By Clint Williams
Green Right Now
Toyota – with great fanfare – announced earlier this month that an all-new, redesigned-from-the-tires-up 2014 Toyota Corolla would arrive at dealers in September. But what if you're in need of a car right now? What sort of ride is the 2013 Toyota Corolla?
Cars buffs and automotive critics have never loved the Corolla, but it has been adored by the marketplace. Nearly 40 million of the compact cars have been sold, through 10 redesigns. It must do something right.
The 2013 Toyota Corolla S reflects an effort to pack as many amenities as possible into an entry-level car. The center console is home to a 6.1-inch touch-screen control panel for the AM/FM/CD system, six speakers and a USB port with iPod® connectivity. There is also Bluetooth® wireless technology for hands-free phone use and music streaming.
A $1,900 Premium Complete Package includes SiriusXM satellite radio, HD radio, automatic climate control and a power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade.
A fair amount of gadgets, but you're still driving a car with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine providing 132 horsepower to a four-speed automatic transmission that, in today's car world, is Bronze Age technology.
The 2014 Corolla will feature a new continuously variable transmission.
The 2014 Corolla will also be nearly four inches longer, a bit wider and a bit lower. I don't know how that will make much difference. The rear seating of the 2013 Corolla is comfortable enough for the class.
Driving a Corolla has never been exciting and the 2013 certainly isn't. But that is to be expected. The fuel economy was unexpected. We got just 26.3 mpg in a mix of driving that leaned heavily on city traffic. Not bad, but not great. The EPA estimates are 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway. The new 2014 Corolla LE Eco model promises an estimated EPA highway fuel economy rating of over 40 mpg.
So, do you buy now? Or do you wait? The real question may be – do you look at something else? This is a very competitive class that includes the Honda Civic, the more-fun-to-drive Mazda 3 and the Chevrolet Cruze, which will soon have a high-tech diesel option.
If you're considering a 2013 Corolla, the time to buy may be in August, when dealers are looking to make room for the flashy newcomer.
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