2014 Toyota Corolla 2.0

2014 Toyota Corolla

The Good:
– Acceleration and economy
– Cabin space and ambience
– Ride and handling
The Bad:
– Outdated gearbox and tech
– Steering too light
– Could be quieter

The amount of sales and goodwill that the Toyota Corolla has garnered over the past four decades is astounding, to say the least. But the best-selling car in the world is having to battle it out with the likes of all sorts of upstart rivals nowadays, taking the game to a whole new level in terms of features and driveability. Has the all-new 2014 Corolla evolved enough to take them on?

Stylistically, it’s off to a good start. The lines are clearly edgier than before, although overall it still comes off as aggressive detailing on a predefined conservative profile. The huge wheel-well gaps don’t do it any favours, but we don’t mind the looks at all.

2014 Toyota Corolla 7

You’ll either love or hate the airy interior, but it’s not a bad effort at being unique. The upright dash has a huge chunk of hard plastic running across it, but it’s a pleasant beige texture that continues onto the doors. Thankfully, there’s black soft-touch surfaces on the dash-top and door sills, even the rear ones, as well as padded armrests, so the dual-tone ambience is pretty nice actually. Even in the top model, the upholstery is fabric.

Some may think the new Taiwan-built Corolla is just a facelift, but it’s actually undergone a substantial stretch in its wheelbase, and it shows in the cabin space. With moderately-bolstered front seats and a rear bench setup, legroom and headroom are darn good, even in the back, almost negating the need to upgrade to a midsizer. Even the boot is big, with good space despite the goose-neck hinges and a full-size spare wheel under the floor. There are abundant cubbies, pockets, cup-holders and bottle-holders. And the rear seats split-fold to open up to the boot, although the seat-belts weirdly stay in the place, stretching across the opening.

Tech features are kept simple. Our top-spec Limited tester had an average CD/MP3 stereo with USB/AUX ports but no Bluetooth, a good single-zone auto a/c but no rear vents, smart keyless entry with a sensor on only the driver’s door, two front airbags but not side ones, mirror-mounted indicators but no parking sensors, and about ten blank spaces where buttons are supposed to be for features that are not offered here. We did appreciate the blue gauge lighting, starter button, sunroof, foglamps, cruise control, electric mirrors, power windows and what looks like auto-levelling HIDs in those LED-garnished headlights.

2014 Toyota Corolla 4

Aside from a 121 hp 1.6-litre base motor, there’s the 2.0-litre option that also powers our Limited. The latter makes 143 hp at 6200 rpm and 187 Nm of torque at a respectable 3600 rpm. Mated to a rudimentary 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels, the specs seem pathetic at first. But the Corolla weighs in at only 1350 kg, and combining a willing transmission with tight gear ratios as well as good low-end torque, acceleration is surprisingly among the best in its class. We got a 0-100 kph time of 9.7 seconds, in cool January weather, mind you. Highway-overtaking manoeuvres get completed quicker than you’d expect, as the revs are always close to the meaty torque band.

But kicking around with a 4-speed has its repercussions, as we garnered a fuel-burning rate of 9.0 litres/100 km, which is still good relative to all its Korean-built rivals, but worse compared to a few such as the Honda Civic, the Ford Focus and the Nissan Sentra. Still, for a car that revs at a high 3000 rpm while cruising at 120 kph, that’s remarkably good.

That also means the cabin as not as quiet as it could’ve been. The engine is always slightly audible when cruising, and the general road/wind noise isolation is average so it isn’t as quiet as the aforementioned Focus and Sentra. The ride quality is pretty good though, as smooth as the other two over most road surfaces.

The real suspension-tuning surprise comes in the handling department. Armed with 205/55 rubbers on 16-inch alloys, it hangs on to corners very well, up to a point of course. Body roll isn’t overly excessive, and grip is more than enough. We pushed it moderately, swinging it lightly as we entered curves, fully expecting to hear tyre squeals that never came. Pushing it harder results in clean understeer, and the tail never steps out of line in emergency lane-changes. Even the brakes are fine, with linear pedal feel and straight stops. It won’t keep up with the fancier Focus, but the Corolla still does pretty good with just torsion-beam suspension in the rear.

If we had a complaint, it’s the electric steering. It’s so light and vague that even simply driving in a straight line requires constant little corrections. It even made uncouth winding noises when turned at idle. Oddly enough, we could still prominently feel the texture of the road through the leatherette-wrapped wheel, so it’s not all bad.

And that’s the ridiculous bit — as car enthusiasts, we actually enjoyed driving the new Corolla, much to our own astonishment. Previous iterations of the Corolla in the past decade have been horrendous handlers, but the tighter suspenders and responsive controls make this car much safer to drive harder, while being practical, comfortable and fuel-efficient at the same time. It’s a car most typical buyers would be happy with. If it came with a more modern transmission, preferably one that didn’t have “CVT” in its name, if it were a bit quieter, and if the tech options list were slightly longer, it would’ve been at the top of our recommended list for compact cars. Almost there, but not quite.

Price Range:
Dh 66,900-74,000

Current Model Introduced in:
2014

Body Styles:
4-door sedan

Engines:
2.0L 143 hp Inline-4 / 187 Nm

Transmissions:
4-speed automatic

Setup:
Front-wheel-drive

Suspension:
Front: independent
Rear: semi-independent

Brakes:
Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
1350 kg

Length:
4620 mm

Wheelbase:
2700 mm

Top Speed:
195 kph

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
9.7 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
9.0 litres/100km

42 comments to 2014 Toyota Corolla 2.0

  • amujeebm

    Hi Mashfique,

    I am upgrading from a 2005 model ST220 and my budget is 65-75k. Have been driving it for 3 years and I love it for the way it drives and handles.What do you think is a better option between Corolla 2.0 or Civic or a base Altima? I don’t like Nissan’s handbrake positioning(might accidentally mistake it for clutch) and the CVT transmission. I must admit that I haven’t driven an automatic yet except for test drives. Thanks.

    • Moustafa

      Civic 2013 is awesome.

    • Jules

      You will be quite disappointed with all three if you are upgrading from a ST220!

    • vivek

      The Mondeo ST220 is a totally different breed in comparison to the family-hauler compacts you have mentioned. None of those cars will ever compare with the ST220, be it handling, power, or comfort. In all probability you will end up searching for another sedan soon. And btw, are you selling your ST220?

      Now the comparison part..If you are looking at space, efficiency, and practicality, it is the new Corolla any day. And the new one is even getting rave reviews for its handling. The Civic is significantly smaller and less spacious than the Corolla, but more fuel-efficient. Altima is a mid-size car, and that 2.5L engine is definitely more powerful than either of the aforementioned compact cars. But you will need to learn to like the CVT. Handling is good, but the controls are all lifeless, with no feedback whatsoever. And funnily enough, the new Corolla appears to have slightly more interior space than the mid-size Altima.

    • Ahmad

      the best choice is New Mazda 6
      it is awesome

    • Meh

      I can just say that never buy a Nissan. You will for sure face lots of problems, as I did. Some of which really cost much. I recommend you Toyota, if you want a car that works well many years.

  • Moustafa

    Thanks Mashfique, Excellent effort
    I see that steering is still vague but what’s the difference between (dull handling) stated in previous corolla model road test and (vague steering; although good handling) in this test.
    You didn’t mention as well the bad material used in cabin, hard and noisy lock of rear trunk and loose locking of front doors.
    Thanks again

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      It’ll take a physical drive to show you the meanings of those terms really. I did describe the cabin. The other bits you mention are minor issues.

  • amujeebm

    Thank you all for the answers to my queries.
    @ Vivek – Yes, the money that I get for my ST220 will go towards the down payment of my new car.

  • Moustafa

    @vivek, which car you refer to by “Handling is good, but the controls are all lifeless, with no feedback whatsoever.”

  • M. K.

    unfortunately, it is expected that the new 2.0L Corolla will be used as a taxi in KSA.

    Corolla was never been a taxi in KSA because the minimum required engine is 2.0l.

    I thought Corolla with this new shape will get some respect on roads but sadly, this quiet beautiful car may get a taxi image!

  • jiri

    exactly, go for Mazda 6 for the same price. bargain!

  • unknown

    get a honda if you want japanese or get a chevy or ford if you are looking for something better, buying nissan,toyota or kia = no respect as they are taxis…

  • dealndeck

    here in Oman they are using it as a taxi, now i look at corolla & i think that’s its creepy

  • Asad

    Advice….if u want a car for just 18 months….is a new Corolla a good option? or should one go to used car market?

  • PradoTLC

    at 74k.. it is very close to a mazda 6 (base) which is much better…

    i still cant believe this car will out sell the mazda 6…

  • farrukh

    Go for Mazda6 or wait for new Mazda3 with best options.!!

  • jiri

    Prado , Mazda 6 is selling for aprx 67-69base in KSA now…which makes it even more interesting. Still wonder why people in ME are so much after Toyota Corolla when you can get better cars/value on the market..

  • moaz

    i was scared to even touch the new corolla, the sheet metal on the doors is so bloody thing that the whole car feels like a tin car. Sentra feels far more substantial and fully optioned out it is a real great small family car with 6 airbags sun roof leatherette seats cruise control 8 speaker Bose and navigation and rear view..all with 5 year unlimited km warranty for 84K. For 74K get the Mazda 6 yes wont have the real sale value but its a poor mans road holding car!. I test drove it except the stupid electric steering being overly light for my taste. It is a well put together made in japan car! always go for Made in Japan :P

  • tvyt

    I prefer go for SUV, RAV4/Fortuner/CRV will be a better option. Noisy cabin in Civic. High maintainance cost in Altima.Corolla is common nowadays.

  • Jithu

    I am confused between Kia Cerato and Corolla. For 74K cerato is loaded with options. Please advice.

  • jawad

    I would suggest that go for Mazda 6. With the base price of the Mazda 6 nearly as that of corolla, you will also get blue tooth and other gizmos and gadgets that is not offered in corolla. Beside this, Mazda 6 is fully made in Japan and that is the best part about it as it is more reliable and the engine is also 2.4L with 184 Horsepower and fuel effeciency should be around 38miles/gallons. I also test drove one from Sheikh Zayed Road branch and it felt great. Please note that I drive an Altima 2.5 currently and Mazda 6 is more driver friendly due to high visibility as compared to Altima.

    Go for Mazda 6 I would say once again.

  • amujeebm

    Else wait for the Mazda Mazda3 2.0, if you do not want to wait then I would suggest Corolla just for the sake of long term reliability.

    amujeebm

  • YASSER

    I have corola 2014 2L
    The top speed is 210 kmph
    There is a new teqnology in the steering in 2014
    ( When you drive low speed the steering wheel is so light , but when you speed above 80 it’s become more havey light Germain cars with a strong stable grip at high sped on the high way.
    The feel economy light
    Showers as low as 6-7.5 L /100 km sow it my self at speed 80-110kmphr
    It a bet noisy at high speed but it’s a grate car
    The engender temp never exceeds 1/4 to 1/3
    The A/C is freezer
    I took it from Ras al-Khaimah to riyadh and was still feel ok and surprisingly not tired much with corola

  • YASSER

    It was a 1050 km drive
    , the engine temperature is always 1/4-1/3
    The steering wheel teqnology when it chane from comfortable light to heavy stable sterling at speeds above 80km per hr is wow
    I rented chevorlate cruse is consumes over 10.5 L per 100 km on sipped from80-110 with a smaller engine (1.6 vs. 2L for corola ) although the cruse have 6 gear automatic and corola only 4 gear automatic and begged engine but it’s more economic surprisingly

  • Dr.Spark

    I’ve been noticing a 6 spd manual variant for the 2.0L engine in Saudi Arabia for taxis .

    I think it will be great for long highway cruising

  • Karim

    Hello…,

    I bought 2014 2.0se+ corolla in March 2014… but there are things I like and also dislike about this car.

    Firstly, I like the handling, it has improved from the previous model, also the pickup and go is good and smooth, ample room to fit in my 6 feet plus friend (Moaz Akbar) and hence I can safely say that long tall people will also be able accommodate in this car. Engine is really smooth at all speeds, I haven’t attempted to cross 140 but it goes there like a charm.

    The dislikes:

    1) The dashboard surface makes a rattling noise even on smooth surfaces which I kind a find surprising considering that it was a brand new model and it should not be there..

    2) I got my AC blower replaced as it was making sound from day 1.

    3) I was also complaining about a whistling sould that I heard from the engine bay. I suspected it to be the radiator fan but now I came to know that it is from the AC compressor bearing and this has been there from day 1 I got the car delivered…

    4) I really hate it when I see the RPM around 3200 when I am between 120 to 140. It takes the economy away of the ride !!

  • shahid

    Hi Mashfique,

    I am confused between honda civic and corolla

    Please recommend with few reasons…

    Thank you

  • Mujeeb

    @ Vivek,

    I bought a 2014 Mitsubishi Fortis and you were right, I miss every bit of ST220. There is no comparison. Wish the ST220 was more reliable and easy to maintain with good dealer support.

    Mujeeb

    • vivek

      @ Mujeeb..what were the problems you faced with the ST 220?? If you could explain at least the major ones…

  • Michael

    The transmission is really a low point in this car, especially noticeable in 1.6 models,the car is really sluggish.
    Styling wise its a radical departure from previous gen models, somehow it feels the interior was inspired by 60’s cars.

  • Wasim Akram

    i think its will be a better for economy peoples

  • Ravisankar

    Dear all ,
    The comments are all OK. But one doubt?
    For Driving seat ,The HIGHT Adjustment facility is there? or Not?
    Kindly inform,
    Thanks
    Regards,
    Ravi

  • Arun Kumar

    I was a user of Corrolla 2.0 L , 2014 model. While I was involved in an accident( at lower speed) car got cancelled. Now I am suspected about the thickness of body of Corolla. If I am going for similar Sedan type car, which one would you all prefer to me? Please advise!

  • mehrdad

    Dear All

    I just visit a new 2015 corolla GLI, what I saw in Toyota website is a 6 speaker audio system but what I noticed there is no speaker in back doors
    kindly need assistance

  • K

    Honda civic is the king. So much more premium than this 4 speeder. Toyota knows how to fool people really well.

  • Ahmed

    Just wanted to share something about the Corolla XLI 2.0, this model was initially intended for taxi segment in KSA, and the first lot arrived in KSA, later for reasons related to its qualification for taxi segment, it was not granted NOC as the engine specs were just short of it. So the ALJ- Toyota dealer starting selling if to private use lately.

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