2014 Toyota Corolla Gets the Chicago Winter Test, 51 MPG

2014 Toyota Corolla

If you read lots of car blogs, you already know how fashionable and trendy it is to call Toyota’s Corolla a bland, “beige” sort of A-to-B appliance and make sophomoric comments about how no enthusiast would ever seriously consider buying one. After spending a week with the new 2014 Toyota Corolla, however, let me assure you: if you’re not considering the Corolla, you’re probably stupid.

Don’t get me wrong- I bought into the automotive media’s frat-like hive mind before driving the new Corolla. I didn’t expect to like it. I expected it to be competent, reliable, fuel-efficient transportation, of course (that’s what Toyotas are), but I didn’t expect it to be quite this competent.

2014 Toyota Corolla 51 MPG

That’s right, kids. The new, decidedly not a hybrid, diesel, or even manual transmission even 2014 Toyota Corolla, in a 20+ mile drive that involved zero active hypermiling techniques from yours truly, gave back 51.8 MPG. In freezing temperatures. The whole time, too, the HVAC system was churning along to keep the surprisingly roomy interior warm and toasty.

Seriously impressive, in other words.

That 51.8 MPG run wasn’t the only stellar “green car” performance out of the 2014 Corolla, either. Throughout the week, I averaged 38.7 MPG over mostly city surface roads in nasty, snow-filled city traffic. When the traffic cleared and I had a few chances to open it up, the car motored along happily. It wasn’t the most exotic sports car I could be driving, but it was a willing partner that seemed to be up for whatever I had in mind- which, as you get older, you’ll realize is a much, much better thing than slinky curves.

In addition to the fuel economy, the Corolla offered a solid, obvious build-quality. Granted, the Toyota lacked the heavy vibe of the sturdier-feeling (and $10,000 more expensive!) Chevy Cruze I drove back in November, but it also had a much more open-feeling cabin that benefitted from an excellent interior palette and a general feeling of “airy-ness” that, somehow, eluded the Cruze. The dashboard also contributes to the feeling of roominess by gently swooping away from the driver, and the low center console stayed respectfully away from my knee, as well.

Here’s what my 2014 Toyota Corolla looked like on the inside …

… and, as you can see, the Corolla I had was well-equipped with power goodies and a decently-sized center screen. As such, driving the Corolla was a totally positive experience. On top of that: 51.8 MPG! Wow!

Here’s a few more pictures of the new 2014 Toyota Corolla taken on one of this winter’s warmer mornings (it actually got up into the 20s), and I think the little Corolla actually looks kind of OK. What do you guys think? Is it still just an appliance, or do the roomier interior and hybrid-like fuel economy make the new Toyota something more? Go drive one, then let us know what you think in the comments, below.

 

Original content from Gas 2.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.