During a presentation in an old aircraft hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., hundreds of journalists and guests waited with bated anticipation, curiously waiting to see what Toyota had in store for its best-selling sedan, the Corolla.
Despite criticism for its conservative styling and average and boring handling and performance, automobile consumers in the US as well as 53 other countries have long embraced the Corolla by rewarding the company with over 40 million sales since the car was first introduced in Japan back in 1966. With such an impressive record one could not fault the company for adopting an attitude of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” but instead, as competition in the compact market has begun heating up recently, Toyota has instead chosen to deliver what it bills as not just a more stylish sedan, but one that contained more room along with a renewed focus on fuel economy.
“We’ve listened to our customers,” said Toyota Division General Manager Bill Fay, who said the objective was to elevate the impact the new Corolla has on individual motorists. “It looks sportier and feels better.”
Toyota says for the 2014 Corolla they have adopted what it calls the new “Iconic Dynamism” design theme that was first seen on the latest-generation Avalon sedan and reflects the promise of company President Akio Toyoda to deliver more passionate products. The retooled design may have come just in time because although the Toyota Corolla constantly rates is among America’s 10 best-selling passenger vehicles, it is been losing sales recently to rival car companies.
The production version of the Corolla has adopted lamps, which is a feature normally found in much more expensive products. This allowed Toyota designers to execute more deeply rounded corners and help abandoned the classic boxy appearance of the previous 10th generation Corolla.
According to Fay, this new 11th generation Corolla will sit on a wheelbase nearly 4 inches longer than the old model and will have the interior volume of a midsize car. This extra length is particularly apparent in the larger backseat. When compared to the previous model, the new rear seat hit point has been moved back nearly 3 inches providing additional legroom which was gained by adopting a thinner were sculpted front seat.
Toyota officials also said their engineers have worked to make the cabin quieter and mitigate road and engine sounds with an acoustic glass windscreen, as well as improving floor insulation and adding in more efficient instrument panel seal.