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New Toyota Corolla makes a style statement (pictures)

The new Corolla shows some sharp styling and an innovative dashboard design, but a trade of fuel economy for performance means this is no driver's car.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The Toyota Corolla has a long history in the US market. It is a bread-and-butter compact economy sedan for Toyota, but a five-year product cycle means updates come only twice a decade. This latest version brings some much-needed modernization to the old stalwart, with an emphasis on fuel economy.
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The updated styling of the new Corolla echoes that shown on the Furia concept Toyota unveiled at the Detroit auto show.
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The Corolla is only made in sedan format. Its suspension fits the economy car segment, using a torsion bar across the rear wheels.
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The side windows look more angular than in previous generations.
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The moonroof comes as part of a Convenience package, which also brings in the navigation system.
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The LE Eco trim Corolla uses a different engine than the standard models, getting slightly better fuel economy. Likewise, the Eco model uses panels on the underbody to increase aerodynamic performance.
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Rather than a curved dashboard, the Corolla presents the driver with a vertical plane, a styling cue reminiscent of cars from the 1960s.
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Rear seat space is accentuated by a nearly flat floor, with little intrusion from the transmission tunnel.
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Nice notes in the interior styling include a blue accent stripe at the beltline and white stitching in the fake leather.
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Although the Corolla has electric power steering, Toyota has done an excellent job of tuning it for a natural feel.
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The optional navigation system has a configurable home screen capable of showing navigation, phone, and audio.
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Anyone familiar with recent Toyota navigation systems will recognize this destination entry menu screen.
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Audio sources are shown as big menu blocks, easy to choose while driving.
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Toyota's Entune system gives the Corolla useful connected features, such as Yelp, OpenTable, and Bing local search.
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Other apps included in the head unit show sports scores, stock information, and fuel prices, that last being the most useful for drivers.

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