It’s the celebration of the 11th generation Toyota Corolla. Celebrate I did in San Diego, California at the Broadway Pier overlooking San Diego Bay, complete with clear skies, cool breezes, sail boats gliding by and lunch with the VP of Toyota.
The venue was stunning as Toyota introduced to the press the new and exciting Corolla for 2014. Some of the other journalists would never use the adjectives new and exciting in the same sentence to describe a 47 year old brand, but it depends on one’s perspective.
When my kids got their licenses and were ready for a new or used car, the choices were rather simple, a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The cars were a safe first car, required little maintenance, was reliable and reasonably priced. True, they didn’t have all the bells and whistles the kids of the 90’s wanted, like the Mustangs or Eclipses. It wasn’t sexy or necessarily fast but it was, and still is a standard for a family to own, drive or rent at some point in their life.
Toyota has spent a significant amount of money on their recent TV commercials (estimated at $175 million), depicting almost 50 years of changes both in cars, clothing and music. The Toyota may not be your top choice in the $16,800 to $20,000 range, but it should be a consideration especially the 42 mpg LE Eco version.
At first glance you can see how the designers changed the Corolla to give it a sleeker and new auto trendy look. The upper front grille is a skinny black band of Spiderman mesh that appears to be the connection between two fashioned headlamps that pointed inward. Under that is a wide trapezoidal air intake, giving the Corolla a look that is more assertive than before. The LED headlights and daytime running lights are standard, which typically in other vehicles in its class are not. See, there are some things that are new and exciting.
I was most impressed with the interior increase in space. The wheelbase and total length of the car has grown nearly four inches compared to the other generations, with front and rear overhangs shorter, giving the new Corolla a tighter, more buff look. The inside has been redesigned, giving the front seats a greater range of adjustability. Believe it or not, the front seatbacks are also thinner, resulting in more rear legroom. When evaluating cars I’ll look at them from the lifestyle perspective; can safety car seats fit in the rear seats easily, and will I still have room to get my “Rubenesque” body inside between the front seat and a toddler’s kicking feet? The Corolla has that added space.
It appears they put the Corolla on Weight Watchers (I should have joined with them) as this generation Corolla lost some pounds. Toyota claims the Corolla’s new curb weight is less than 2,900 pounds. This is a big deal as it would make the 2014 Corolla the lightest car in the compact sedan class. As we know, less weight means better fuel economy. The estimated fuel economy for the 2014 Corolla is 29/37 mpg.
There are four trim levels available; L, LE, S and the new LE Eco. I test drove them all and really enjoyed the LE Eco as it had all the extras and saved on gas. I drove all the models around downtown San Diego as well as out to Coronado to drool over homes there, and then hit the freeways for over an hour. While taking my last drive of the day I was interested in the new technology that was on the Corolla. I grabbed the product communications person from headquarters and asked her to go with me. Here is what I learned.
The Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite is user friendly and perfect for a generation of technology driven and social media junkies. Included in the Entune Premium package is a multimedia bundle with a touch-screen, split-screen display, AM/FM CD player, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth. It also includes HD predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, and the Sirius XM Radio option for 90 days. This is more than I need or am capable of utilizing, but when speaking to women under 40 they express the importance of all this technology. The other factors that were so important to our ladies were the 8 airbags , 60/40 pass through, trunk space for sport’s equipment, child accessories and use of the cup holders for sunglasses, i-phone, sippy cups, latte pick me ups and loose change.
I recommend you take a look at the new and exciting Toyota Corolla, and you decide. Toyota’s slogan for Corolla is “Elevate Your Style” and Toyota knows that down the road you will “elevate your style” and your budget and be driving a Lexus.