orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Community News Network

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
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide