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Corolla’s reputation 48 years in the making

The arrival of the 2014 Corolla Sedan completes the 11th generation Corolla line-up, and it also signifies 48 years in a passenger car market dominated by Toyota’s stalwart model.

Toyota’s popularity and reputation for reliable and efficient motoring in New Zealand can be attributed in large part to the Corolla; a nameplate that shifted just 14 units in New Zealand during its debut year of 1966, but now boasts a cumulative total of more than 230,000 New Zealand sales.

Taking a global view of the Corolla’s popularity, around one in five of Toyota’s total output of 200 million cars is a Corolla. There’s 43.7 million of them, built in 16 different countries and sold in more than 150 markets worldwide.

“Toyota has a variety of nameplates in its wider model family that reinforce key company values. Undoubtedly though, the globally popular Corolla is the one model Toyota’s solid reputation has been built upon,” says New Zealand’s General Manager of Product Neeraj Lala.

“Forty-eight years on from its introduction, we’re extremely proud to offer the latest generation Corolla Sedan. With the sedan completing the new line-up, the Corolla continues to offer a practically sized vehicle for urban life, with better passenger space, cargo capacity and high-tech convenience features than ever before.”

Although the reputation has remained consistent, the shape, style and size of the Corolla has shifted throughout its 48 years.

The diminutive, rounded styling of the first and second generation Corollas in the late 1960s and early 1970s has made them sought after classics. This gave way to the sharper lines of the bigger third and fourth generation models in the mid-to-late 1970s.

During this time, Corolla strengthened its position in the local market, proving a popular contemporary choice for a mid-sized family car. Later when these families grew, the shared legacy of an entirely new generation’s “first car” emerged as faithful Corollas were passed from parents to newly licenced drivers.

The 1980s saw technological advances within the Corolla range, including in 1984 the arrival of the first ever front wheel drive Corolla, as the model line’s popularity grew from strength to strength. By now the nameplate had developed the solid reputation it carries today, and it was common to see locally assembled Corollas encompassing a variety of duties for a variety of people; the family next door’s reliable sedan, the rural postie’s rugged three-door wagon, the stylish hatchback lucky Kiwi television viewers could win in the “Catch of the Match” competitions that heralded the arrival of the summer cricket season each year.

The 1988 model Corolla proved a game changer for Toyota New Zealand. A comprehensive launch campaign which featured American actor Robert Stack (of television show The Untouchables fame) introducing the completely redesigned model to local audiences led to ‘Car of the Year’ plaudits for the range, as well as Toyota New Zealand achieving total market leadership for the first time. In 2013 Toyota New Zealand celebrated its 25th year of market leadership.

Underscoring the reliability of the Corolla models, local warranty cover on powertrain components increased from 12 to 24 months and from 20,000 kilometres to 40,000 kilometres around this time. Today it’s common to find 20-year-old Corollas still going strong with multiple hundreds of thousands of kilometres on their odometers.

While the seventh generation Corolla introduced in 1993 would prove to be the last locally-manufactured iteration following the closure of the Thames assembly plant in 1998, the Corolla’s popularity remained sound as a new era of Japan-manufactured cars were imported.

As with previous updates over successive generations, the launch of the all new 11th generation Corolla Wagon and Hatch in 2012 heralded a revolutionary new design, with redrawn dimensions making for both a refreshed modern exterior look and a roomier cabin.

The wagon was the first model released; featuring a restyled front end, a lower bonnet line, and headlights joined by a chrome-plated strip running the width of the bonnet, echoed in strong accent lines continuing the full length of the car.

Now the new 11th generation sedan joins the hatchback with a similarly redesigned exterior, high quality interior and enormous cargo capacity that will suit private and fleet buyers alike.

The driving position has been re-engineered for greater comfort, while thinner front seat backs have created more knee room for rear seat occupants. The mid-size sedan also showcases fantastic cargo capacity; 470 litres of available space, which equates to four full size golf bags.

The three grade Corolla sedan line-up begins with the GX, offering either a six speed manual or Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox option, 15” wheels, Halogen headlights and LED tail lights. A full factory audio system boasts a 6.1” liquid crystal display, providing access to audio functions, as well as trip fuel consumption data. The screen also acts as the display monitor for the standard reversing camera.

The Corolla GLX sedan adds 16” alloy wheels, front parking sensors and fog lights, a smart key system, genuine leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, plus additional chrome accents and high grade instrumentation.

The ZR sedan enjoys premium features including genuine leather seat facings, a driver’s seat boasting eight way power adjustment including power lumber support, automatic climate control air conditioning, a smart key system with push start and factory satellite navigation system with SUNA traffic channel all as standard. The ZR also features LED Daytime Running Lights, along with extra ornamentation including leather-like door trim, and paddle shifters to access the CVT gearbox’s seven Speed Sport Sequential Manual Mode.

Today’s Corolla sedans also feature Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming as well as Voice Recognition software as standard, accessed via the multifunction steering wheel, which also houses audio controls, display options for the Multi-Information Display (MID) screen in the instrument cluster and Cruise Control functions.

Boasting peak power of 103kW and maximum torque of 173Nm, the 1.8 litre, 16 Valve DOHC petrol engine, with Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) offers plenty of power; somewhat more than the 44kW 1077cc engines featured in the first Corolla of 1966.

The new Corolla sedan range achieves Euro 5 compliant C02 emissions of 153g/km for CVT variants and combined fuel consumption of 6.6-litres/100km for CVT models. GX Manual CO2 is 162g/km, and 7.0L /100km

Forty-eight years on from launch, the 2014 Corolla sedan continues the model’s traditional role as an ideal mid-size family car, with two ISOFIX child seat brackets, three tether anchor points, three-point ELR seatbelts in all seating positions and seven airbags including a driver’s front, front passenger’s, driver’s knee airbag, driver and front passenger seat side and full cabin curtain shield airbags.

Building further still on an indelible, proud history earned through 48 years of reliable, cost-effective and innovative motoring, the modern and spacious new Corolla sedan range is available at Toyota dealers nationwide.