Back in my senior year of high school, I was lucky enough to have a brand new 2007 Toyota Corolla S as my first car. Although it wasn’t as luxurious or as powerful as the pricey German cars that surrounded it at my school’s parking, I thought it was great. It was stylish for the time, had great gas mileage, and was relatively quick. Since then, the Corolla, along with many vehicles in the Toyota line, have come to be seen as vehicles that just get you from point A to point B, most recently seen in the Prius.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Toyotas are decent cars and I currently drive one, but throughout the years there haven’t been any groundbreaking features on the Corolla. When I had a chance to get behind the wheel of the 2013 Toyota Corolla S, I was surprised with how little had changed in the past six model years. Although it had a few new technological features, there really wasn’t anything noticeably different about how it drove. It had the same interior, same performance, and only minor exterior changes. However, I still thought it was a decent car.
Over Labor Day Weekend, I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco Plus, a brand new model for the new model year. From the perspective of a past owner, I can tell you that the new Corolla has stepped up its game. Finally. The interior finally feels modern with a new infotainment setup, roomier cabin, and comfortable seating with a new dual-color design. Even the exterior gets an upgrade, which has been heavily based off the Corolla Furia concept. It no longer features styling cues of past models, but is sleek and smart.
Toyota has enhanced everything that makes the Corolla a top-selling vehicle without taking away or adding anything that will make it seem anything but. It’s not a competitor for more sporty compact sedans, and the automaker knows this. Driving the new Corolla, I was glad to see that it performed much better than the outgoing model. Although acceleration may not be as fast as some would like, it’s an improvement. Current Corolla owners will enjoy the new models thanks to the updates it has received, including better steering and more firm suspension, but the CVT could react more quickly when you hit the gas. Handling has also taken a step forward, having no problem turning or stopping.
Overall I enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco Plus. I do want to drive the new S model, as I feel that is personally the most enjoyable model to drive, but the brand-new model offered and insight into the new model that has shown that the Corolla has entered the modern era. When compared to other compact sedans, the Corolla is nowhere near as sporty as the likes of the Mazda3 and doesn’t offer in-your-face styling, but what it does offer is improvements on what makes a Corolla a Corolla. Toyota didn’t try to make it into something it isn’t, and I think that’s what I like most about the new models. Toyota is finally going in the right direction with the introduction of the new 2014 Corolla.