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USED WHEELS: 2014+ Toyota Corolla Corolla remains a sensible used buy


Corolla owners noted its good mileage, spacious and comfortable cabin, abundant rear-seat legroom and potent headlight performance.
Corolla owners noted its good mileage, spacious and comfortable cabin, abundant rear-seat legroom and potent headlight performance. - Justin Pritchard
  • Model: 2014+ Toyota Corolla
  • Vehicle type: Sedan

History/description

Model-year 2014 saw the Toyota Corolla enter its 11th generation with new features, new styling and new safety equipment to help increase appeal.

Look for Bluetooth, text-to-voice messaging capability, a navigation system, Toyota’s “Star” safety system, push-button ignition, automatic climate control and lights, and more.

All models were four-door, four-cylinder, front-drive sedans.

Two versions of Toyota’s 1.8-litre four-cylinder were offered. Output was rated at 132 or 140 horsepower, depending on the model in question.

The CE, high-value LE and sporty S Corolla grades get the 132 horsepower version of this powerplant, while the available Corolla ECO gets the higher-output engine that’s more fuel efficient, and slightly more powerful.

Many used models include Toyota’s continually variable transmission (CVT), which functions like a regular automatic. A six-speed stick was available on more basic models.

Model grades included the basic CE, the value-based LE, the nicely-equipped SE, the loaded XSE, and the enhanced-performance LE ECO.

What owners like

Good mileage, a spacious and comfortable cabin, abundant rear-seat legroom and potent headlight performance were noted by owners. Ride quality, even on rough roads, and a smooth powertrain were also praised.

What owners dislike

Some owners complain about a slow and sluggish steering feel at lower speeds, and wish for a few more horsepower under the hood.

The test drive

Toyota is known to build some of the most reliable vehicles on the road, but shoppers should remember that the way a vehicle was treated and maintained by past owners has a greater impact on long-term reliability than the badge on its hood.

Poor maintenance and unfavourable owner habits can cause issues with even the most reliable cars, so, get all service records, obtain proof that no maintenance or fluid changes have been skipped or stretched, and have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before your purchase for maximum confidence.

A handful of owners have reported problems with the CVT/automatic transmission in this era of Corolla. Note that the owner’s manual suggests the transmission needs regular inspection for signs of fluid leakage as a bare minimum. Also, remember that while the fluid in the CVT transmission fluid doesn’t require changing in normal driving, so-called “severe” use specifies changing the fluid on occasion.

Most Canadians should follow the severe fluid change schedule and have the transmission fluid replaced every 100,000 kilometres at most, for maximum peace of mind.

Have this work performed exclusively at a Toyota dealer to eliminate any possibility of warranty-voiding damage caused by improper fluid use, or improper draining or filling of the fluid by an unqualified technician.

If the Corolla you’re short-listing seems to have trouble idling or running smoothly, or if the powertrain seems inconsistent or exhibits signs of surging or hesitation, a quick software update to the vehicle’s computer brain, performed by a Toyota technician, may be the fix.

Issues like these may be tied to a notice that Toyota sent to owners of some Corolla models, advising that bad software in the powertrain computer may be negatively affecting the operation of the vehicle. If bad software is the cause of these problems, the fix is quick and easy.

Some owners have reported unwelcome ticks, rattles and buzzes, usually from the dashboard area. These may manifest at random and can be tricky to fix.

Owners report varying degrees of success with wedging small foam slabs in between the dash edge and windscreen, or between the dash and a-pillar trim.

Others have quelled annoying rattles by applying thicker rubber stops to the area where the glove-box door rests, too.

Be sure to spend a few minutes of your test drive on the roughest road possible, as rough roads can coax unwanted sounds out of worn suspension components beneath the car.

Any slamming, banging or popping from beneath the Corolla you’re considering typically indicates that the vehicle needs attention to one or more of its suspension components, which you’ll want to have addressed before you buy.

Confirm that the air conditioner works as expected, rapidly pumping cool air into the cabin upon request. If that’s not the case, the likely culprit is a plugged cabin air filter, which many owners fail to change or replace.

If this filter goes unattended, it clogs up and can reduce the effectiveness of the air conditioning system dramatically.

Finally, if buying a used model with unclear service records, budget for a full fluid change (including transmission, coolant and engine oil), as well as a new fuel filter and spark plugs, for maximum peace of mind.

Using only factory replacement parts is highly recommended if you’ll do any of the work yourself.

 A healthy used Corolla from this generation that’s been well cared for should turn in years of worry-free transportation. - Justin Pritchard
A healthy used Corolla from this generation that’s been well cared for should turn in years of worry-free transportation. - Justin Pritchard

The verdict

With the 11th-generation Corolla, major problems are reported too rarely to warrant much concern, and more commonly-reported problems seem minor in nature.

A healthy used Corolla from this generation that’s been well cared for should turn in years of worry-free transportation.

If you’re in any doubt, have a Toyota technician check the vehicle over in full before you buy.

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