Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

January 12, 2014

2014 Corolla is stylish, roomy

(Continued)

Even with a mix of economy and aggressive driving, the tester averaged 32.1 mpg, which was on par with the government rating of 32 mpg.

From bumper to bumper, the new Corolla is 3 inches longer than its predecessor. Wheelbase, which is the distance from the middle of one wheel on one side to the middle of the other wheel on the same side of the car, has grown even more — by 3.9 inches. This helps account for the newfound legroom and larger trunk.

In comparison, the Civic sedan offers 42 inches in the front seats and only 36.2 inches of rear-seat legroom.

The test Corolla’s shaped front seats provided good support with cushioning. But back-seat cushions were short and supported only to mid-thigh.

The Corolla’s 37.1 inches of rear-seat headroom is the same as that in the Civic and can affect the comfort of tall passengers.

Everyone in the new Corolla sits a bit lower to the pavement than in the previous Corolla. But it was still comfortable getting into and out of the test car. Just watch the wheel wells that impinge on rear-door openings.

Rear seatbacks are split one-third and two-thirds and fold down to expand the trunk’s already commendable 13 cubic feet of space. But the pull-up knobs to unlatch the seatbacks are placed inward, not at the outward-most top of the seatbacks. These knobs also are close to the seatbelt attachments, making it clumsy and awkward to pull the knobs up.

Drivers familiar with older Corollas will notice the more structurally rigid feel of the new Corolla. With a longer wheelbase and suspension improvements, the ride is smoother, and the test S Premium model traveled comfortably. Steering was responsive while retaining a mainstream feel. There was some road noise, but not as much as expected.

In October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported one safety recall for the 2014 Corolla.

The windshield wiper assembly might short circuit, leaving the wipers inoperable and potentially reducing driver visibility.

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