There are some cars that have been on roads from the past 20 years or so. They have a legacy to showcase. But then there are cars like Toyota Corolla which have been driving the world in class since 1966. Yes, that means the car has been on roads from the past 54 years. Now that’s a saga to recite. Let’s take a look at the journey this executive sedan has covered and still seems to keep up with the pace.

1966: The year it all started | Toyota Corolla KE10(1966-1968)

Toyota Corolla KE10: The First Gen
Toyota Corolla KE10: The First Gen

Companies like Datsun and Subaru were successfully running their 1.0-litre engines powered cars in Japan. Toyota had to do something. And the answer was Corolla. It was powered by a 1.1-litre engine which although attracted higher road tax but gave the sedan an upper hand over the rivals. The engine was mated to a 4-speed fully synchronized manual transmission.

It was launched in Japan through the exclusive Toyota Corolla Store channel. The first generation of Corolla was sent to the US shores in 1968. Before that, it was only sold in Japan. Starting price for the sedan in the US at that time was $1,700 or ₹1,29,000 approx. The US Corolla got two engine options: 60hp 1.1-litre and 65hp 1.2-litre.

1970: Toyota Corolla KE20 | Increased Power & Extra Comfort 

Toyota Corolla KE20
Toyota Corolla KE20

The second generation was already been developed from the year 1967 as the first-gen had already taken the market by storm. This model came into existence in 1970. It was bigger in size and was equipped with a more powerful engine. This made Corolla more comfortable and improved the driving experience. The powertrain duties were being performed by a 1.2-litre OHV engine which could churn out 73hp of power. And this the engine was mated to an automatic transmission as well.

During the 4 year span of this generation, there were two major updates. The first one came in the year 1971 when the sedan was given another heart to run on, a 1.6-litre engine which produced 102hp of power. The second upgrade came in the form of a new grille which was given to the car in the year 1972. The SR5 model of Corolla also came into existence during this period which was equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

1974: A Body Style For Everyone

Toyota Corolla 3rd Gen
Toyota Corolla 3rd Gen

Toyota Corolla KE30 came into being in 1974. With this gen came a body style for everybody. There were a total of 5 different body types: 4-door sedan, 2-door sedan, 2-door van, 4-door station wagon and a 3-door liftback. The two-door sedan was powered by a 1.2-litre engine while the other models had a 1.6-litre engine making them move. There were three transmission options: a 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual and 3-speed automatic. Corolla was getting revamped time-by-time during this generation.

1979: Toyota Corolla KE70 | It’s Only Getting Better

Toyota Corolla KE70
Toyota Corolla KE70

Till this generation, Corolla had leaf springs performing the suspension duties at the rear. This all changed when the 4th gen was introduced. It was given coil springs at the rear for better comfort. In addition, a 1.8-litre OHV engine was also introduced which could produce 75hp of power. The rear-wheel driven Corolla had either a 3-speed automatic transmission option or 4 or 5-speed manual option.

In 1982, another major upgrade came in when the 3-speed automatic unit was upgraded to a 4-speed one. Toyota Corolla was also given a 1.6-litre overhead cam engine in 1983.

1983: Corolla AE80

Corolla AE80
Corolla AE80

This is the generation when the company decided to power the front wheels instead of the rear wheels with a transversely mounted 1.6-litre engine. This unit was mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission.

The design aspects were also changed. The contemporary sharp-edged bonnet was replaced by a slopping one. The looks now were minimalistic ones.

In the year 1984, the SR5 model of Corolla got a SOHC 1.6-litre engine which made 90hp of power. The company also launched the famous Corolla GT-S which was equipped with a 1.6-litre DOHC engine which produced 112hp of power. All the models except SR5 Coupe and the liftback were now front-driven.

1987: AE90 | Front-wheel drive from now onwards

Corolla AE90
Corolla AE90

When the sixth-generation arrived, every model in the line up was front-wheel driven. The wagon model got all-wheel all-trac technology which was then made available with the sedan version in 1989. There was an increase in overall length by 1-inch although the wheelbase remained the same.

By the year 1990, all the Corolla models were equipped with engines that had fuel injection. The base engine with FI could produce 102hp of power. The GT-S now was more powerful with the engine producing 130hp of power. In the year 1991, the coupe variant of the Corolla was discontinued.

1991: AE100 | Giving out the cues

Toyota Corolla AE100
Toyota Corolla AE100

This is the generation when Corolla started becoming the way we know. It was no more a sub-compact sedan. The stance was bigger, the engines were better and the design was now a more on a softer side with few edgy looks now. Only the sedan and the wagon versions were left in the body style options. The shape was now an aerodynamic one.

1995: AE110, Nothing Changes Except One Thing

Corolla AE110
Corolla AE110

The Corolla was now being offered in sedan version only. All the rest was now past. The sedan was powered by the 1.8-litre unit paired with either a 3/4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The engine could produce 120hp of power. But when will it come to India?

2000: The Ninth Generation Of the Class

Corolla 9th Gen
Corolla 9th Gen

The sales were skyrocketing. There was demand all over the globe. And the ninth gen has arrived. It was powered by the same 1.8-litre engine mated to a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic but was now more powerful as the power output was now 130hp. 2003 was the year when the first-ever Corolla came to India. It brought with it, reliability, comfort and luxury, which raised the standards of luxury in the sedan segment. By 2004, Toyota Corolla became the largest selling executive sedan in India.

In 2005, the Corolla got a facelift. A sleeker front bumper, redesigned fog lamps, new LED taillights, 10-inch spoke allow wheels, honeycomb new grille design and auto climate control as standard across the variants were some of the major upgrades in the facelift.

2008: Toyota Corolla Altis is here

Toyota Corolla Altis
Toyota Corolla Altis

Corolla was reborn. It was now Corolla Altis. New taillamps, headlights, a redesigned bumper and what not. The car was aerodynamic than ever. In the interiors also, the luxury was redefined. It had 8-way power driver’s seat, premium upholstery and steering wheel with audio controls. It had two engine options: 1.8-litre VVT-i engine with 132hp of power output and a 1.4-litre diesel engine with a power output of 87hp. The diesel engine was launched in 2010 aiming better fuel efficiency.

Then in the year 2011, Altis got upgraded as the 1.8-litre VVT-i engine was now producing 138hp of power. Transmissions were changed. New transmission called the super CVT-i with 7-speed sequential shiftmatic and the 5-speed manual gearbox was updated with a 6-speed one. Feature-wise the Altis had blacked-out LED tail lamps, redesigned rear bumper, angular front headlamps.

In 2014, globally known 11th generation of Corolla was launched as the 3rd generation Corolla Altis in India. The design was changed, the car was lengthier and the features were endless.

Toyota Corolla Altis 2020 | Gone?

Toyota Corolla Altis 2020
Toyota Corolla Altis 2020

It has been discontinued for now due to the upcoming BS6 emission norms in India. But globally, 2020 facelift has been introduced in the Corolla lineup which can be expected to make a comeback in the Indian market by the end of 2021.

Talking about the global 2020 facelift, the car comes equipped with 7 airbags (front, curtain, side head, side body and knee airbags), electronic stability control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), seat belt pre-tensioners in front and ISOFIX anchorages (for child seat) as standard features. The 2020 Toyota Corolla was subjected to three different tests- a front offset crash test at 64kph, a side-impact crash and a side-pole impact crash. The NCAP report stated that 12th Gen Corolla’s bodyshell was “stable” during the crash test and “capable of withstanding further loadings”.

The  Corolla is offered with two powertrain options- a 177hp, 2.0-Ltr petrol and 1.8-Ltr petrol. Two electric motors will assist the engines due to which it will surely have a better fuel economy and fewer emissions.

The Toyota Corolla has come a long way in terms of design, performance, comfort and technology. It should make a comeback in India because the consumers here love the car. Will it be back? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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