By Cars.com EditorsNovember 15, 2013
About the video
With its 2014 incarnation, the Toyota Corolla pleads its case as to why it’s no longer dull and drab. While Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger likes much of what the redesigned compact sedan has to say, a lot of it is drowned out by road noise.
(fun upbeat music) (tires squeal) Hi, I'm Jennifer Geiger with Cars.com. The old Toyota Corolla suffered from dull styling, and a drab driving experience. The 2014 version got a makeover, but is it still behind the times? Let's take a closer look.
The cabin's controls have a more streamlined look this year. Upgraded materials and more comfortable seats also make it a significant step up from the last generation. I also like how Toyota included this pop of color trim this year. The cabin is far from class-leading, and just can't compete with the Hyundai Elantra's more appealing design and nicer materials. I do think it's better than the cheap-feeling Ford Focus, and the kind of boring-looking Honda Civic, however. The controls themselves are easy to use and the touchscreen is a decent size. The menu structure is also fairly intuitive. I was able to easily connect my Android phone, launch Pandora through the app suite, and then control the Pandora functions through the touchscreen. Power from the 1.8 liter is fine, but what's really impressive is the new continuously variable automatic transmission. It's quieter and more responsive than a lot of vehicles in this class. What's standard, however, is the six-speed manual transmission, and then an ancient four-speed automatic is also available. Where the Corolla really shines is in the fuel economy department. Base models with the manual, are EPA rated at 31 miles per gallon, combined. I spent 200 miles in an LeEco model with a CVT, and got 38.3 miles per gallon in combined driving. But here's where the Corolla's big misses really start to add up. Ride quality really needs work. It's on the firm side and not very composed, feeling jittery over bumps. Road isolation is also very bad. You feel in here every part of the road with lots of noise and vibration. Along with the high levels of road noise, wind noise is also intrusive, as is the core sounding engine note from the CVT. Add them all together, and the Corolla is easily one of the loudest sedans in the class. Front seat head and leg room are generous, and the backseat got roomier for 2014. Passengers are gonna have a hard time getting comfortable on this cushion, however. It's really flat and pretty hard. You will also find a bottle holder in each door and two kind of flimsy, pop-up cup holders. (trunk beeps) The trunk has a decent space opening, but many competitors in this class offer more room. And these hinges steal luggage space. The 2014 Toyota Corolla starts at $17,610 including destination, making it one of the most affordable vehicles in its class. Although the new model is better than the outgoing model in terms of fuel efficiency and interior materials, an uncomfortable ride and high noise levels keep it from rising to the top of the class. (engine accelerating)