Posts Tagged ‘corolla’

Toyota Corolla Turns 50

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Out of the thousands of cars that have ever been manufactured anywhere in the world, only nine models have stayed in production consistently for 50 years — and only two companies have achieved this level of success twice.

From the U.S., Ford Motor Company — the fifth largest automaker in the world — has done it with the Mustang, which was first unveiled at the World’s Fair in New York (1964/1965); and with their F-Series pickups which came onto the scene in 1948. Not surprisingly, Japanese industry leader Toyota holds the other spot in this lofty statistic. Their Land Cruiser has been around since 1951 when it originated as a military vehicle; and the Corolla entered production in 1966 (which motortrend.com reports incorrectly as 1968), making it the newest member of a very elite few.

Don’t be confused by the 50th Anniversary Edition Camry, which, in 2007, was a salute to the number of years that Toyota had been doing business in the U.S. and had nothing to do with the production history of the Camry.

50th Anniversary Edition Corolla

To celebrate this stellar accomplishment, Toyota has produced a 50th Anniversary Edition Corolla to be offered this fall in the U.S. as a way to emphasize the worldwide love for this car. Primarily based on the 2017 Corolla SE, the anniversary design introduces a delicious new black-cherry color scheme on the interior dashboard panel and door trim, contrast stitching of the upholstery, and the eye-catching new exterior paint (which is also available in Classic Silver and Blizzard Pearl).

Fifty years is a significant length of time to produce an automobile, and Toyota’s ability to remain at the top of the car game is directly linked to their unwavering pursuit to out-perform themselves. Here are the highlights on how the engineers approached each new Corolla generation:

1. 1966-1970

With a name that means, “crown of flowers,” the Corolla quickly became a favorite family car all around the world. It was almost as if the ad campaign tagline, “The most wanted car by the market …” was in truth, a prediction because three years later, the car reached the number one position in domestic sales.

2. 1970-1974

To change, or not to change? After realizing such a boon with the first generation Corolla, engineers rolled the dice on a new design that valued the feel of the previous model with a whole new set of bells, whistles and curves. Their gamble was rewarded immediately; by June 1970, Corolla’s cumulative production totaled one million units. Very impressive,considering it had only been on the market for a few years.

3. 1974-1979

Strict vehicle emissions regulations were implemented around the globe, so Toyota started a company-wide project that resulted in the perfection of a catalyst-based exhaust gas purification system, that to this day, remains the standard.

4. 1979-1983

Quality of life was taking a front seat in the fourth generation design which was reborn as a luxury family car with a superior performance overall. From January 1983 to March 1983, Toyota saw Corolla sales reach 116 nations, and go from 4.75 million units to 10 million.

5. 1983-1987

Always leading the way in technical innovations, Toyota offered a choice of drivetrains this time around. Front wheel drive conveyed a spacious, comfortable interior, and rear wheel drive provided an exciting, sporty experience. Once again, Corolla held the number one position in domestic sales.

6. 1987-1991

Satisfying the heart and mind, appealing to all five senses, was the primary focus of this generation’s design that sought to set a new global standard.

7. 1991-1995

A downward turn in the Japanese economy led consumers’ focus to shift from quality to price, and, despite the economic struggle, the Corolla maintained the top market share in its class.

8. 1995-2000

Energy savings and resource conservation paved the way to top-level fuel efficiency by way of substantial weight reductions, and environmental awareness by improving recyclability. Diesel engines were added for cleaner emissions.

9. 1997-2002

The basic Corolla concept was wiped away, and a European exterior design was adopted to rival the allure of higher grade vehicles. Talk of changing the Corolla name was quickly dashed by the developer.

10. 2006-2013

Providing customers with a “Happy Corolla for Our Planet” was the driving force behind the 10th generation’s design that relied on a global point of view with attention placed on safety, reliability and the environment. It was during this time that the Corolla was overtaken by the hybrid Prius as the top selling car in Japan. But did that mean it was now curtains for the Corolla?

11. 2013 –

The design goal is to stimulate wakudoki — a state of excitement about having fun derived from Japanese words waku waku and doki doki, and a heart that beats faster because of it — by exceeding customer expectations. The 11th generation Toyota Corolla is counting on this to keep this model delivering the same amazing results as the previous models in the last 50 years.

Japanese Car Auction Find: 1985 Toyota Corolla

The first car I drove in Japan was a 1992 seventh generation model. I was so impressed with its durability that I bought myself an eighth generation model. But when I went to look in the upcoming auctions, the oldest one I could find was nothing like 50 years old — it was a mere spring chicken from 1985 — a relatively young 31-year-old 5th generation model, but with an impressive mileage of under 26,000 KM on the clock. Let’s see what the auction sheet says.

“Grade 3.5, interior C, first registered October 1985, five-door model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, gasoline engine, stone chips in front windshield, interior grime and cigarette burns and cigarette burn holes, steering wheel worn, rust underneath vehicle, left side has medium waves, rear gate damper is no good, radiator support and left front inner panel wrinkled, left front side member end has panel beating marks, scratches and dents and faded paintwork, paintwork worn on bonnet and on roof and on front fenders, right front indicator lens cracked, replaced panel and other marks as per map”

Its not in the best of conditions, but that is an impressive average mileage of under 1000KM per year.

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- interior

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- rear

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- auction sheet

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- front


Japanese Car Auction Find: Toyota AE86 — The Drifter’s Dream

Posted by Stephen On Monday, April 11th, 2016

The Toyota Corolla today is one of the most popular cars in existence, due to its small but durable size and budget-friendly pricing. However, few people know much about its history or what kinds of models went into making the final product. One of these earlier types was the Toyota AE86, which was introduced by Toyota in 1983 as part of the fifth generation Toyota Corolla, with the final models rolling off the production lines in 1987. As such, it is just one generation of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno spanning the years from 1972 to 2004.

There were some differences between the Levin and the Trueno, but to the general observer they were almost indistinguishable. The word “Levin” means “lightning” in Old English and “Trueno” means “thunder” in Spanish, making the two models an interesting play on words. Other than the names, the main difference between them was the headlights: while the Levin had fixed, rectangular headlights, the Trueno offered pop-up headlights instead.

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- front

One of the unique aspects of the AE86 was that it maintained a rear-wheel drive at a time when most other cars – particularly small hatchbacks – were switching over to front-wheel drive. As such, it is one of the last rear-wheel drive cars of its time. The AE86 body type was offered as either a 2-door coupe or 3-door liftback, which can also be called a hatchback. Other specifications included the 4-cylinder engine that was also used in other Toyota models of the time, as well as a 5-speed manual gearbox (although an automatic model was offered later as well).

Stopping and cornering on the AE86 was handled by ventilated disc brakes, as well as a MacPherson strut independent suspension at the front and a four-link live axle with coil springs bringing up the rear. Stabilizer bars were present at both ends of the car to make for a suspension system that was relatively sophisticated for what was a low-end model. All of this attention to detail lead to the fun handling that makes the car a stand-out model today in the minds of Japanese classic car enthusiasts.

During its production lifetime, the AE86 was well known for its achievements on the racetrack as well as the highway. The model was a popular choice for showroom stock, Group A, and Group N racing, and was found especially frequently in rallying and circuit races. Privateer teams continued to race the AE86 even after it was discontinued, and you can even find teams that race with this vehicle today. What makes it so appealing is its rear-drive configuration, which is not found in many other cars of the era and especially not in modern models of lightweight coupes.

The car was popular in races in Ireland and Finland, and also did well in international touring races where it competed mainly with Honda Civics and others lightweight vehicles of its type. In 1986, it was entered in the European Touring Car Championship and won the Manufacturers Championship, beating out larger cars including the BMW M6, BMW 325i (E30), Rover Vitesse, Volvo 240 Turbo, Merkur XR4Ti, Mazda 929, Holden Commodore (VK), Alfa Romeo 75 (turbo V6), and Mercedes 190E.

Japanese street racers, known as hashiriya, prized the AE86 as well for its light weight, relative strength and especially its rear-wheel driving configuration, which made it popular for races through mountain passes where downhill corners were particularly suited to the capabilities of this car. In particular, the AE86 was well adapted to drifting, or the process of controlled sliding through corners. Japanese drifters like Katsuhiro Ueo, Toshiki Yoshioka, Yoichi Imamura, Koichi Yamashita, Hiroshi Takahashi, Tetsuya Hibino, and Wataru Hayashi made the AE86 famous in the drift scene in the 1980s.

As a result of its popularity in Japan, the AE86 was found in many episodes of Japanese anime and manga; the model also made a brief appearance in Fast and Furious 4 and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, indicating its popularity in American popular culture as well. It is also featured in a number of video game series, including Gran Turismo, Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V. It also appears in several video games and movies in the Need for Speed franchise, including Need for Speed: Underground 2, Need for Speed: The Run (where it can be used in challenges and multiplayer events), Need for Speed: World, Need for Speed: Pro Street, and Need for Speed (2015 movie).

Here is a 1984 Sprinter Trueno GTV that is in the car auctions in Japan. The mileage is high, but that is typical for cars of this age. This car has a lot of aftermarket parts, and seems to be in relatively good condition considering its age:

“Grade 3.5, first registered March 1984, 204,874KM, GTV model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, front adjustable suspension, rear lowered suspension, Watanabe magnesium 14 inch wheels, strut bar, earthing system, aftermarket shock absorbers, super muffler, aftermarket radiator, aftermarket upper hose and lower hose, Apex air cleaner, TRD plug courts, Tein front adjustable-type upper mount, AC does not work well and needs repair, interior grime, ???? (unreadable) hole in body work, seats sagging and cut, dashboard loose and cut, front cross member dented, rust underneath vehicle, corrosion and other marks as per map”

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- inspection report

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan-- rear

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- interior


Toyota Corolla ESport & Camry Extremo Debut in Bangkok

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 27th, 2015

We don’t always get a chance to cover some of the smaller international auto shows, but this week’s Bangkok Motor Show had a couple special treats from Toyota that we wanted to share with our dear readership. Check out the Nürburgring Edition  of the Toyota Corolla ESport and the Toyota Camry Extremo below:

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nürburgring Edition

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nurburgring edition

Toyota Thailand has prepared a special version of their Corolla to commemorate the Corolla Altis’ 7th place finish in last year’s 24-hour endurance race on the Nürburgring. This is a direct homage to that car, labeled the Toyota Corolla ESport Nürburgring Edition.

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nurburgring edition rear

Unfortunately, an honest to goodness high-performance Toyota Corolla is a little too good to be true. Toyota Thailand hasn’t made any actual powertrain upgrades to the Corolla ESport – it still runs on the same 1.8L four-cylinder petrol with a modest 141 horsepower, paired to a CVT that drives power to the front wheels of the car. However, they have revised the suspension to offer more invigorating driving dynamics than the regular Corolla ESport.

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nurburgring edition interior

The rest of the changes are purely aesthetic. Toyota Thailand added beautiful 17-inch alloys that perfectly accentuate the new piano-black grille and extra-large front bumper. They’ve also added a spoiler and diffuser to the back of the car, and the cabin gets black leather-wrapped seats with sporty red accents.

Toyota Camry Extremo

2016 Toyota Camry Extremo

Unlike the Corolla ESport Nürburgring Edition, the facelifted Toyota Camry Extremo doesn’t commemorate any on-track achievement. We find it a bit funny that Toyota Thailand decided to add horsepower to this one and not the Corolla ESport. Granted, the Camry Extremo is a permanent offer for Thailand’s drivers so it makes sense that they would put a bit more effort into it, even if it isn’t a limited edition model.

Under the hood you’ll find that the 2.0L engine has been tuned up to 167 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, and the transmission has been upgraded to a six-speed automatic. The Extremo will slot beneath the Camry 2.5G in the Toyota Thailand’s lineup, and will be the first Camry they’ve targeted specifically at young, sporty drivers. Of course, the real appeal for the new Extremo comes from the aggressive new body kit complete with side skirts and chrome 17-inch alloys.

2016 Toyota Camry Extremo interior

Inside, the Toyota Extremo’s cabin stands out from the crowd with features like adaptive cruise control, conductive wireless smartphone charging, and three-zone custom climate control complete with ventilated seats to keep everyone in the car comfortable.

While we don’t ever expect either the Camry Extremo or the Corolla ESport Nurburgring Edition to go on sale internationally, it’s always fun to see what Toyota’s domestic branches are doing to find new ways of reaching out to their domestic market.


Toyota Camry, Corolla & Avalon Coming to Chicago

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The 2015 Chicago auto show opens next week, and this week Toyota has been busy prepping us for the three new models they plan to showcase at the event. Well, one new model and two special edition models that will be shown in Chicago ahead of their 2016MY debut.

Facelifted 2016 Toyota Avalon

2016 Toyota Avalon Teaser

The star of the show, and the only one that Toyota is giving us a real teaser for, is the 2016 Toyota Avalon. This is a mid-cycle refresh for the fourth-generation full-size sedan, and all we know so far is that the front fascia will get a major overhaul with a new chrome-outlined hexagonal lower grille. The front lip looks slightly more aggressive, and it looks like the LEDs have been redesigned with new vertical LEDs.

The exterior design is all-around more refined than the current model’s, and we expect that the interior will get similar treatment with new upholstery and trim options, along with several new tech. updates. We expect the powertrain options to remain totally the same.

Toyota Camry Special Edition

2016 Toyota Camry Special Edition

Along with the facelifted Avalon, Toyota will showcase limited, Special Edition versions of their 2016 Camry and Corolla.

The Toyota Camry special edition will be based on the normal Toyota Camry SE trim. Toyota has added custom 18-inch alloys with glossy black accents. It will also get unique Special Edition badging, smoked taillights, and will be available in either Blizzard Pearl or Blue Streak Metallic.

2016 Toyota Camry Special Edition interior

The interior will be stylized with vibrant blue stitching to contrast the black-and-chrome interior. Even the gauges will get sleek electric blue dials.

Toyota Corolla Special Edition

2016 Toyota Corolla Special Edition

The Toyota Corolla special edition get similar treatment to the Camry, with the biggest difference being the red color scheme instead of blue. It will be based on the Corolla S Plus, with rich, glossy black alloys, Special Edition badging just like the Camry’s, and three new color options – Black Sand Pearl, Super White and Absolutely Red (pictured).

2016 Toyota Corolla Special Edition interior

Again, the limited Corolla’s interior gets largely the same treatment as the Camry’s, except the contrast stitching is red instead of blue.

Toyota plans to build 12,000 special edition Camrys and 8,000 Corollas, so if you like what you see at the Chicago Auto Show next week, be sure to order yours ASAP. Alternatively, if you want something more affordable, you can check out our Integrity Exports auction database to find cars like this:


Redesigned 2015 Toyota Camry Coming to New York Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Toyota Camry

Toyota has just announced that their best-selling Camry sedan will receive its first major design changes since 2011 for the 2015 model year. Furthermore, we will see those changes in-the-metal at the upcoming 2014 New York Auto Show, where the new sedan will make its official debut.

We first heard rumors about a Camry facelift towards the end of last year when the Corolla and Avalon were seeing their own major changes. Toyota had said that they would be paying “significant attention” to the Camry in 2014, so this isn’t a major surprise. However, while the surprise isn’t major, the redesign is alleged to be.

Apparently, another automotive blog, AutoGuide, has an informant inside Toyota’s Design Research team, and they’ve hinted at some of the specific changes we can expect from next year’s model. But let’s back up a bit first…

Toyota Furia Concept

In January, Toyota’s US Head of Design, Kevin Hunter, readily admitted that the current Camry is, frankly, boring. As such, Toyota told us that the new Camry would be more “emotional” and “impactful” than its current iteration. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’re remembering the Toyota Furia Concept (above), which eventually led to the new Toyota Corolla.

We now know exactly where the new Toyota Camry will take its “emotional” and “impactful” inspiration from – the highly acclaimed Scion FR-S / Toyota GT 86, pictured below:

Toyota GT 86

Since 2011, the Camry’s year-to-year design updates have been limited to new headlights and taillights, or maybe a slightly altered grille on a good year. However, it looks as if the new Camry will be an all-around more aggressive-looking car. And a more competitive car too – AutoGuide’s source specifically claimed that the new Camry will have “much better styling and technology than the Accord.”

Specific aesthetic changes that the informant confirmed include a front-end design reminiscent of the Scion FR-S, featuring a large, low-hanging mesh grille with the iconic Toyota logo situated just above. He also hinted that the rear-end styling will evoke the Lexus ES sedan.

2014 Lexus ES Rear View

 In addition to the numerous exterior changes, the 2015 Toyota Camry will apparently receive extensive interior updates. This is to be expected, since Honda and Nissan have both been able to deliver high-quality, premium interiors in their current iterations of the Accord and Altima. The onus is on Toyota to surpass their competitors with a luxurious and high-tech interior of their own. Early rumors hint at a completely overhauled interior trim, along with new technologies like a customizable thin-film-transistor (TFT) display for the front dash.

Mechanically, the new Camry might not get any new powertrain configurations (we still don’t know one way or another), but it definitely will offer better driving dynamics through a retuned suspension.

The new Camry can’t come soon enough for Toyota, as their 12-year best-selling sedan is in danger of losing its title for the 2014MY. In the first two months of the year, the Camry has actually fallen behind the Nissan Altima in total sales. It seems that drivers are finally tired of the boring-but-reliable Camry, so we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what Toyota can bring to the table to spice up their currently bland sedan.


The New 2014 Toyota Corolla – It’s Finally Here

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, June 8th, 2013

We’ve been teased with concepts and renderings of the new Toyota Corolla for the better part of a year. Since murmurs of the Furia Concept originally started back in late 2012, we’ve waited and waited and waited to see what Toyota has in store for the next generation of the world’s best-selling car ever. Finally, after months of torment, the 2014 Toyota Corolla is officially here.

2014 Toyota Corolla

2014 Toyota Corolla – Exterior Design

The current Corolla has been on the market since 2008. The sedan already has a well-earned reputation for bland exterior design, so the fact that it’s also outdated means that Toyota was really looking for a monumental shake-up in the design department. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

The 2014 Corolla’s exterior design is much more aggressive and athletic than the current generation’s. The car is about 4 inches longer, which in and of itself makes the sedan feel slightly more upmarket. In addition, the entire front fascia has been reworked; the grill is more chiseled, the headlamps have been re-sculpted, and the front fender and wheel-wells are more flared. You’ll notice improvements from the back of the ’14 Corolla, too; the butt of the car has been bulked up and edge-ified with new taillights and rear fender design.

All in all, the car just LOOKS sleeker and more aerodynamic. It will definitely stand out on the road much more than the current generation does. All in all, very appealing, especially if you opt for the more luxurious S trim package with 17-inch alloy wheels. The larger wheels act like the coffee table in a living room – they really bring the whole thing together.

2014 Toyota Corolla – Interior Design and Features

The most important aspect of the new Corolla’s interior, and what Toyota heavily emphasizes in their press release, is the spaciousness and craftsmanship seen and felt inside the car. And indeed, families will especially enjoy the extra legroom and more comfortable backseats, which will undoubtedly make long road trips more palatable.

Beyond space, the new Corolla’s interior is generally higher quality than the current generation with better materials and a more refined design. The dash has been reworked horizontally, the stitching now matches the interior color-scheme in any trim package, and the arrangement of the space feels much more intuitive.

Outside of aesthetics, the interior of the new Corolla has also been sound-proofed against both environmental and road noise. The windshield has been re-crafted with acoustics in mind, the floor panels are denser, and the seals between the various panels in the car are more insulated.

2014 Toyota Corolla – Powertrain and Fuel Economy

No matter which trim package, the new Toyota Corolla comes with an efficient, light-weight aluminum 1.8L four-cylinder engine. The Corolla L, LE and S all get a 132 hp engine with Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence technology. The more fuel-efficient LE Eco trim gets it even better… The same engine, but with Valvematic technology, which apparently “offers a broader range of continuously variable valve timing” than the normal VVT-i technology. This allows the LE Eco to achieve a claimed 40+ mpg while still enjoying a slightly boosted 140 hp.

Honestly, there’s an enormous amount of new features in the 2014 Toyota Corolla to cover. This article could easily have been broken up into two or three parts and still left important details uncovered. So, instead of writing all those articles, I’m just going to point you to the press release here. If you’d like to learn more about the 2014 Corolla, I highly recommend you check it out.

Otherwise, thanks as always for reading, please feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned next week for more Japanese car news. (And don’t forget that there are loads of the “old” Corollas available every day in Japan’s car auctions.)

Sources: Car and Driver, Autoblog


2014 Toyota Corolla Officially Set for a June 6 Unveiling

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Yesterday we discussed Toyota’s place at the top of the auto industry during 2012, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands. It seems fitting today, then, to go ahead and discuss one of Toyota’s most important upcoming new vehicles – the 2014 Toyota Corolla.

The new Corolla was officially teased yesterday on Toyota USA’s Facebook Page. The message, “Prepare to meet the NEW 2014 Corolla. Get excited for June 6, really excited…” was accompanied by a vague, teaserific snapshot of the new Corolla’s taillight. Probably. You can’t really tell for sure, but take a look for yourself via the image below:

Most of you know that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the new Corolla. The Furia Concept from the 2013 Detroit motor show was blatantly pitched as the sedan’s showcar forerunner.

The Furia was flashy and fascinating, more in line with what you might expect to see from a Fast and Furious movie than with what you’d expect from Toyot’s family sedan. Still, we didn’t complain then, and we’re not complaining now. We’ll save all of our complaining for June 6 when the undoubtedly much milder production model is fully unveiled.

Unless… If only there were some way we could see the 2014 Toyota Corolla right now…

Leaked Spoilers for the 2014 Toyota Corolla

Not too many people noticed back in February when a couple Toyota spy photos were leaked on the almighty Internet. They seem much more important now that the unveiling of the 2014 Corolla is closing in.

As you can see, the car in the photos is clearly reminiscent of the Furia Concept from earlier this year. It’s got the same blunt, polished nose, thick-lipped wheel wells, and even the same headlight design.

So, here’s the real question, can you see where the Corolla teaser Toyota officially released yesterday might fit onto these spoiler photos?

You have to angle your head a bit weirdly, but I think I can imagine just where the camera must’ve been to take that teaser – looking up at the right taillight. Even so, I’m still excited to get the full picture on June 6 when the Corolla is unveiled in California. The car will apparently make it to the US by the end of this year, but stay tuned for more information – we’ll have more information when it’s finally unveiled.

Sources: Facebook, Autoblog, Car Scoops, Car Scoops


Japanese Cars from Day 1 of the Detroit Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Today marks the first day of press access to the first big automotive event of the year – the North American International Auto Show, or more commonly referred to as the Detroit Auto Show.

Many of you have marked your calendars in advance for this important date, but sifting through all of your favorite news sources for updates can be a hassle. So, to make life easier for our fellow Japanese car enthusiasts, this blog will be bringing you daily updates on the latest unveilings of the show. Being that this is a Japanese car blog, we will be specifically covering the Japanese-made vehicles debuting at the NAIAS.

Infiniti Q50

We knew that the Infiniti Q50 would be competing for attention with the highly anticipated Lexus IS, so it’s a good thing that Infiniti’s Toyota-owned competitor won’t be debuting their luxury sedan until Day 2… That means the new Infiniti Q50 has a whole day in the spotlight!

The all-new luxury sports sedan will be replacing the Infiniti G37 and will feature a highly aerodynamic exterior design with either a 3.7L V6 with 328hp or a 300hp 3.5L V6 gas engine hybrid-linked with a 67hp electric motor. One of the coolest features of the new sports sedan is a brand-new feature – Active Lane Control – which is capable of reading the road ahead and adjusting the vehicle’s steering based on automatically-perceived changes in road conditions or crosswinds.

Toyota Corolla Furia

Regular readers will know that this writer was hoping the Toyota Furia would be more than a Corolla reboot. So, when Toyota unveiled the Furia today and it was exactly that, you might expect me to be disappointed. However, the expressive innovation and vivid design clear in the real-life Furia have completely washed away any disappointments that last-week-me may have felt.

The new Corolla concept rides lower to the ground, is slightly longer than previous generations, and features a bevy of trend-minded aesthetic tweaks, such as a significantly pronounced grille, an abbreviated front clip, and a steeply raked windshield. Looks like the Corolla will continue being the best-selling vehicle of all time.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan leaf was definitely one of the cars that we were aware of, but not excited about, at the outset of the Detroit Auto Show. However, today Nissan dropped a bomb on us so huge that we felt compelled to write an entire article about this car alone.

The new Nissan LEAF S will be available as cheaply as $18,800 depending on your locale, and every single trim level will be more efficient, cleaner, and have a larger range than any of Nissan’s previous EVs.

Honda Fit-Based Urban SUV

The automotive blogosphere has been murmuring about a Fit-based SUV from Honda for at least the past six months, and today we finally got to see what those murmurings were all about. The new crossover from Honda has been dubbed the Urban SUV Concept, and Honda says that “The Urban SUV Concept is intended to provide the basis for a fun-to-drive and fuel-efficient small SUV with aspirational design, flexible packaging and next-generation connectivity targeting active lifestyle customers.” We know that the Urban SUV will launch in Japan by the end of the year, and in the States by 2014.

Day one of the Detroit Auto Show was a great start for Japanese car manufacturers with a good showing across the field. The least exciting Japanese car of the day was probably the Honda Urban SUV concept, but that’s not to say it won’t be a blazing success when launch-time comes later this year. After all, the same thing was said about the Honda CR-V and it is one of the best-selling SUVs in the American market. Plus, Honda/Acura has more cars waiting to be revealed over the next few days of the Detroit Auto Show, so you’ll want to check back tomorrow for the most up-to-date coverage.


LoFaso Reveals Toyota’s Intentions for Next-Gen US Corolla

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, December 8th, 2012

The Toyota Corolla has always been perceived as a reliable car, but never really as an appealing car. Its design has always been plain, its driveability has been average, and as a compact sedan its interior has never been particularly spacious. Yes, I know that the Corolla is the best-selling automobile in the world with over 39 million sales since its release in 1966. There is no disputing the fact that it is both a reliable and an affordable car, but it’s has been overtaken by the Prius brand as the best-seller in the last decade.

The next-gen Toyota Corolla has been on sale in Japan since May of 2012, but it’s still a car that we don’t know all that much about in the US. However, we do know what Toyota is trying to achieve with the new Corolla thanks to an interview Car and Driver had with Richard LoFaso, who is Toyota’s corporate marketing manager. He made it clear that even after almost 50 years Toyota is vigilantly looking to make its best-selling sedan more appealing to more of the market by listening carefully to its current customers.

2012 Japan JDM Toyota Corolla

LoFaso says that Toyota has narrowed its focus to five key areas for every new vehicle they develop. He says they will emphasize “more-expressive styling, better driving dynamics, improved interior quality and refinement, safety improvements, and fuel economy.” So, what’s in store for the next-gen Toyota Corolla?

While LoFaso remained tight-lipped about the actual specifications of the 2014 Toyota Corolla, throughout the interview he hinted that one area in particular would feature vast improvements over the current model – the interior. He acknowledged that interior design is an area that Toyota generally hasn’t devoted proper focus to, particularly in their more economical cars like the Corolla. He pointed to industry trends as the reason, stating that “if you look back at the industry, there was a period of time when Toyota and all the other major makers were looking for ways to drive the cost out of cars to make the cars more affordable… Everybody in the industry was cautious about cost-containment.”

Moving forward, LoFaso demonstrated that Toyota is aware of how highly customers prioritize interior design and space. He said, “What the customer is saying is that this [the interior] is real important space to me. If we listen carefully we will give the consumer a much better driving experience.”

If LoFaso is right and the key to a good driving experience actually lies within the interior of the car, then it’s not too much of a leap to assume that the redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla (to be released sometime next year) will feature an array of interior improvements. We will likely see a more spacious interior with a more advanced design and higher quality materials. LoFaso says, “I think you will be pleasantly surprised.”

Even though you can’t really argue with the Toyota Corolla’s sales figures, it’s about time for the world’s best-selling compact sedan to get a major overhaul. Especially in the American market where manufacturers such as Ford and Chevrolet are starting to develop serious competition for the Corolla, Toyota really needs to make sure that next year’s release is a major hit. After all, it would be a real shame if the Corolla didn’t hit the 40 million sold mark until 2014!

Source: Car and Driver