I know what you’re thinking.
Of all the cars out there, the Corolla is decidedly toward the boring end of the scale. My current car, a 11th-generation, 2014 Corolla S is a little boring, I’ll grant you, but sometimes, that’s all you need.
Last time, we left off with me on the side of the interstate, my Nissan Versa killed in a five-car accident. Armed with an insurance check, my wife and I decided to buy our first new car. After a bunch of research, I decided to test drive the then-all-new Corolla.
This generation Corolla features a lot of work under the new sheet metal. The car is stiffer and features reduced wind resistance over the older models. The S model has slightly tweaked rear suspension to make the ride even stiffer. Coupled with the 17-inch wheels and narrow tires, the ride can be a little rough, but manageable on all but the worst of roads.
The entire car got a big redesign. It’s far more aggressive looking than the rounded, bloated Corollas of past years. While the Eco, LE and S lines all offer different noses, all share the swept-back windshield and short, raked rear end. This car also marks the first time a compact car has come with LED lowbeams as standard in the US.
To my eye, it looks pretty good for a car in its price range. I bought mine in black mainly to minimize the “gaping mouth” design at the front, though.
Being an S model, my particular examples has a sunroof, fog lights and the optional 17-inch wheels. It also came with Toyota’s “CVTi-S” transmission. It’s the company’s CVT, coupled with a manual mode via the console shifter and paddles. Push the sport button and “shift” through the “gears,” and it’s almost possible to forget the transmission is basically a metal band and unicorn dust. The computer will take over if revs get too high or too low, but coupled with the Sport button that changes shift points and steering programming it’s more fun in town than your great-aunt’s 2003 Corolla.
On the inside, the Corolla’s a lot nicer than it used to be, too. It’s got Bluetooth, “SofTex” material which seems like it could be used to make space suits, a dab of leather and nice finishes on the dash. My biggest complaint here is that the driving position is too low in the car. Thankfully, it’s possible to raise the height of the driver seat, and I have, even standing six feet tall. If I find myself the passenger, I always feel like I’m looking up to see out the window.
All of that aside, I’m under no delusion that my car is fast, or even all that quick. It’s cheap to run and I like the looks, so it works for me. With plenty of safety equipment, I don’t mind using it for dad duty, as long as the kids remember my no-eating rule.
Here’s to a long time before I have to update this series. Thanks so much for following along!