25 March 2022 ·

History of Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

If you didn’t own a Corolla at some stage of your life, you certainly knew somebody who did. Since its Australian release in 1966, the Toyota Corolla came to epitomise automotive trust and reliability, along with affordable, easy, and carefree motoring.

By 2021, more than 50 million Corollas had been sold worldwide, and 7 generations of Australians had taken the wheel of Corolla. It’s now 2022, and the Toyota Corolla SX has won the 2022 Drive Car of the Year - Best First Car. Over the years, the Corolla delivered the first taste of independent mobility for countless new motorists. Clearly, the Corolla holds widespread attraction. But why has it become the first-choice vehicle for so many?

Let’s find out.

12 Generations of Corolla

First Generation Toyota Corolla

Generation one spanned four years to 1970. It was a 44kW, 60 horsepower 1.1-litre rear wheel drive with a four-speed manual. Simplicity in a diminutive package was very much the intent. The market appreciated this, and the new Corolla immediately gained favour as a reliable family car.

Generation 2 was 1970 to 1974. In contrast to the lower power and conservative look of the standard gen 2, Toyota released a Corolla sports model. Holding fantastic lines, the Corolla Levin had a 113 hp and 142 Nm engine that powered 855 kg of vehicle. This genuine sports performance would see the Corolla win prestigious motorsport titles, and continue to inform the future Toyota sport.

Generation 3 spanned 1975 to 1981. A 5-speed manual and 3 speed Auto arrived on the options list with 5 variants available in Australia from the outset.

The Corolla continued with exceptional sales around the globe, thanks to greatly improved safety, ergonomics, and cabin comfort. Outwardly, the Corolla was still looking to make its mark in terms of styling. Sharper lines offered greater distinction – and the Corolla now had an identity that stood out.

By generation 4 (1979-1983), comfort and handling had improved with the inclusion of coil springs in the rear. The 1.6 litre engine was quieter, smoother, delivering a more refined drive. Aesthetically, exterior lines were sharper, but the vehicle looked more uniform and contemporary. 

Corolla 1985

Generation 5 (1984-1987) saw the arrival of the front wheel drive variant. Front wheel drive was becoming increasingly popular with manufacturers and the market, and Toyota was well placed to respond with the Corolla. Adding a front wheel drive variant to the line-up might arguably be the most notable moment of this generation.

However, gen 5 also saw the release of the rear-wheel-drive sports GT-S Lift back and coupe. The excitement of the fast-looking GT-S, with its 124 horsepower 16 valve engine, drew focus and inspired drivers.

Reshaped and Winning Bathurst

Reshaped and Winning Bathurst

Generation 6 (1989 to 1994) saw a more contemporary, up-to-date style, with tidy lines. An all-wheel-drive variant became available, with the GTi hatch proving popular for its sports performance.

This period witnessed Corolla win 8 consecutive class titles at Bathurst. This cemented the Corolla as more than an understated and economical people mover, showing versatility and capability of refined (or raw) aggression.

From 1991 to 2007, generations 7 through 9 witnessed greater power and economy, as alloy engines cut weight, the necessity of fuel efficiency and emissions reductions encouraged engine refinement. Gradually, safety features such as airbags, and anti-lock brakes became standard, as did accessories such as front power windows. Come end 1997 the Corolla had become the best-selling nameplate in automotive history. Despite the ongoing popularity, gen 9 still received two significant makeovers. Thus, showing its sporting prowess, Corolla won the Australian Rally Championship for 4 consecutive years starting in 2006.

Generations 10 through 12 cover 2007 to the present. In 2015, 3,670 Corollas were sold daily (on average), proving the ever-popular vehicle was a favourite for motorists around the world. Sporty new lines would appeal to a younger market, and arguably marked the time when young first-time drivers would select Corolla for its look as much as its steadfast reliability and economy.

Reshaped and Winning Bathurst 3

From 2012, comfort and multimedia technology pulled focus, but advanced safety such as multiple airbags and stability control was becoming standard. By 2018, the arrival of Toyota Safety Sense highlighted Toyota's push to increase safety technologies. Concurrently, driver-centered technologies offering advanced driver assistance, launching the Corolla into a new age of motoring driven by future technologies.

Come 2020, Corolla received its first hybrid drivetrain, giving carbon-conscious Corolla fans no reason to change vehicles.

There’s a new Corolla on the Horizon

There’s a new Corolla on the Horizon

The new Corolla Cross an affordable compact SUV, is set to hit Australian markets in the second half of 2022.

It will be available in a petrol and hybrid variant, and will join the Yaris Cross and C-HR, appealing to those wanting Corolla comfort and endurance in a nimble and spirited SUV. While looking fantastic with sporty lines and a high clearance SUV presence, Corolla fans can expect a cabin full of Toyotas flagship tech. Customers can expect adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist for safety, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto for comfort and connectivity. Now is also a great time to register your interest in the exciting new Corolla Cross.

Turn On The Fun

Turn On The Fun

Be it a Corolla ZR Hatchback, Corolla Hybrid, Ascent Sport, or SX, there’s a Corolla for everybody.

Whichever Corolla you choose, there’s no doubt it will become your favourite Corolla. At Terry Shields Toyota, you can get a Corolla ZR Hatch Hybrid for $36,498 drive away*, or a petrol Corolla SX Hatch Automatic CVT for $32,481 driveaway*. For those looking for sporty appeal and the thrill of the drive, the Accent sport is $28,979 driveaway.

The best Corolla of all time is the Corolla you’re about to purchase. Call the team at Terry Shields on 1300 584 179 and unlock special deals on the Corolla.