A Review of the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco Plus: New and Improved While Maintaining Affordability


While many of the options in the compact sedan class have gone all high tech and expensive with their new versions, the 2014 Toyota Corolla has been refreshed in a way that improves it in pretty much every way – but without going overboard and jacking the price way up so prospective consumers can get everything that they expect and nothing that they don’t want to pay for from this new Toyota sedan.

The Toyota Corolla has been one of the bestselling cars in America for years so when the Japanese automaker announced plans to introduce a new generation of the Corolla, the American market paid close attention. When Toyota rolled out the striking Furia Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, we were excited at the thought that this angular, high tech looking compact concept becoming the next Corolla – although it was pretty clear that the production Corolla wouldn’t be anywhere near as sporty or aggressive as the Furia.

When the 2014 Corolla debuted with a look that was very similar to the Furia – except with some necessary calming of the more aggressive aspects and the removal of some carbon fiber bits – it was quite a surprise. The Corolla looked sharp on the outside, it featured more technology on the inside without going crazy and it packed the same predictably efficient 1.8L engine that was used in the previous models so on all accounts, it appeared as though he company had made a collection of smart moves in reworking the Corolla for 2014.

corolla side

However, the Toyota Corolla is a leader in an uber competitive segment where many of the newer entries are packed with high tech – and high priced – features inside and out. This has pushed the price of many compact sedans into the range of many midsized models and while many of those goodies were available in the Corolla, they weren’t made standard so unlike many of the competitors, the Corolla offers many of the features that you can get from the competitors but the new Toyota does it for a friendlier price. While the likes of the Honda Civic, the Hyundai Elantra, the Ford Focus and the Chevy Cruze have gone a touch more upscale both in features and price, Toyota has worked to keep the Corolla a great budget option by only introducing the items that buyers really want.

That plan has worked nicely.

My 2014 Toyota Corolla was fitted with the LE Eco Plus trimline, which carries a base price of $20,605 including destination while the Moonroof/Driver Convenience Package adds $2,360 for a total price as tested of $22,570.

The Exterior
When Toyota showed off the Furia Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, we had high hopes that the next generation Corolla would be as strikingly sporty as this concept sedan. With the Civic, Elantra, Dart and Focus going to a far more aggressive look with their latest versions, we expected the Corolla to follow a similar route. The production Corolla that I spent a week driving had the obvious styling cues from the Furia, but it did away with the most aggressive features that would be a bit too much – and a bit too expensive – for the 2014 Corolla.

corolla front

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Comments

This review is right on spot. Many reviewers tend to repeat that the Corolla is old technology, swearing only by turbos, DI, 9 speeds, all discs, loads of gadget... They miss the point : the Corolla is a simple but very polished car, that give you every essential, great comfort and (for LE Eco) the greatest fuel economy while remaining more affordable than the competition (though its a bit less true if you go with option packages like S, Plus, Premium). My LE Eco (base) always give or beat the 30/42 mpg EPA estimate. Not a lot of manufacturers could say that (hello Hyundai, Kia, Ford...)
I have had my new Corolla for about 2 weeks and have averaging 38mpg with combined city/highway, so cannot wait to take long road trip to check out actual highway mileage. I am also a Camry owner so am very happy with the ride of the Corolla.
I drove every form of the new Corolla and my favorite is the LE Eco. Although I like the "S Plus" for its better looks, the LE Eco is so advanced for such an incredible price it would be my choice. Oh- and I'd get the base wheels which provide a better ride and better mileage than the upgraded alloys. Great review.
Hi. If anyone has the 2014 Corolla could you tell me the best way to set up the heat. Do you put it on auto? Should the ac light be on? I'm just not sure how to set it up correctly. Thanks
Personaly I really like the Auto mode but you could always use it manually like any other system : set a temperature with the dial and choose the function, vents and fan speed. If you press "auto" the system will simply decide the "best" way to maintain the set temperature : which vents, which fan speed, AC or not, recirc or not. In winter, it will not blow much until heat is available from the engine (I find my LE Eco is on the slow side with that... plus I have to set temperature a bit higher than desire, say 23C to feel 20C) then the fan speed will increase - sometimes to max - and decrease by itself to maintain the temp. If you hit any button (say defrost), auto disengage until you press auto again. AC will engage even in lower temperature while heating - but never below freezing - as a dehumidifier. You can disengage this automatic function via "vehicule setup" on the touchscreen. So basically I always leave it on Auto (except for the occasional defrost) and it does all it has to do to keep the cabin at the set temperature.

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