And if you prefer the previous Corolla’s soft, compliant ride, the ordinary suspension is still tuned for comfort and smoothness. Basically, you can choose whether you want your Corolla softly or firmly sprung.
Another thing I like about the new design is that Toyota’s engineers paid close attention to tuning their new continuously variable transmission (CVT).
CVTs are good for improving gas mileage on small cars like the Corolla, so they’re getting more popular these days. They come with a downside, though: an often-criticized “rubber band” driving feel that can drain any sense of fun from the driving experience.
The Corolla’s CVT is better than most because the designers built it to emulate shift points like traditional transmissions. It offers a better sense of acceleration and control as a result.
An all-new cabin and prettier sheetmetal make the Corolla more attractive than before. I love the material choices and overall design, with refined surfaces and careful use of accent colors in the cabin, but I miss the solid, heavy, carved-from-granite feeling in the old Corolla. The new version is considerably lighter to save on gas, and you can feel it.
Overall, though, the new Corolla is a great match for today’s drivers. The new S model’s serious sportiness is a pleasant surprise, and the improved fuel economy is a good fit for the times.