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Redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla debuts...and it looks like a Kia

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On: Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:29PM | By: Teddy Field

Redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla debuts...and it looks like a Kia

The Toyota Corolla is one of the world's best-selling transportation devices, with over 40 million copies sold across 154 countries. They're not particularly exciting cars from an enthusiast’s standpoint, but they are reliable, and they are practical. The first chief engineer for Toyota's new compact said that he wanted “to develop a car that brings happiness and well-being to people around the world.” And after 47 years on the market, it's safe to say that the Toyota Corolla has made two or three people happy.

Last restyled in 2008, the Toyota Corolla gave up some ground to the recently double-freshened Honda Civic, and the dramatic Hyundai Elantra. Although, Toyota's C-segment samurai surrendered only 20k units to the Civic in 2012 (290k Corollas vs. 310k Civics), and it bounced on the Elantra's 202k units like a Mexican jumping bean riding a pogo stick. The 10th generation Corolla may have been outdated, but it was still very relevant.

For the 11th generation Corolla, Toyota relied heavily on focus groups, where throngs of un-invested plebes assured designers that they'd buy a new Corolla if it was injected with some style. So the design team shrank a Camry in the clothes dryer, then nailed a Kia front end to the sporty S model. The new car is nearly 4-inches longer than the outgoing model, although most of that length is disguised by pushing the wheels toward the far corners of the car (the wheelbase was also stretched 3.9 inches). Lightweight high-strength steel has been used for most of the suspension components, and drag-reducing underbody covers are used on the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco & 2014 Toyota Corolla S. A gearless CVT (with 7 driver-selectable pre-programmed gears) is also employed on the Toyota Corolla LE-Eco, along with a sleep-inducing Eco Mode. Official fuel economy numbers haven't been released, but Toyota claims its new Green model will get “over 40 mpg.”

On the inside, the 2014 Toyota Corolla has an angular new cabin, with lots of premium materials, sound insulation, and the obligatory Piano Black trim that's become all the rage on cheap cars. Trim levels are now referred to as 'Grades', and standard equipment now includes things like Bluetooth connectivity, 8 airbags, LED low beam headlights/running lights, and power everything. Keyless ignition, paddle shifters, and a big touchscreen with Entune infotainment are some of the optional extras.

Powering the 2014 Toyota Corolla is a pair of 1.8 liters, one making 132-hp, and the other 140-hp. The new CVTi-S shiftable CVT will be available on the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE-Eco, LE & S. A Victorian-era 4-speed automatic comes with the lowly L-Grade, but a 6-speed manual will be offered on some models. Also from the pages of history are the standard rear drum brakes, which can be exchanged for rear discs only on the Corolla S. Honda uses these archaic clampers only on the base Civic LX; the Hyundai Elantra employs discs at all four corners, no matter the trim level.

Although the 2014 Toyota Corolla does little to stir the soul, it'll likely mop the sales floor with the baby Hyundai, and squeegee the windows with the Civic. Vanilla Motoring has a new mascot, and it's fresher than ever.

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