The Toyota Corolla is something of an enigma. The current model debuted in 2008 as a 2009 model, but it was largely a refreshed and restyled version of the Corolla before it, which debuted in 2003. The point is that the current generation Corolla is at least two steps behind its competition. It has a four-speed automatic transmission, where most of its competitors have five or more. Its 1.8-liter four-cylinder boasts no special technology, like turbochargers or direct injection, and it’s pretty far off the pace when it comes to fuel economy. Its interior doesn’t offer the high style of its competition, and its exterior is generic to the point that you’d think it’d be sold in six-packs. In fact, by most objective and subjective criteria, it’s one of the lowest-tech, oldest, and under performing cars for the money.
And Toyota can’t build them fast enough. Seriously, despite all this, the Toyota Corolla maintains a steady lead over its competition, and is in competition with the Honda Civic–an all-new vehicle, it should be mentioned–for best-in-class sales. OK, fine, a certain portion of that is likely to fleets and rental car companies, but you only need drive down the street to see how many regular ol’ folks are buying new Corollas. They’re everywhere.
Which probably makes the prospect of a 2014 Toyota Corolla a little terrifying for Toyota executives. After all, the current formula of conservatively reliable blandness has served the company’s compact well for decades. But the competition has left the current car in the dust, and as Toyota edges closer to a new car, we’re getting a clearer picture of what it may look like, thanks to spy photographers.
In this case, the shooter got lucky, seeing a heavily disguised 2014 Toyota Corolla sedan on a Los Angeles freeway near Toyota’s headquarters. While the disguise is the same as the last set of Corolla spy shots we saw, this time we got a clearer look at the profile and nose of the car. First observation: Don’t expect a huge change in the car’s profile. The standard sedan shape will undoubtedly please the Corolla’s button-down fans, and the high roof delivers good interior space, too. But the close up of the car’s nose is most telling. Under the disguise, we can see a far more aggressive front grille, headlight and bumper treatment than the current car. Exactly what’s powering the Toyota Corolla is still a mystery. We expect more power, a more sophisticated transmission, and significantly improved fuel economy. We’ll find out for certain sometime next year.
What would you like to see in the next-generation Corolla? Sound off in the comments below.