Toyota's popular Corolla is completely new for 2014. The front-wheel-drive compact sedan is offered in four distinct models -- L, LE, LE Eco and S. All models except the base L are also offered in Plus and Premium trims.
Every Corolla is powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. In the L, LE and S, the engine produces 132 horsepower and 128 ft-lb of torque, while in the LE Eco, output is slightly higher at 140 horsepower. Base L Corollas come with either a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission -- the only model in the range to offer a traditional automatic. The manual is also offered on the Corolla S, as is a continuously variable transmission with intelligence and Shift Mode (CVTi-S). LE and LE Eco models can only be equipped with the CVTi-S.
All Corollas are easy on fuel. The L returns an estimated combined 31 mpg, while LE and S models get 32 mpg combined. The leader of the pack, however, is the LE Eco, which gets 35 mpg combined, including an excellent -- and best-in-class -- 42 mpg on the highway.
Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard, though Plus and Premium trims upgrade to rear discs. Suspension is handled through independent MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in the rear.
Standard equipment on the Corolla L includes LED headlights and running lights, air conditioning, a 6-way adjustable driver's seat, power mirrors and windows, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. The Corolla LE and LE Eco add automatic climate control, Entune Audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a backup camera, cruise control, Bluetooth with voice command, power door locks and keyless entry. The LE Eco also features a rear deck spoiler.
Finally, the Corolla S includes everything found in the LE, as well as integrated fog lights, special exterior chrome and color-keyed accents, sporty seats with larger bolsters, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, a sport-oriented gauge cluster, and SPORT mode, when outfitted with the CVT.
Corolla LE, LE Eco, and S Plus and Premium trims add things like alloy wheels, a power moonroof, Entune with Navigation, fog lights and heated seats.
All Corollas come standard with eight airbags, as well as enhanced stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes with brake assist.