Review – 2014 Toyota Corolla Diesel

Posted on: May 19, 2014 - 9:08am IST

While the American market gets a sporty-looking Corolla, Toyota will launch this swoopy-looking Corolla in India by the end of this month. The Toyota Corolla in India attracts the rear seat loving owner, who couldn’t care much about engine power, or whether the transmission is a DSG or a single clutch. Instead, this customer looks mainly at comfort, reliability and the overall cost of maintaining the car, keywords that the Corolla is synonymous with since the 1960s.

While the Corolla is also associated with adjectives like boring and lackluster, Toyota say this model is actually exciting. So, is it?

Exteriors:

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review front three quarter
The new Corolla manages to look sporty and less boring.

The design of the Corolla has never set anyone’s pulse racing, but Toyota has tried to correct this with the 11th generation model. The rear profile of the sedan looks particularly sporty and yet premium, while the front facia looks well finished and proportionate.

The side profile of the Corolla gets special praise as the rear doors of the car, though extended in length, look very proportionate with the rest of the body. Overall, the exteriors of the Corolla will certainly appeal to its target audience.

Interiors:

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review interiors
Plastic quality is not great, but will last the life of the vehicle.

The interiors of the new Corolla are much more simplified than its predecessor. A three spoke multifunction steering wheel rests in front of an instrument cluster which looks rather sober. The center console of this top-end variant is occupied by a large touchscreen display, below which controls for the AC are seen. The center screen is flanked unnecessarily by a carbon-fiber lookalike plastic panel, which looks quite tacky.

Build quality of the materials used inside are just above average, and nowhere near that of European or Korean rivals for that matter, and never has been. That being said, the plastics give the impression that they would last the life of the vehicle. Toyota could have put more effort in improving the quality of switches and knobs given the segment of this car.

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review rear center console
Toyota will not offer rear AC vents even as an option.

However, with the Corolla, the highlight is towards the rear. Open the long doors and you’re greeted by a comfortable bench and an almost flat floor. Rear seat legroom in this new model has been enhanced by 92 mm thanks to a wheelbase extension of 100 mm. The seat back can be reclined by a few millimeters as well in a 60:40 ratio. Needless to say then that the new Corolla’s rear seats will be the most sought after place with owners.

Features:

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review center stack
The fake carbon center console looks tacky and is completely unnecessary.

The Corolla diesel will be available in four variants: J, JS, G and GL. All variants get driver and passenger airbag, ABS and EBD and automatic AC. The top-end GL gets features such as LED headlights, keyless entry with a starter button, a 7-inch display with reverse camera and leather seats.

Engine and Gearbox:

The diesel Corolla is powered by the same 1.4-liter four-cylinder D-4D diesel engine seen in the previous model. This engine produces 88.4 PS at 3,800 rpm and 205 Nm of torque between 1,800-2,800 rpm and comes matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox.

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review engine
The 1.4-liter unit struggles to take the Corolla up to speed. NVH levels are very good though.

Toyota say they have improved the NVH levels of the Corolla to ensure a quieter cabin. We can support this claim as the Corolla diesel remained vibration free and reasonably quiet even at the top of its rev range.

The 6-speed gearbox is well engineered and so is the clutch of the car. The clutch pedal is extremely light, and almost petrol car like, while the gearlever smoothly slots into gear gates without any fuss.

There is no denying that the Corolla diesel is underpowered though. You need to be extremely patient to get this car up to speed, and overtaking moves need plenty of time. If you plan on driving yourself, the Corolla diesel may not be the car for you.

Ride and Handling:

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review wheel
Engineers have done an excellent job in making the ride comfortable.

The new Corolla seems to have been tailormade for our road conditions as the ride quality of the sedan is well sorted even over rough patches of roads. Bumps and potholes are soaked by the suspension very well.

While the Corolla is not involving to drive, the steering has adequate feedback and the body is well controlled. These characteristics ensure safe and predictable handling.

Fuel Efficiency:

The Corolla managed 13.5 km/l in our short test drive.

Prices:

2014 Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Review taillights

Prices of the new Corolla will be announced later this month when the car is launched. Expect the newer model to be priced about INR 40,000-50,000 over the previous Corolla.

Verdict:

Though the new Corolla is positioned in the same segment as that of the Octavia, Jetta and Elantra, the Toyota appeals to a different target audience, as mentioned in the start of the review. To put it concisely, this target audience will definitely like the new Corolla as it builds on the strength of the older model by offering more space and a bit more features.

While self-driven customers may still prefer the Octavia/Jetta/Elantra, the Corolla makes sense for the back-seat loving owner. Being a Toyota, it will be reliable, and easy and inexpensive to fix.

2014 Toyota Corolla Diesel Review – Image Gallery

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14 thoughts on “Review – 2014 Toyota Corolla Diesel

  1. Abhina says:

    One of the best styled car available . The styling of honda city and hyundai verna simply looks dated now.

    Reply
  2. neeraj says:

    Corolla’s 1.4 Diesel I thought was underpowered. Once took hotel cab, Corolla – to airport. I was running late, so told the driver to speed up. On our way this arrogant BMW 7 series was not giving way. My driver got angry and since I was late – ended up in a race. The 7 series was annoyed, so he tried to pull away.

    However, the Corolla 1.4D beat him so many times. I was shocked that this powerplant has so much ample torque, which is what is needed for Indian traffic. Not power. We barely go high speed, but we need high acceleration and torque to race. It was punchy, smooth and linear.

    Elantra is more powerful… but the booming noise when you try to race with it is a little deafening. Also, Hyundai engine is not very durable. Give it 3 years and it sounds like dappa. My friend never buys Toyota, loves Hyundai – came to work and i can hear under the bonnet takatakataka – like broken glass.

    All i can say is please bring 1.8l diesel to Corolla. Also why is there no Automatic in Diesel??

    Reply
  3. Vijay says:

    A puny 1.4 liter diesel engine with 88 bhp???. What is Toyota thinking?. Toyota needs to learn a lesson or two from Hyundai. The Fluidic Verna 1.6 diesel outsells the 1.4, for the sheer power it delivers. And look at the features in the top end verna and it’s price, looks like great VFM when compared to the Corolla(Though Corolla might be a segment higher).
    The Corolla Diesel needs atleast a 1.8 liter diesel with no less than 120 Bhp.

    Reply
  4. John Baxter says:

    Thank you very much IndianAutosBlog. I have been asking for Diesel corolla’s review. Thank you for hearing us 🙂

    Reply
  5. Jegan says:

    Jishnu, Bharat seem to be working for another company – bashing a Corolla even before it is out… are you sure you guys are not related? ;P

    I’ve seen this car in Thailand and honestly, there is a sense of power from its rear stance, refinement and comfort in this compared to the outgoing model.

    However, obviously you cannot compare this to a superior Skoda.

    I also do feel that Toyota India is rather cheapskate and TKM is changing to inferior parts by themselves. Global Toyota models are not bad, then when it comes to India – it is throwing crap inside. I don’t know why TKM cannot stick to global standards.

    Also I’ve heard many good reviews on the automatic model – it was engineered by the same people as the Lexus LFA and it stands out. Please review that too Anjan!

    Reply
  6. sp says:

    Well enginered ??? Low on power, just add the features (lali powder) compared to competitors & pay for the brand this is what marketing strategy of Toyota is, accept & pay for d brand not for the product which are priced on higher side

    Reply
  7. Jishnu S V says:

    Toyota considers Indian citizens as second grade. Models sold in India is not even near to the models in Europe except for Prado and Land Cruiser which are to be frank way too expensive by any standards. Toyota is asking a hell lot of money for a car just for chauffeur driven customers. Why can’t they offer a punchy diesel and more safety features. This seems to be day light robbery.

    Reply
  8. bharat says:

    No traction control? No ESP? No 6 airbags?

    Why does IAB not highlight these poor safety standards when the other models are offering it !?!

    Is this a PR article for toyota?

    BS

    Reply
    1. Jishnu S V says:

      Well said.

      Reply
    2. Sandeep says:

      Even I felt the same. It sounds so biased. Without providing proper details how can someone understand a car? “Rear looks sporty and front looks well finished”. I don’t know if the car was compared to a Tata Nano.

      Reply
    3. Anjan Ravi says:

      Hi Bharat,

      This is not a PR article for Toyota. We’ve highlighted various drawbacks in the car such as the build quality, the tacky center console and the underpowered engine.

      Regarding mentioning of safety features and comparing with other rivals, we’ll take this into account for our future reviews, thank you for the feedback.

      Reply
      1. bharat says:

        Thank you Anjanji for your feedback.

        The interiors may look tacky, but if you say that they will last the lifetime of the car, then the comment largely seems to be addressing the aesthetics (which are largely subjective).

        Would you recommend the new Octavia over the Corolla as a superior product?

        BS

      2. Anjan Ravi says:

        Hi Bharat,

        The interior plastics of the Corolla are not worthy of the segment (pricetag) of this car. The Octavia is certainly a superior product compared to the Corolla, however, in areas such as aftersales and price of spare parts, the Corolla will prove to be better.

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About the Author
Anjan
Anjan Ravi

I'm a true-blooded petrolhead. Hope you enjoy our news stories, launch coverages, motorshow coverages and test drive reports.