The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

January 21, 2014

Corolla gets a makeover

Popular Toyota compact car more efficient, enjoyable for 2014

For decades now, the Toyota Corolla has been the default choice for millions of people who want a dependable little car.

In fact, the Corolla’s long-term reputation for reliability is a big reason people think of Toyota as a quality brand. It’s a foundational car for Toyota, one that sells in huge volume in the United States and around the world, which sets the tone for the entire global company.

And that’s what makes this car, the all-new 2014 Corolla, incredibly important.

This year marks the start of a new generation of Corolla, and this fresh version feels dramatically different from the old one when you get behind the steering wheel.

For one thing, it addresses the outgoing Corolla’s only two weaknesses in my mind — fuel economy and driving enjoyment — while also getting a fresh look inside and out.

The fuel economy issue may come as a surprise to many buyers who think of the Corolla as an efficient, economical car, but it had actually fallen behind its competitors by the end of the previous generation’s lifespan. Last year’s Corolla was rated for 34 mpg on the highway, which was unimpressive when many of its competitors could brag about ratings of 40+ mpg.

That changes with this next-generation design. The new Corolla is available in a special Eco version that is rated for 42 mpg on the highway, and even the non-Eco Corolla gets a 38 highway/29 city rating — a nice jump over the outgoing model.

For me, though, the bigger news is that Toyota has actually managed to fix one of my longstanding, picky complaints about the Corolla: its dull driving feel.

My test car — an S model that comes with a firmer, sportier suspension than the base version — is more fun to drive than I can ever remember a Corolla being. Its suspension has an almost Honda-like tautness, providing the kind of precise, dynamic feedback to the driver that make small cars enjoyable on winding roads.

And if you prefer the previous Corolla’s soft, compliant ride, the ordinary suspension is still tuned for comfort and smoothness. Basically, you can choose whether you want your Corolla softly or firmly sprung.

Another thing I like about the new design is that Toyota’s engineers paid close attention to tuning their new continuously variable transmission (CVT).

CVTs are good for improving gas mileage on small cars like the Corolla, so they’re getting more popular these days. They come with a downside, though: an often-criticized “rubber band” driving feel that can drain any sense of fun from the driving experience.

The Corolla’s CVT is better than most because the designers built it to emulate shift points like traditional transmissions. It offers a better sense of acceleration and control as a result.

An all-new cabin and prettier sheetmetal make the Corolla more attractive than before. I love the material choices and overall design, with refined surfaces and careful use of accent colors in the cabin, but I miss the solid, heavy, carved-from-granite feeling in the old Corolla. The new version is considerably lighter to save on gas, and you can feel it.

Overall, though, the new Corolla is a great match for today’s drivers. The new S model’s serious sportiness is a pleasant surprise, and the improved fuel economy is a good fit for the times.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • This Weekend in Stanly County

    After a week at work, weekends are a good time to get out into the fresh air on these long, balmy summer days. Stanly County offers plenty of places for you to do just that.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ruth Moose Author inks book deal from 26-year-old draft

    After 26 years tucked away in a drawer, one might think the story had grown stale, that it had sat in the dark too long to be revived into something palatable.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results