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Toyota Corolla
Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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World’s best selling nameplate—over 30 million since 1966—the Toyota Corolla has usually been a conventional and sometimes backward small car from the Japanese giant. While technically not a Model T- or Volkswagen Käfer-beater, since the 30 million-plus cars have been 11 different generations of Corolla, there will be more people on the planet from Japan to Africa who can claim they have bought one. As the range expanded, the Corolla even gained a cult following—rear-wheel-drive AE86 models in the 1980s remain the stuff of legend in Japan, while numerous tradespeople will swear by their Corolla vans.

The best Corolla was probably the 1983 generation, with the switch to front-wheel drive excepting the wagon and sports models. A world-beater on many fronts, especially compared with its international competition. Afterwards, Toyota shipped, once again, worthy and competent cars, usually as dull as a domestic appliance. Ninth generation Corolla solidly built with an attractive bodyshell, but still with the personality of a fridge. Tenth generation, with new spin-off lines called the Auris and Blade (Corolla Hatchback in some countries) replacing Corolla Runx and Allex, aimed to go into the premium sector and challenge the Volkswagen Golf in a Levi jean sort of way—but with fussy styling typical of Japanese design.

The Corolla’s reputation as a domestic appliance range was cemented with various OEM deals since the 1980s. The US sold the related Toyota Sprinter-based Chevrolet Nova and Geo (later Chevrolet) Prizm, while Holden of Australia had a rebadged Corolla also called the Nova. The 2000s’ Pontiac Vibe was on an E120 Corolla platform.

Marque: Toyota | Predecessors: Scion IM. Toyota Auris

q.v. Toyota Sprinter, Toyota Runx, Toyota Allex, Toyota Auris, Toyota Blade, Toyota Matrix


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024