Pros: Competitive pricing; pleasant interior with simple, straightforward dashboard layout; good close-quarters maneuverability; rear-seat legroom is among the best in the class
Cons: Not as quiet as class-leading compact cars; driving personality is rather bland compared to rivals such as the Ford Focus and Mazda 3; gooseneck-style trunklid hinges intrude on trunk space; no hatchback version available
CG Says: Toyota’s compact car is redesigned for 2014. The new Corolla rides a chassis that is 3.9 inches longer in wheelbase and 2.5 inches longer overall, and it gains expected new infotainment features such as a touchscreen audio system that’s available with Toyota’s Entune app suite. The base 132-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder is carried over, but it gets an available continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an optional fuel-economy-oriented version that also sees a slight bump in horsepower, to 140. The new styling is a bit more dynamic inside and out compared to the previous generation, though that’s not saying much–the 2014 Corolla retains a conservative, practical character that appeals to a broad range of compact-car shoppers who just want reliable transportation. There are plenty of compact cars that are more engaging and enjoyable to drive, and several that have more-upscale trimmings, but this mainstream Toyota’s unassuming personality and reputation for reliability will still attract many buyers.