (2,700mm), which Toyota says helps offer a rear seat area that is 2.95-inches (75mm) longer than the previous model.
At 182.6 inches (4,650mm) long, 69.9 inches (1,776mm) wide, and 57.3 inches (1.455mm) tall, the new gen Corolla is 3.9 inches (99mm) longer, 0.63 inches (16mm) wider and 0.39 inches (10mm) lower than the car it replaces.
If you pop up the hood, you'll find one of two available 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines, the first producing 132-horsepower and 128 lb-ft of peak torque in the LE, and S grade models, and the other, 140hp and 126 lb-ft in the newly added Eco-badged versions.
There are three available transmissions, a six-speed manual on the Corolla L and S grades, a four-speed automatic for the base L (yes, Toyota insists on offering such a gearbox in this day and age), and a newly developed 7-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) dubbed CVTi-S (“i” for intelligent, “S” for shift) on the S, LE, and Eco.
Toyota said that the Eco-badged models will achieve an estimated highway fuel economy rating of over 40 mpg, which is equal to 5.9 lt/100km or 48mpg UK.
Other bits highlighted in Toyota's preliminary release include the use of lightweight, high-strength steel to help keep vehicle weight below 2,900 pounds (1,315 kg), and the standard equipment list with eight airbags, LED lowbeam headlamps and Bluetooth hand-free phone and audio-streaming connectivity.
We don’t have pricing yet, but it shouldn't be long before Toyota tells us how much it will ask for the new Corolla when it goes on sale in the States later this year competing against the likes of the Honda Civic (recently refreshed), Ford Focus, Kia Forte and Dodge Dart.