This one has to be one of the easiest general knowledge questions about cars – which is the world’s largest selling car model? The answer is Toyota Corolla, and the number of units sold is more than double of the next bestselling model. With more than 40 million units sold worldwide, the Corolla is probably the most successful production car model ever built anywhere in the world. And that sort of success doesn’t come by default. Behind that incredible accomplishment is Toyota’s unrelenting focus on quality, reliability, practicality and a desire to deliver a well rounded package at a great price.
The Corolla or the Corolla Altis as we call it here in India is in its third generation now with the new model. The current gen model was getting dated fast, and the upcoming 2014 model saw many fans postponing their car buying decision in anticipation. The Corolla straddles the C and D segments with élan, enjoying terrific brand loyalty for its value and premium positioning. While the new, 2014 model hasn’t been officially launched in India yet, we managed to sample the big family saloon on an unusually hot day in Bangalore as a part of Toyota’s exclusive pre-launch media drive. Here’s what we think about the newest exponent of the global bestseller.
In its newest avatar, the Toyota Corolla is 8 cm longer and 1.5 cm wider and 0.5 cm lower than the outgoing model. The most interesting part of the chassis overhaul, however is the increment of 10 cm in the wheelbase, expanding the cabin space, especially for the back benchers substantially. Knee-room, for example has increased by as much as 9.2 cm if Toyota’s claims are to be believed.
The headline news for the new Corolla is its more contemporary, sharper and angular look as compared with the organic design of its predecessor. The surfaces and design elements, especially at the front and the back are more angular and slashed out as compared to understated, flowing lines of the previous gen car.
The front of the car is defined by a set of flowing triple chrome slats converging at the center of the grille into the big Toyota logo. Toyota asserts that it’s a T-shape. The narrow grille and the slim, wide headlamps work towards making the car look wider and squatter than it actually is. Front lighting system features four LEDs as pilot lamps and a twin barrel layout for the head-lamps with the outer lamp being a projector unit. Blinkers are integrated on the inner edges of the headlamp.
An interesting design element is the extension of the chrome slats of the grille with similar looking material inside the headlamps. The top slat of the grille continues all the way to the end of the headlamps, while the lower two chrome elements are just stubs. The chiseled bonnet features a curvy crease emanating from the A pillar and merging into the front grille after making an arc.
Front bumper is new, and more angular with pronounced slashed out straight cuts flanking the central air dam and ahead of the front fender. The central air dam features triple plastic slats and has an aggressive looking bend to it at the lower end of its edge. Simplistic looking fog-lamps are housed in trapezoidal, black plastic cladding.
In profile, the roofline, unlike most new cars doesn’t drop down sharply. The Corolla merits practicality and comfort aboveeverything else, and in keeping with its tradition, Toyota haven’t compromised headroom for a sporty look. A subtle, straight beltline emanating from above the front fender spans the length of the car before merging into the tip of the tail-lamps. There are few other character lines too. There’s one which starts from the lower front portion of the front door and merges seamlessly into the rear wheel arch line. Then you have a mild crease emanating just before the kink in the rear window sills and disappearing into the area above the car’s haunches. Finally, the C pillar also witnesses a mil crease emanating from it and forming the edge of the boot-lid.
The 15 spoke alloys are brand new, and looked rather good on our grey colored test car. The mild kink on the rear window sill is another noticeable design highlight in profile. The ORVMs are two tone, finished in body and black color with integrated blinkers. The upper lining of the glass area is lined wiyth black plastic while the window sill areas has a chrome plating for a more premium look. Door handles too feature chrome garnishing.
At the rear, the slim, wide and angular theme of the fascia is carried over, replete with the slashes on the bumper. The two tail-lamps are joined by a wide chrome bar above the registration plate recess.
The new Corolla looks decidedly more contemporary and edgier than its predecessor. It’s well proportioned and we quite like the detailing in the front headlamps. Having said all that, however, the new Corolla isn’t exactly a sensational looking car, and wouldn’t really turn heads the way the Hyundai Elantra manages to.