Toyota Corolla

The all-new 2014 Toyota Corolla has been officially unveiled in the USA, with the world’s largest carmaker aiming to inject edgy design and more space to the usual Corolla qualities that has made it the world’s best selling nameplate – this is the Corolla’s 47th year in the market, with nearly 40 million units sold worldwide.

The car you see here is the E160, the 11th-gen US-market version, which should differ in looks from the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis that ASEAN will get. Prior to this, we’ve seen leaked shots of a white example, and highly realistic 3D renderings of what should be the upcoming ASEAN version. Previously, the North American Corolla looked identical to our Corolla Altis, but it looks like there will be a difference now, as per the Camry that looks different in the US than it does here.

UPDATE: The European (and ASEAN too?) 2014 Toyota Corolla has been revealed sporting a completely different appearance. Check it out here: 2014 Toyota Corolla for ASEAN.

The US gets four variants: L, LE, LE Eco and S. The main difference is in the face – the S-grade North American Corolla gets an aggressive front end design with a wide lower intake and honeycomb grille, inspired by the Toyota Corolla Furia Concept seen in Detroit 2013. It’s a similar story at the back, where the Furia-inspired tail lamps are slimmer and sharper than what we saw from the leaked shots/3D renderings. The sportier US version also lacks the chrome trim above the license plate.

The LE Eco (and presumably also the L and LE), however, has a slightly different front end – the grille is slatted and the front bumper is different to that of the S-grade, incorporating a trapezoidal lower intake and differently-shaped fog lamp cut-outs. It doesn’t have the S-grade’s wing mirror indicators, too.

Toyota Corolla

The dashboard design is a departure from Toyota norm, with a cliff-face centre console that is clustered around the driver, as opposed to the traditional layout. The slim AC vents are similar in look to those on the 86 sports car and second-gen JDM Mark X. Stitching can be seen on the steering wheel hub and dash top.

For instrumentation, S-grade variants get a 3.5-inch TFT display flanked by two dials; the rest have three chrome-surround dials and a multi-info display within the speedometer (see second-last image in gallery).

The new Corolla is 4.64 metres long (S-grade 4.65 metres), 1.776 metres wide and 1.455 metres tall, with a 2.7 metre wheelbase, and is offered with a range of wheels from 15-inch steel to 17-inch alloy jobs (see last image in gallery). It tips the scales at under 1.32 tonnes thanks to extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel that also increases rigidity.

L, LE and S cars are powered by a 1.8 litre VVT-i four-cylinder with 132 hp and 171 Nm of torque, while the LE Eco’s engine, also displacing 1.8 litres, interestingly has the highest horsepower as it features Valvematic technology to result in 140 hp, 174 Nm and over 5.9 litres per 100 km. The LE Eco also gets improved aerodynamics and low rolling resistance tyres

C-segment comparison table: All dimensions expressed in millimetres (mm)

In terms of transmissions, LE and S get a new CVTi-S ‘box with seven virtual ratios that replaces the four-speed auto, promoting economy and reducing the ‘rubber band’ feeling associated with CVTs. We’ve already made the move from auto to CVT in Malaysia with the Altis facelift in 2010. A six-speed manual is available with the non-Valvematic engines, an upgrade from the previous five-speed, while the old four-speed auto remains an option on the base L-grade.

The S-grade has a manual-mode shift gate and steering wheel shift paddles. LE Eco and S cars get drive modes that offer recalibrated throttle, gearbox and steering responses – ECO for the former and SPORT for the latter.

LED headlamps are standard across the range, as are eight airbags, Bluetooth and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Optional equipment includes touch-screen audio with apps, keyless entry and start, power moonroof, reverse camera and a rear spoiler.