Toyota Corolla — A fresh take on a best-seller

By David Finkelstein

Since 1968, well in excess of 10-million Toyota Corollas have been sold in the US alone. It's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this model has been in the hands of consumers worldwide  for close to 50-years. The car itself was heavily refreshed back in 2008 and, quite honestly, has remained just about the same for the most part until last year's re-done 2014 version.

Going forward, it's projected that sales for the '15 model year will continue to be on-track to captivate new buyers of all ages due to its value, reliability and sportiness.

With the introduction of this much anticipated 11th generation of the Corolla sedan, consumers everywhere will discover the latest model as being longer, wider and lower when compared to the last-generation model.

Toyota informed me that they had over 300 highly skilled engineers totally dedicated to the development of this new five passenger model. High on their list of objectives was to offer a vehicle that would be built with quality in mind as well as durability, safety and notable fuel efficiency. Part of the result is that Corolla is now considered and positioned as a sporty sedan and no longer being just "plain vanilla."

Additionally, the car has a user friendly interior with comfortable front bucket seats plus additional rear seat leg room, thanks to the car's overall length having been extended. Inside the cars passenger cabin in general, there is a premium feel overall.You'll also discover improved interior styling coupled with a visual aspect that suggests openness.

Over the years, the tight connection that youthful buyers have with Corolla has been quite strong. No question that this tradition will continue with buyers, with this front-wheel-drive compact automobile as well.

For comparison, it will likely be-cross-shopped with the likes of the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Kia Forte, Mitsubishi Lancer, Hyundai Elantra, Dodge Dart and the Nissan Sentra.

Expect to see window sticker pricing in the area of $16,950 for the entry level “L” edition. From there, you can upgrade to the “LE” model and then they make available their LE Plus and the LE Limited version. And an LE Eco Premium model is offered. Regardless of the car in the spotlight, the factory will also be adding additional costs for shipping and destination charges to the MSRP. Prices top out at $23,000.

All Corolla's sold in the United States are assembled at either the Toyota facilities in Ontario, Canada, or at their plant located in Mississippi.

Standard on all grades are stylish LED headlights and advanced noise reduction technologies found throughout the body assembly. Adding to the engineering and design challenges is the fact that Corolla is a global vehicle. It's thus tailored with its underlining styling to appeal to buyers everywhere. Part of the global formulation was to design the car with safety standards that meet the needs of government regulators, regardless of the market the car is offered in.

The vehicles overall appearance sets it far apart from the previous generation. It has a much more modern appearance and attractive stance with its rounded corners and aerodynamic shape.

The entry level “L” edition comes standard with a 4-speed automatic transmission, 15-inch tires with steel wheels, power windows and door locks, USB/AUX audio port with Blue tooth and an all new drivers knee airbag system. The “LE” trim model features an all new CVT automatic transmission, 16-inch tires and wheels, intermittent wipers, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control, cruise control, enhanced audio system with a 6.1-inch touch screen and a back-up monitor system.

The newly introduced ECO Grade/fuel efficient model has improved engine technology that translates to about 42-MPG highway mileage with its 140-horsepower four cylinder gas motor plus a rear deck air spoiler with low rolling resistant tires.

The “S” trim grade is their sporty version. It includes fog lamps, front air defuser incorporated within the fascia assembly, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters plus sports style front seats and other creature comforts such as side mirror turn signal indicators.

Two engines are available. Besides the 1.8-liter ECO powerplant, Toyota also features the car with another form of the 1-8-liter engine rated at 132-horsepower. Both engines operate on regular grade fuel. Along with the "dated" four speed automatic transmission and the all new continuously variable tranny (CVT), they also build Corolla with a six speed manual gearbox.

The car's underbody is assembled with highly rigid steel. The suspension was developed to enhance handling and overall stability, when compared to the previous generation of Corolla. On the high-end trim level, the car comes from the factory with four-wheel disc brakes. Electronic power steering is also included,eliminating the need for a costly high pressure pump, related fluid transfer hoses, a drive belt and messy hydraulic fluid.The base warranty is for 3-years or 36,000 miles.

Toyota also includes from the factory complimentary normally scheduled maintenance for 2-years or 24,000 miles as well as 24/7 roadside assistance coverage.