The Best Cars Ever: Toyota Corolla

Another Entry in the Ongoing List of Amazing Cars
1968 Toyota Corolla
In 1968 Toyota introduced a new car to the U.S. market that like other cars in the Toyota line up used a version of the word “crown” for its name. Toyota first came to the United States in 1958 and the first sedan they had to offer the American market was called the Crown. This car didn’t sell very well and after a few years was discontinued. The Next sedan released in the U.S. was the Corona. This is the Latin word for crown. This car sold very well and in 1968 Toyota introduced the Corolla which derives its name from the Latin word for small crown. The Corolla was essentially a smaller version of the popular Crown.

2000 Toyota Corolla
 Today the Corolla is the longest running “import” sedan sold in the United States (the longest running model from an import company sold in the U.S. is the Toyota Land Cruiser which came to the U.S. on the first boat from Japan when Toyota arrived on our shores in 1958). Globally the Corolla has sold more units than any other car ever, including the old Volkswagen Bug. Estimates show that a Corolla is sold somewhere in the world every 40 seconds. Nearly 40 million units have been sold world wide since it was first introduced.

The Corolla has been used as a basis for many different cars. The Geo/Chevy Prizm, the Chevy Nova from the 80’s, the Toyota Matrix, the Pontiac Vibe, and the Scion xD have all come from the Corolla. The Corolla has been sold in rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, and 4 wheel drive configurations. Over the year there were 4 door sedans, 2 door coupes, and 3 and 5 door hatchbacks, there was even a few different station wagons. The only configuration that has not changed over the years is that the engine has always had 4 cylinders. The current Corolla is the 10th generation and is always found in list of the top 10 best selling cars in the U.S.

Popularity and manufacturing longevity do not make this car great; the thing that really makes it great is that it is so darned reliable. Not very many cars come close to matching the reliability of the Corolla, no other model in the Toyota lineup can claim to be better built than the Corolla. Anyone who has ever owned one of these cars knows exactly how it is, and probably has a story about how amazingly trusty their Corolla was or is. Some of them become very ugly and beat up but they still run well and they still drive solidly down the road. It’s one thing to have a car go hundreds of thousands of miles with the original engine and transmission, but it’s another thing to be able to remain a solid ride despite some rust, dents, and faded paint.

The Corolla is not offensive to look at, but it has never been anything special in its form. The car has never been slow compared to other cars in its class, but it has never been a sports car either, although there have been some models that were rather sporty. Back in the late eighties there was a rear wheel drive coupe version referred to as the GT-S that was sold for a few years despite the fact that all other models were switched to a front wheel drive layout several years earlier. These old GT-S coupes are still highly sought after by some Toyota enthusiasts. There was also a model referred to as the FX-16 that was a sporty hot hatch, which is interesting because this was back in the days before there was really such a thing as a hot hatch.

1986 Corolla GT-S

1987 Corolla FX16

For most people out there things such as looks or sportiness are not the least bit important when their car is broken down on the side of the road. The car that doesn’t leave you stranded is the car that you have a hard time learning to hate. People who don’t like the Corolla will always comment on their dislike of superficial things such as looks or they will claim that the car is not fun to drive. What car in the same class as the Corolla can be classified as a driver's car? Is the Corolla some what plain? Perhaps but it is at least as good if not better than any other car in it's class when it comes to aesthetics? Also, there is nothing wrong with viewing a car as an appliance, or a simple tool of transportation. To most people, that's all a car is anyway.

2011 Corolla
Two words that sum up the reason for calling the Corolla one of the greatest cars ever are, “time tested.” After these many decades the Corolla has proven itself to be reliable, solid, safe, and efficient transportation, getting people from point A to point B without any fuss. This is the kind of reputation that many auto manufacturers wish they had for their transportation offerings, such status cannot be purchased by any corporation. The Corolla is solidly one of the best cars ever… no pun intended. 

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