- Top-line safety and refinement for a bargain basement price.
- The body style says "practical." We'd like it to shout "fun" as well.
For the 1999 Toyota Corolla, the VE model now features a deluxe AM/FM ETR four-speaker audio system as standard equipment. A Touring Package is standard equipment on the Corolla LE model. Five new exterior colors include Silver Stream Opal, Venetian Red Pearl, Dark Emerald Pearl, Aqua Blue Metallic and Twilight Blue Pearl.
The Toyota Corolla has gone through many changes since it was first introduced in 1968. Over the course of its long life, the Corolla has appeared as a hatchback, coupe, wagon and sedan. The world has seen enough people fall in love with this car to make it the second best selling vehicle in the history of automobiles.
Last year the Corolla was totally redesigned in an attempt to increase its global sales record and become the standard against which all small cars will be compared. That's a tough goal to achieve with cars like the Honda Civic and Mazda Protege filling this same segment.
We think the most exciting aspect of the Corolla is under the hood. Nestled between the grille and the firewall is a 1.8-liter, all-aluminum DOHC four-cylinder engine that cranks out 120 horsepower and 122 foot-pounds of torque. This high-revving engine not only provides the Corolla with more power than the previous generation's motor, but it is 10 percent more fuel-efficient. When glued to a five-speed manual transmission, this engine will reward drivers with 31 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the freeway.
Equally impressive is Toyota's newfound commitment to safety. Beginning last year all Corollas were available with four-wheel antilock brakes and side-impact airbags. Those with kids will be happy to know that CE and LE models can be ordered with an integrated child seat.
The car's latest body style is into its second year and we still think the look is attractive but, in typical Toyota fashion, not very exciting. Aesthetics aside, the Corolla's new shape does a good job of reducing the car's NVH level, thanks to flush-mounted side windows and sound-deadening techniques borrowed from the Lexus magicians. Also improved by the new body is the Corolla's torsional rigidity, an important factor in making this car more fun to drive than the previous version.
Toyota is on a roll, offering up fine products faster than an Amway salesman at a flea market. The Corolla is sure to be a hit with the just-starting-out crowd as well as empty nesters that simply don't need a large sedan anymore.