What do you think of the new Corolla? I'm unimpressed

There’s a link on the CarTalk website to the spec’s of the new Corolla, the 2014 version. I’m unimpressed. With the 2014 version, apparently you are forced to purchase AC and power windows. And the size has increased. And you get 8 airbags whether you want them or not. If you want a manual xmission, your only option is a 6 speed. What do you think?

I’ve always thought of Toyota Corolla to be the econobox for the people. Affordable, reliable, and a modestly sized. If I wanted more luxury, bigger, more mod-cons, no problem, that’s easy to solve, I’d buy an Avalon. First off, as a parsimonious econobox-o-phile, I neither need nor want AC. I’ve never had it before in any of my cars, and never liked riding in a car with the AC turned on. The cold dry air is uncomfortable to breath. To my sensibilities anyway. And for the home mechanic, AC does nothing but cause problems. It’s unreliable – see all the posts here in these forums about broken AC? – it gets in the way of the other repairs, making simple jobs complicated and time consuming. Rolling down the window using a hand crank? I can do that. I neither need nor want power windows. And there’s a safety issue too. If my car veers into a lake, I’ll be more likely to effect an escape for me and my passengers through the window if I can manually roll it down, rather than having to rely on the power windows working under water. And why the size increase? The last time the Corolla was size enhanced, in the late 90’s, the public turned away. An econobox isn’t big. An econobox is appropriately sized to hold 2 adults in the front, 3 kids in the back and a couple of soccer balls, maneurverable, easy to park. That’s the def’n. There’s no reason to make the new Corolla larger. And 8 airbags? Just how safe does Toyota think we require a Corolla to be? We can’t afford 8 airbags. We econobox-o-philes are not made of money! We’re willing to take a certain amount of risk. Look around, there’s folks driving motorcycles with not only no airbags, but no tops, sides,and bottoms (for the motorcyle that is). 8 airbags is an over-reach. Why should we econobox-o-philes be forced to pay for 8 airbags? We’d be happy with just 2 airbags, one in front for the driver, and one in front for the passenger. We like that the manual xmssion remains an option, but who wants a 6 speed manual? First of all, it’s going to be less reliable to squeeze 6 gears into the xmission box, the parts just won’t be as robust. And who wants to be bothered by all that shifting? To drive to the grocery store you have to go through 6 gears between every stoplight? 5 speeds is plenty.

The bottom line? I expect econobox-o-philes are going to be looking at other cars as their next purchase, and avoiding the 2014 Corolla. I’m just saying is all …

I think Toyota’s econobox is now the Yaris. The Corolla is moving upscale to attract buyers who like the goodies, but want them in a smaller car.

The CVT transmission would throw some doubt in my mind. As for enlarging the vehicle, that’s an industry wide phenomenon. Isn’t the 2013 Corolla larger than the original Camry?

Today’s Civic is yesterday’s Accord; today’s Corolla is yesterday’s Camry. Just a way of moving Longtime Corolla owners up the ladder without they knowing it. Got to rationalize the price increases. Same motor, same chassis new price $$$$$ more. Got to hide the obvious. Same innards under a new skin. Sneak in a few mandatory options and voila, you have a better buy. Sure…
And @GeorgeSanJose, because you are so car knowledgable, you have a right to be unimpressed. IMHO, it will still sell cause it’s named Corolla.

The same thing happened at GM with the Chevrolet back in the 1950s. The 1955 Chevrolet was really a nice sized car for many buyers. It held 6 passengers but was not oversize. It started growing in size with the 1958 model and kept becoming larger. In 1964, Chevrolet introduced the Chevelle line along with the regular Chevrolet. Ironically, the Chevelle was about the same as the 1955 Chevrolet. Meanwhile, the regular size Chevrolet was about the size of the full size Pontiac or Oldsmobile.
Toyota increases the size of the Corolla to what the Camry had been. The solution is to then invent the Yaris that was the size of the original Corolla. Ultimately Toyota will have its market share grabbed by Hyundai just as GM had its market share shrink because of Toyota.

Hyundai has come a long way in since its introduction here, @Triedag. I wonder how their new top of the line model is moving?

I would want a 6 speed if it has a wider range-easier to launch in traffic(lesser clutch slipping), lower rev on highway.

But I don’t like the corolla. I read somewhere that the lock to lock of the steering on the s model is 3.16. That is just too slow; it just gives me the impression that they are not trying.

There are certain car buyers, that when they want to buy a new car, the question for them is whether to get a Corolla or a Camry (or a Civic or an Accord). They would still buy the Toyota offerings. Everybody else has ample choices to do research on, test drive and bargain. I think I can say I am happy that the competition has at least made Toyota reconsider the boredom element.
As a matter of disclosure, I do have a Camry in our fleet. It just happened that at the time I was shopping for a commuter car, this was the best one available.

I’m not a big fan of Toyota but this is just where the industry is heading. Manuals are not popular and becoming too expensive to keep around or to add to the floor plan. Its cheaper to package a selection of options together than in the old days of adding every option one by one. It used to be you add a heater, radio, back up lights, and on and on. Now its just better for production and inventory to just package the most wanted selections together. Acura has been doing this for years and you can go in and buy a car without much concern for the options. They are all on it. Most people want power windows and side air bags and so on are becoming the standard. Just the way its going. Even in Minnesota you can’t hardly sell a car without air conditioning.

Remember what some of the increase in car size is attributed to…our ever increasing fat asteroids. The increase in size is no where near what is available in Europe which has managed to keep their street and butt size somewhat in check. If we could still fit three across in a standard Corolla, they might still be smaller…maybe not, but. We are lucky enough to fit one of our commonly found obese relatives In the back seat. Up right seating, easier entrance…might as well roll us in a wheel barrel. The next Corolla will have sliding minivan doors…

And if, some of you don’t agree then I say as Johnny Cochoran might…“if the pants no longer fit, you must admitt”, the bigger cars are the norm now, for all of us.

FYI: Though I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you can verify this, you won’t be able to open either hand-crank or electric windows if you’re underwater—the pressure on the window is just too great. And if you end up with a car that has air conditioning, while just on the practical side, it does help clear a fogged windshield a lot faster, but no one is forcing you to use it on hot days. (except maybe your grateful passengers)

I’ll take A/C and power windows any day of the week. If you want to talk about features that are useless to me, I don’t need the ability to wirelessly text, update my Facebook page, and surf the web in my car, nor do I need 18 cup holders. (although Bluetooth is nice so I can listen to Pandora Internet radio and make calls through my car’s audio system)

I have to agree with Oblivion.
Unlike when I was a child, A/C is an expected feature on new cars nowadays, and–as was noted–is a big help in defogging windows. Similarly, most people seem to expect power windows nowadays.

The major reason why these features are standard, rather than optional, is that the economical operation of an assembly line mandates as few differences as possible from one vehicle to another. By not having to install non-power windows and/or A/C on a random (perhaps one of every 1,000 vehicles) basis, Toyota is able to run the assembly operation more smoothly and efficiently.

As Uncle Turbo pointed out, those who are really parsimonious will probably opt for the intentionally bare-bones Yaris, instead of a Corolla. Toyota didn’t become as successful as they are by mis-reading customers. Rather, they have noted the way the market has changed, and they are responding to it.

As to the 6-speed manual trans, that is the direction in which all of the car makers are moving, in the quest for better fuel economy. To not have a 6-speed manual would be a competitive disadvantage for Toyota.

Regarding, “And 8 airbags? Just how safe does Toyota think we require a Corolla to be?”, all I can do is to shake my head in disbelief at that statement.

On all counts, I believe that the OP is part of a very small minority, and–like it or not–it is not practical or profitable for companies to cater to just a small minority of their customers. Like with most things in life, the majority rules, and the majority of folks nowadays clearly want cars that are safe and economical and comfortable, and with a level of luxury that did not exist years ago. Most folks want all of the above.

Edited to add:
I also have to comment about, “AC does nothing but cause problems. It’s unreliable”.
I have owned 8 cars equipped with factory A/C, and none of them ever needed repair to the A/C system, including 2 cars that logged well over 120k miles.

Similarly, whenever I hear people complain about manufacturers loading cars with “unreliable” electronic features, I scratch my head in puzzlement. While, “in theory”, these high-tech features are just one more thing that will malfunction, I have never had to do any repairs to…automatic climate control, ABS, vehicle stability control, cruise control, traction control, power seats, power mirrors, power windows, automatic-dimming rear view mirrors, or multi-function audio systems.

Perhaps I have been extraordinarily lucky, but since 1971, I have been free of the need to repair electronic accessories, A/C, power windows, and other systems that some other people seem to view as perpetual nightmares.

One more thing - I’m sure they had no choice on the 6 speed manual because of mpg requirements.

When searching for a car for our daughter who had to travel from one hospital to another to do her clinical training along the east coast, in major cities from Charlotte So. Carolina to Boston, we bought a car with power door locks, air conditioning, power windows etc. as SAFETY DEVICES. Our daughter whom we called “a bar fight queen” because of her college day exploits was plenty able to take care of herself in general but…these options were still an added piece of mind. I do find the added cup holders convenient for everything but cups.

I no longer buy new vehicles but I will make one observation…I think they went a little overboard with the styling.

6 speeds are too many; makes for too much shifting in traffic if you use all of the speeds. I remedy that by frequently skipping gears (short shifting) with my 5 speed 2.2 liter Cobalt. The engine has plenty of torque to permit that and with a few minor ratio adjustments could easily pull a 4 speed. Fewer gears should help with fuel mileage by reducing driveline friction.

My very first Toyota was a 1976 Corolla 2-dr. It was a truely great little car, very basic even for '76. It did nothing fantastic, but did everything it was supposed to without a hitch for the six years I owned it (until my needs changed). It was the car that made me realize that it was no linger necessary to put up with the recalls, warranty work, and glitches that I assumed were part of owning a new car.

But alas, the Corolla has, like so many other great cars (and so many of us owners) gained width, weight, and doodads over the years. The Yaris is now the old Corolla, as others have pointed uot.

As for the styling, I believe that in a basic car the form should follow the function. I don;t care for many of the new designs. Well, with the exception of the new Alfa Romeo 4C…

We can thank Hyundai/Kia for this, they’ve made the ‘cheap car’ arena much more competitive, so Toyota figured they had to increase the ‘wow’ factor.

AC is needed where I live to keep the windows from fogging.
With the 2003-2007 Corolla/Matrix the 6-speed is more robust than the 5-speed, the clutches are a different story.
I like power windows in a 4-door. I can control the rear windows from the driver’s seat.
These days I would consider Hyundai and Kia for a small value car.
I owned 3 Accords ('81, '85, '88) but they got too dang big and they dropped the hatchback.


the SMRT car has AC and power steering optional, you might look into that teeny little thing if you’re not wanting AC or other gizmos