Toyota staged a Hollywood-style party with celebrity chefs, performance artists and acrobatics to introduce the redesigned 2014 Corolla Thursday in California. Here's a look at what journalists, bloggers, social media and analysts have to say about the all-new compact.
"The 11th generation ... brings a clean-sheet redesign to the Corolla nameplate. Underneath the crisp, modern bodywork is a new chassis that stretches the wheelbase by close to 4 inches to boost interior space. And yet the front and rear overhangs are shorter, so the overall look is more taut. Extensive use of high-strength steel has kept the weight below 2900 pounds, no matter how much optional equipment a buyer selects. In our recent test of compact sedans, not one of the Corolla's competitors managed to tip the scales at less than 2900 pounds, so that's an impressive number."
-- guest blogger for The Christian Science Monitor,
"The new Corolla aims for a more distinctive look than the current car, with a front end and headlights that borrow their angular looks from the recently-launched Camry sedan ... The current Corolla is among the oldest entries in a competitive segment, but the car has continued to sell comparatively well, albeit with more reliance on sales to rental car fleets ... Toyota could face a challenge if it tries to significantly raise the price of the 2014 model compared with the 2013, which starts at just over $17,000 -- about $1,000 less than the cheapest Honda Civic."
-- Joe White of The Wall Street Journal
"Excellent fuel economy and top-notch reliability have historically made the Corolla one of our top-Rated, if somewhat boring compact sedans. The new model looks like it has the potential to build on those strengths, in a more interesting package."
-- Jim Travers of Consumer Reports
"What do you do with a car that is approaching sales of 40 million globally since its introduction 47 years ago? Don't mess it up, and don't forget the competition. The overhaul speaks to Toyota's recognition that it can no longer top the sales charts in the hyper-competitive small car segment by just popping out another vanilla Corolla. As part of a larger corporate movement, Toyota has sought to inject an athleticism into the car, in both looks and driving dynamics, that will stir consumer emotions. That will be needed to match recently redesigned compacts from Hyundai, Ford, Honda and Chevrolet."
Big news up front: LEDs are standard across all models, allowing for lighter and smaller headlights ... The Corolla's Avalon theme continues on the inside with a dashboard that almost exactly mimics that of its larger brethren."
-- Blake Z. Rong of Autoweek
-- Matthew de Paula, a contributor at Forbes.com
"The new-for-2014 Toyota Corolla is a clear indication that Toyota is putting additional emphasis on interior and exterior design. As other manufacturers approach Toyota's high level of quality and reliability, Toyota execs obviously realize that styling and design are going to be more and more important as key differentiators."
-- Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book
The 2014 Toyota Corolla
"In the first big test of its push for sharper styling, Toyota Motor Corp. revealed a redesign of its top-selling Corolla with knife-edge creases, a gaping, trapezoidal grille and a sports sedan slant. The new look is aimed at adding a dash of style to the compact car, without dramatic changes that could alienate mainstream customers. The new Corolla takes its cues from Honda Motor Co.'s Civic, which outsold Corolla in the U.S. last year, and Ford Motor Co.'s Focus, which is swiping market share from Toyota in the U.S. and abroad. While Toyota President Akio Toyoda is pushing his designers to move away from the staid styling derided by critics, the new Corolla is a modest step in that direction. The car is carefully calibrated to appeal to loyalists and the style-conscious by offering improved fuel economy and a less-edgy design than the Furia concept car Toyota showed in January."
-- Alan Ohnsman of Bloomberg
"Inside, the Corolla has been stretched, padded and pulled upscale, with the rear hip point moved back almost three inches. The changes offer improved rear leg room and a flatter rear floor because of rerouting of the exhaust system. Interior trim is tastefully utilitarian, with gloss-black and metallic panels as well as blue, black or amber pinstripe accents. There will be no animals harmed in the Corolla interior: fabric choices are cloth and SofTex, a pleatherlike substance ... With nearly 40 million Corollas sold since the car's debut in the '60s, the Corolla is as much a social movement and a vital part of the American carscape as it is a mere automobile. If the past is any guide, we can be reasonably certain that there will soon be hundreds, thousands and then millions of these 11th-generation Corollas everywhere we drive. And because of Toyota's newly emboldened designers, they could be far less forgettable than the many, many Corollas that have come before."
-- Dexter Ford in The New York Times
"They have rightfully been accused of making the Corolla one of the most boring cars out there . Finally, they have come up with style that is contemporary and a style [that drivers won't feel] sentenced to drive ... They are checking all the right boxes."
-- George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, in USA Today
"The new Corolla promises to be sportier and more efficient, but away from the driving experience the big story is its styling, which adopts the heavy-breather look we know from the Avalon. This is interesting, and a big departure for the Corolla, which had been outdone in the visual interest department by disposable razors. The 11th-generation Corolla has a scowling, jut-jawed appearance and hawkeyed lamp clusters that feature standard LED headlights, the first compact sedan so equipped. This dramatic face, with cheeks creased sharply for airflow management, leads the way to a remarkably slippery coefficient of drag. Rated at 0.28, the Corolla rivals the Prius for aerodynamic efficiency and is among industry leaders."