Our 2014 Corolla LE also represents the most popular trim grade Toyota expects to sell, with take rate of over half of total sales. The mid-grade LE comes in above the L which starts at $16,800. The top of the line S begins at $19,000.
Within the LE trim level there are three sub-variations that can load the car up pretty quick with features. Because ours was optioned with the top LE Premium grade and a number of stand alone options the price as tested was about $22,500.
For the exterior, this gave it 16” alloy wheels and fog lights. Out back there’s an integrated back-up camera too. A notable standard feature across the board on all Corollas is its LED headlamps, a feature not available on most other cars in its class at any price.
The 2014 Corolla has an all new interior which Toyota says raises the level of comfort, convenience and appeal. Our tester has the Driver’s Convenience Package which at $2300 and some change came with sunroof, push button start, and many other features.
The interior overall is well designed with good feature content for its price. Hard plastics still abound however and a leather wrapped steering wheel would be welcome at this trim level. Many of its competitors outshine the Corolla in this department.
The driver seat is power adjustable with the passenger seat being manual. Rear seating offers up adequate room for this class with just enough height to make legs comfortable for longer rides. Ease of entry and exit isn’t too bad either because of the Corolla’s more formal door opening shape.
Under the hood is Toyota’s venerable 1.8 liter four-cylinder VVT-i engine with 132 horsepower mated only with a CVT for 2014 in the LE. It’s EPA rated at 29 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and a commendable 32 mpg combined.
The engine is the same one that has been in the Corolla for many years and has a good reputaion for reliability as well as refinement. New is the CVT which has simulated shift points to mimic a six-speed automatic transmission. It works ok, but if you need to simulate a traditional transmission, why not just give us one.
As far as chassis is concerned, you aren’t going to find much new here over the 2013 Corolla with perhaps the exception of the new electrically assisted power steering.
Up front is a simple strut suspension and out back a cost effective torsion beam rear axle. I must note as I did last week when we tested the Corolla ECO, that there are still drum brakes in the rear, a shining example of last century technology.
The driving experience is nothing short of average, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is an appliance, a middle of the road car that is not meant to be sporting nor luxurious. The steering, braking and power delivery is middle of the road, but well sorted at it.
Both in town on on the open road, the Corolla does offer up a confident and solid ride which in some cases outshines competitors in the area of road noise. It’s quieter and offers better isolation from harshness than many.