It’s hard to make a strong case against the Toyota Corolla. The vehicle sits comfortably at the top of the market for vehicles in its size and class, and it has held its position there for several years. The modern Toyota Corolla has a long lineage dating back to the 1960s, and this country has been a major part of the car’s history. The first Toyota Corolla models to be sold outside their home country were sold here before they hit the market and made their way to other countries around the world.
A total of 11 generations of Toyota Corolla have been on the market. The beginning of the 1990s saw the introduction of the seventh generation, which was sold from 1991 to 1995. The major overhaul of the Toyota Corolla from the 1980s to the 1990s was the facelift of the vehicle that transformed it into a compact car. In keeping with the aesthetics of the decade, the then-new Toyota Corolla became a bit more streamlined and aerodynamic. That appearance has largely persisted to this day. The eighth generation was introduced in 1995, and the ninth in the year 2000. The 10th generation hit the market in 2006, and the 11th and latest generation was introduced in 2012. Rather than any major overhauls, each subsequent generation has simply improved on and modernized the look of the earlier generation, which means the Toyota Corolla has largely maintained its appearance, as well as its appeal, over the years. Since 1995, the cars have scored better than average in Australia’s Used Car Safety Ratings.
It’s difficult not to use the word ‘reliable’ when describing the Toyota Corolla. It is the go-to vehicle for someone searching for a practical, affordable car. Reliability does not have to mean ‘conservative’ as the Toyota Corolla is anything but. It is fun to drive, and newer generations have an appealing exterior. The reliability and practicality offered by the vehicle only mean that it is a car that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. Perhaps the only downside to the car’s popularity is the fact that so many people drive them; you would be hard pressed not to find several Corollas out on the road on a typical drive through the city. The narrow range of body styles adds to this issue; however, most drivers will not be concerned with the popularity of their model of car, which makes it a non-issue for most.
With the 1990s came an overhaul of the Toyota Corolla’s engine. Several engine options were available, including 1.3L, 1.5L, and 1.6L inline-4 petrol engines, as well as 2.0L and 2.2L diesel engines. The most basic of the engines offered 54kW of power and 98Nm of torque, while the higher-end engines gave 125kW of power and 160Nm of torque. The eighth generation changed the engine offerings yet again, with 1.3L, 1.5L, 1.6L and 1.8L petrol engines and a 2.2L diesel engine offered. The ninth and 10th generations saw 1.6L and 1.8L engines with 93kW of power and 161Nm of torque. The newest models have 1.3L and 1.5L engines on vehicles with CVT transmission, and a 1.8L engine with the same power and torque as its eighth- and ninth-generation predecessors.
Overall, driving the Toyota Corolla can be a lot of fun; however, it doesn’t have the same sporty feel as other cars in its class. For the average driver, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The car is better suited to city or suburban driving. For drivers who are headed into the bush, another vehicle with better handling and suspension might be a better option. All that being said, the Toyota Corolla can do a lot of things that other cars of its size, and in its price range, can’t.
A few different trims are available with the Toyota Corolla, including the Ascent, Conquest, and Ultima in older models and the L, LE, and S in newer models. Available body styles include the hatchback and sedan, and all generations since the generation introduced in the early 1990s have come with both standard and automatic transmission options for drivers. With any of the basic Toyota packages, expect to find kit that was common around the time when the car was new — for example, CD player and radio, power locks and windows, and the like. Newer models of the Toyota Corolla may contain any number of features. The latest may include satellite radio, satnav, voice recognition technology, and smartphone connectivity.
The Toyota Corolla is at the top of its game; however, one car seems poised to potentially push it off its throne. The Ford Focus is a popular, and it is arguing with Toyota over which of the two is really the top brand. Like the Toyota Corolla, the Ford Focus is a lot of car in a relatively small package. Unlike the Toyota Corolla, it offers a little bit more in the way of a sporty, fun drive, which may be enough to attract some drivers in its direction. Its 2.0L 4-cylinder engine provides 125kW of power and an impressive 202Nm of torque, which gives it the get-up-and-go that the Toyota Corolla just doesn’t have.