2014 Toyota Corolla | first drive
Interior and exterior design
Lack of rear A/C vents
The World’s Best Selling Car made its way to the Middle East and was launched by Al Futtaim Motors at the prestigious Meydan Hotel in Dubai. Following a short presentation by Chief Engineer Shinichi Yasui that focused on conveying the improvements the Corolla had undergone compared to its predecessor, we headed to the parking lot and picked a Corolla in the colour we fancied.
We had caught a glimpse of the Corolla at the Dubai International Motor Show held in November, however, seeing the 11th generation up close and personal was a lot more rewarding. With numerous improvements carried out in terms of design, interior comfort and driving performance, it was time to take the Corolla for a spin and judge how much the Corolla had really been improved.
It’s safe to say that gone are the days when driving a Toyota Corolla was considered a social embarrassment. The Corolla flaunts a significantly improved mug with hints of Lexus’s spindle grille, wrap around headlights and a large chrome grille that extends to the side of the car as well. Depending on the grade selected, LED’s are either integrated into the headlamp cluster or outline two sides of the fog lamp housing.
With an ascending chrome window line, prominent wheel arches and long wrap around tail lights, the Corolla is certainly a looker from other angles as well. With the front end bearing resemblance to the recently introduced Yaris Sedan and the rear end borrowing minor hints from the Camry, a common DNA is finally beginning to shape up in the Toyota range.
The efforts put in by the interior designers have paid off as well. The dashboard is a neat combination of beige and black with a prominent silver beam dividing two sections. With a scattering of piano black trim around the radio and gear shifter, along with chrome surrounding the cup holders and radio, the designers have created a flashy interior without being tacky.
Passengers in the rear seats are likely to be a lot more comfortable thanks to a flat floor and an increased 10cm wheelbase which in turn results in improved leg room. Though passengers riding in the back of the 2014 Corolla won’t be complaining about the lack of head or leg room, the lack of rear A/C vents was an absolute shocker!
Toyota has bid farewell to the 1.8 litre engine in the Corolla and have now welcomed a new 2.0 litre into the line-up. The existing 1.6 litre puts out 121 horsepower while the bigger 2.0 litre churns out 143 horsepower. The biggest let down though is the fact that both engines have been mated to Toyota’s prehistoric 4 speed automatic transmission. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Corolla’s Japanese and Korean competitors hadn’t moved on to 5 and 6 speed transmissions respectively.
As far as the drive was concerned, the 2014 Corolla was smooth and extremely easy to navigate within the city with its extremely light steering. While engineers have dropped the height of the Corolla by 5mm to achieve a lower centre of gravity, the car still stands much too tall and has enough space in its tire wells to accommodate the tires off a much larger vehicle.
On the whole then, what did we make of the 2014 Toyota Corolla? Was it the charm of the 80 mm longer and 15 mm wider body? Or was it the significantly improved interior? Or could it have been the new 2.0 litre engine in the line-up? Quite frankly, we’re not sure. But we really like the 2014 Toyota Corolla and we’re certain that driving it around town is no longer a social embarrassment.
Below are the prices in AED for the 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre with their respective variants.