If you’re looking for a used car that will last for years and years to come, the Toyota Corolla is a great bet. It’s a familiar workhorse with a simple design to keep you driving with few issues.
One of Toyota’s oldest nameplates, the Corolla has evolved greatly. The original was boxy with harsh lines while the latest models have rounded edges like a marble or a jellybean – while never the most fashionable car on the market, the Corolla has remained trendy over the years with styling to fit the decade.
The original Corolla is the simplest of them all: it was only offered with a manual transmission and its reputation touts lack of options as its best feature as fewer things can go wrong. It was a tiny subcompact that was almost too small for the American market so in 1970 the second generation was released in a larger size.
Over the next couple of decades, minor changes were made yearly that have gradually led to the car we have today. To keep up with emissions standards in the 1970s catalytic converters were added. The suspension has been improved several times. Horsepower doubled from 60 to 120 between 1968 and 2009. The car grew again from a subcompact to a compact in the early 1990s.
And it has always sold well. In 1997, the Corolla surpassed the VW Beetle and became the bestselling nameplate in the world – a title it holds today despite increased competition in the compact sedan market.
Named in the Toyota tradition of playing with the word crown, Corolla is “small crown” in Latin – perhaps a car fit for a little prince or princess? Small and reliable it’s often been a car purchased for or handed down to youth. Even today you’ll find late eighties and early nineties Corollas mixing with new model Corollas to fill up student parking lots.
Despite their prevalence among American youth, the Corolla is a car for anyone. Approximately every 40 seconds a Corolla is sold, will you be the next to buy one? Or perhaps you’re among the many who already own one of America’s most reliable cars?