The world’s bestselling automobile continues its streak unabated. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Aug. 26, 2021 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid A world class 53/52 mpgUS Compact starts at $23,650. This past July, Toyota sold its 50-millionth Corolla, a historic achievement that will possibly not be surpassed by another automobile ever. Now in its 12th generation and over 55 years in production, Corolla continues to be one of the world’s top-selling vehicles. Toyota introduced the Corolla in 1966, and it arrived in the U.S. in spring 1968 as a 1969 model, starting at about $1,700. Gas cost $0.35 a gallon, and the median household income was $7,700. As the Corolla grew to offer more room, comfort and performance, it became “THE” global value benchmark. Fifty million Corolla’s later, this pillar of the Toyota family remains the go to vehicle for most situations and all for affordable price. Just as it did at the end of the 1960s, Corolla today offers buyers affordability and years of reliable service. The 2022 Corolla line continues that proud and personal tradition with sedans, a sporty hatchback, a hybrid and the first-ever Corolla Cross compact crossover. Looking Back Corolla sales were on the upswing when the October 1973 Oil Embargo set off a chain reaction of long lines and higher prices at the pump. Corolla buyers were confident that even just few gallons in the tank would be enough to meet the needs of the week or more. Corolla emerged from that downbeat period with even wider and rapidly growing appeal, and Toyota began to add more models, including sporty fastback coupe and liftback versions. Toyota’s steadfast dedication to continuous improvement ensured that every new generation of Corolla offered more than its predecessor. By the mid-1980s, Toyota was building Corollas in the U.S., and today, Corollas are built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. (TMMMS), which opened in 2011. The new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama, is building the all-new Toyota Corolla Cross today. While the 2022 Corolla is lightyears ahead of its 1960s predecessors, its core values carry on. Except it is a lot more refined and enjoyable to drive. 1st Gen: 1969-1970 The first Corolla was the essence of simplicity, with a clean design offering good visibility in coupe, four-door sedan and two-door wagon models. A coupe called Corolla Sprinter with a slightly lower semi-fastback roofline arrived later. All Corollas had a 1L I4 w/ an aluminum cylinder head, intake manifold, valve cover and clutch housing. Wheels were just 12-inch diameter, and the only transmission offered was a four-speed MT. With 51 hp, zero-to-60 took around 17 seconds, and the top fuel economy estimate was in the high 20s. We have come a long way since those days! The 1969 Corolla two-door sedan started at just under $1,700, and among its standard features were reclining front seats and a locking fuel-filler door. Wow, talk about fully equipped! 2nd Gen: 1971-1974 The second-gen Corolla grew in size, with a slightly longer wheelbase, moved up to 73 hp and offered Corolla’s first optional AT, a two-speed. For 1972, an SR-5 coupe featured a 88-hp 1.6L I4 w/ a 5-speed MT. Corolla had by this time become the second-best-selling car in the world. 3rd Gen: 1975-1979 The Corolla again grew again in size and offered 1.2, 1.3 and 1.6L I4 engines. A fastback coupe and Liftback were added for 1976, which featured fresh front styling. The Liftback was more like a sport wagon and added rear seat head room. 4th Gen: 1980-1984 A more angular design distinguished the 4th gen Corolla, added more room and refinement. The U.S. model offered a 75-hp 1.8L I4 and a 90-hp 1.6L I4. The two-door models were praised for front seats with a “memory” feature that allowed the seats to slide forward to assist with rear seat ingress/egress, and then return to the same position and recline angle. 5th Gen: 1985-1988 The 5th-gen brought additional interior room and better all-weather traction. In a joint venture with General Motors called New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI), Toyota began building Corollas in California. All front-drive engines were now SOHC configuration. In 1987, a new front-drive FX hatchback was added. The rear-drive GT-S would later become a drifting legend. 6th Gen: 1989-1992 The 6th-gen Corolla line was now all FWD, with all models powered by 16-valve DOHC I4s and featuring four-wheel independent suspension. The Corolla All-Trac wagon and sedan models had an effective AWD system. The new coupe featured pop-up headlights like the AE86 and came in SR-5 and GT-S models. The GT-S had 135 hp in the 1990-1991 version. 7th Gen: 1993-1997 The 7th-gen Corolla became more Camry-like in its design, and moved up in cabin volume. Both the 1.6 and 1.8L DOHC engines were offered. For 1997, a CE sedan packaged numerous popular options for a special value-priced model. The timing seemed appropriate to celebrate Corolla becoming the best-selling car model in history that year. 8th Gen: 1998-2002 The 8th gen Corolla improved with yet more passenger volume on the same wheelbase as the previous model. The redesigned unibody passenger crash protection and side airbags became available. An all-new all-aluminum 120 hp 1.8L I4 debuted the Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system with higher fuel economy ratings. 9th Gen: 2003-2008 In its 9th gen, Corolla got longer and taller to create its largest cabin ever. A Corolla S model added sport-tuned suspension and special body styling. With its 130 HP engine, the Corolla had an EPA-estimated 31 combined MPG with the five-speed MT and 28 combined MPG with the four-speed AT. As a sign of the times, the center console box could hold 14 compact discs. For 2005, the performance-tuned Corolla XRS combined the 164 HP 1.8L I4 from the Celica GT-S with a six-speed MT and sport-tuned suspension. 10th Gen: 2009-2013 In the 10th-generation Corolla, it produced less wind noise than many luxury cars. The XRS model returned, w/ a 2.4L I4 from the Camry for higher torque and greater responsiveness in everyday driving. With CDs beginning to fade, the higher-grade Corolla models offered JBL Premium Audio with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Comfort and tech had become higher priorities for compact car buyers, and the Corolla obliged with the XLE grade, which offered an available power moonroof and a JBL audio system with AM/FM/six-disc CD changer, plus satellite radio and eight speakers. 11th Gen: 2014-2018 The 11th-generation Corolla debuted a chiseled new body. The rear seat’s 41.4 inches of legroom exceeded that of many midsize and full-size sedans. All Corolla models now featured eight standard airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag and front passenger seat cushion airbag. Critically, the 2017 Corolla came standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P, a total safety system anchored by automatic emergency braking and that bundled the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams. Upgraded interior materials continued the premium feel, and a touchscreen audio system featured Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity as standard. Automatic climate control became standard on the LE grade and above. The L and sporty S grades standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while the automatic transmission was now a CVT to boost fuel economy. The Corolla Eco model with Valvematic engine technology had an EPA estimated 42 MPG highway / 34 MPG combined. 12th Generation: 2019-present For 2019, the Toyota Corolla line brought a new sedan with a lower, leaner, tauter look. Bigger news: The hatch was back! A sporty hatchback returned to the line after a long absence. And still bigger news: The first Corolla Hybrid Sedan debuted, becoming the fuel economy champ of the line with an astounding EPA estimated 52 combined MPG. The Corolla Hatchback has a body all its own and channels the spirit of the past Corolla GT-S and XRS performance models, thanks to the 169-horsepower 2.0-liter Dynamic Force engine and rev-matching intelligent six-speed manual transmission. This hot yet highly efficient powerplant is also available in the Corolla sedan. And, while the Corolla Hybrid is the line’s MPG rating leader, the other models are efficiency experts, too, with the 2.0-liter models having an estimated rating of up to 35 combined MPG. The Corolla Sedan and Hatchback offer a Nightshade Special Edition, an XSE sport model and a luxury-flavored XLE grade. The Dynamic Shift CVT available for all models (except the Hybrid) uses a geared first ratio for a better performance feel and efficiency. The limited-availability Corolla Apex took performance to an even higher level with a bold body kit, track-developed suspension with lowering springs, lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels and a sport-tuned exhaust. For 2022, the first-ever Corolla Cross joins the line, a new crossover. All Corolla models are built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform for high levels of agility and safety. And, all Corolla models feature standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 on all grades. … After 50 million cars, the Corolla heads into the future offering stylish, quiet, roomy, and highly efficient models brimming with the latest tech and safety. Std. ICE, Hybrids, and an upcoming H2 FCEV are just the start as the Corolla story has a long way to go before its demise.