The Toyota Corolla, the fifth best-selling nameplate in the United States, is a larger, roomier sedan for 2014 with improved ride and better gasoline mileage than its predecessor.
But it doesn’t look like a Corolla. The conservative character is gone, replaced by contemporary styling outside and an intriguing, almost retro, dashboard design inside.
Plus, there’s so much legroom now — 42.3 inches in the front seats and 41.4 inches in back — that car buyers looking for a family sedan might want to consider the new Corolla. In fact, while Toyota press materials refer to the 2014 Corolla as a compact, the car now is listed by the federal government as a mid-size four door.
Best of all, the 2014 Corolla earned overall five-out-of-five stars in government crash tests and is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, where predicted reliability is above average.
Base pricing has gone up a bit, though.
Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $17,610 for a base, 2014 Corolla L with a six-speed manual and $18,210 with an automatic. This base model, with carryover 132-horsepower four cylinder from last year, does not include a rearview camera, cruise control or steering wheel-mounted radio controls.
But the base, 2014 Corolla has eight standard air bags, air conditioning, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, fabric-covered seats, hands-free phone capability, AM/FM radio with CD player, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity plus Bluetooth music streaming and four speakers.
Standard low-beam headlights on the Corolla are even light-emitting diodes this year — a feature not usually found on sedans in this class.
Note the automatic on the base Corolla L is a traditional, four-speed auto that, while rating a commendable 27/36-mpg in fuel economy from the federal government, ranks lowest among the 2014 Corolla models.
Buyers wanting to maximize gasoline savings can move up to higher-priced models with more fuel-saving equipment.