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Toyota Corolla – the story of a legend part 2

A week ago, we presented the first part of the story of our car of the month – Toyota Corolla. Today we invite you to the second part of the story about the automotive legend, which we start with the VII generation model. So let’s move to 1991 … Corolla VII generation (1991) 

By the time the seventh generation car was launched in 1992, the Corolla was by far the most popular car in the world and was rapidly approaching the highest sales record on any type plate. The seventh Corolla model was supposed to build on the success of the previous generation model, but it was more refined, bigger, faster and safer. As the sixth-generation Corolla turned out to be a huge hit, Akihiko Saito headed the design team for the second time. This time, more attention has been paid to improving performance and reducing fuel consumption. The 1.3 liter engine was known as the 4E-FE got 4 valves per cylinder, fuel injection and DOHC system. The power unit of the previous generation 2E had only 3 valves per cylinder and carburetor power. Thanks to the introduced updates, the power has been increased from 74 to 87 HP. The 1.6-liter engine was also modernized, increasing the power to 113 hp. The Corolle with this engine accelerated to 100 km / h in less than 10 seconds and reached a top speed of 195 km / h, which at the beginning of the 1990s was a remarkable achievement.

Corolla VIII generation (1995) 

The eighth generation Corolla marked a new era for Toyota. The Japanese abandoned the “world car” design that they had implemented on the previous generation models and decided to tailor the car to the preferences of individual markets and yes, Japanese buyers could buy a new car as early as 1995, but European and North American customers had to wait two more years until 1997. The car, however, gained a completely new, more rounded design. This “split” of the Corolla range was done mainly to further improve sales of the model on international markets.

With the ever-increasing demand for more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars, Toyota has decided to completely overhaul the Corolla engine range. The gasoline engines have been modified to provide flatter torque curves at low and mid engine speeds, and the 1.8 VVT-i 1ZZ-FE aluminum engine was first fitted to Corolls sold outside of Japan. While the updates made to the Corolla engine range helped to reduce fuel consumption, one of the biggest improvements was the 70 kg lighter weight of the eighth generation car. This was achieved through the extensive use of high-strength steels and computer analysis to optimize the Corolla’s body structure.

Once again, Toyota offered all buyers a wide range of body styles: four-door sedan, three-door hatchback, five-door liftback and five-door station wagon. The liftback was approximately 170mm longer than the hatchback, making it a great option for customers who wanted a little more practicality at a reasonable price. The design of the European Corolla was perhaps the most radical of all models, with all four body styles featuring a somewhat controversial and cheerful front that couldn’t be confused with any other car. It was in June 1997 that there was a change at the top and the Toyota Corolla became the best-selling model of all time, beating the historic result of the Volkswagen Beetle. Total sales of all Corolla generations then reached 23.5 million, of which nine million were sold in Japan.

Corolla IX generation (2000) 

As competition in the automotive world grew increasingly fierce, Toyota needed something unique to bring the model range into the 21st century. Corolla now accounted for 20% of all Toyota annual sales worldwide, so it was extremely important that the new design was unique. This spectacular task was entrusted to the chief engineer Takeshi Yoshida, and work on the ninth generation car began in the late nineties. Toyota faced a problem, however, as the Japanese economy was in poor health and existing buyers began to prefer multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs). Therefore, Yoshida decided to develop the ninth generation car with the demanding European market in mind. He believed that if they focused on this market, they could produce a higher quality car. In this generation, all gasoline engines are equipped with VVT-i variable valve timing technology, and the diesel engines are equipped with a D-4D common rail fuel system. 

The main emphasis in body design was this time on aerodynamics, with results achieved by developing a flat chassis and adding body parts that channel air away from the wheel arches and other parts of the car. The ninth-generation Corolla was also the first car to be operated by the new ‘Toyota Interior Research Team’. This new design team consisted of a group of specialists and designers from around the world who looked at future trends and improvements in interior design. They decided that the interior of the new Corolla should contain soft-touch plastics, and also focused on improving the comfort of the seats and the accessibility of all knobs and switches.

In the pursuit of quality, Toyota engineers went so far as to calibrate the weight and sound of doors and locks to make the car more luxurious. The interior of the ninth-generation Corolla also features many other Lexus features, such as a soft glove box. By the end of the ninth-generation Corolla series, nearly 32 million Corolla models were sold and produced. While competition from both Japanese and international manufacturers grew, the Corolla continued to be the world’s most popular car.

Corolla X generation (2006)  

In 2006 it was time for the new Corolla, but this generation was a bit different. In Europe, the Corolla name was largely replaced by Auris, as Toyota believed that the old name was too conservative and not reaching a young audience. Auris replaced the hatchback and station wagon in Europe, only the sedan body inherited the Corolla name. Interestingly, in many markets then a discussion about the new name flared up, and many customers even demanded the return of the old name. 

The most interesting engine options, however, were reserved for models with the Auris logo. In 2010, Toyota decided to install a hybrid powertrain and batteries, which significantly improved fuel economy. 

The overall exterior of the Corolla and Auris was an evolution rather than a revolution. Toyota gave them a smoother look in line with the new trends. In many versions, buyers had the option of retrofitting the car with the intelligent parking assistance system known from Lexus, a rear-view camera and functions such as Bluetooth connectivity and automatic air conditioning.

Corolla XI generation (2012) 

Big changes were getting ready for the eleventh version of Corolla. Fuel efficiency was more important than ever, and Toyota had to modernize the car’s appearance to make it more in line with modern standards. Once again, the name Auris was used for the hatchback model in Europe and Japan, and the car was based on different platforms depending on the market it was intended for. 

The appearance of the car was completely revised to be powerful and aggressive now. Rounded headlights and taillights disappeared, and were replaced with sharp-drawn structures. A new hybrid system was also chosen, which was based on a four-cylinder 1NZ-FXE engine, combined with an E-CVT transmission. For the first time, the designers also opted for a 1.2 turbocharged gasoline engine.

Corolla XII generation (2018) 

While the twelfth generation of the Corolla was originally presented under the name Auris, Toyota decided to abandon this name and return to using the Corolla name in all versions in all world markets. The next-generation Corolla followed the path of the eleventh generation model, with a more angular, edgy appearance. This slightly aggressive yet modern design brought Corolla back into the game. Like previous generations, the Corolla is offered as a hatchback, station wagon (Touring Sports) and sedan. 

To further convince potential customers, a new 180 HP 2.0-liter Dynamic Force hybrid powertrain has been introduced, but for those who do not need that much power, Toyota continues to offer the 1.8-liter eCVT hybrid powertrain. 

Toyota also had to do more with the interior, which has been completely redesigned to be more futuristic and to match the excellent looks of the exterior. 

It is rumored that Toyota is planning to put into production the GR Corolla with a 257hp engine and 360Nm of torque from a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine. Along with the engine upgrades, the GR will also feature a stiffer suspension, stronger brakes and a more distinctive body.