First Generation: 1966-1970
Toyota introduced the Corolla in 1966, selling them through a budget-friendly dealership network called Toyota Corolla Store in Japan. To outshine its competitors, the Datsun 1000 and Subaru 1000, Toyota gave the Corolla a larger 1.1-liter engine, which hit the car with a road tax; however, the larger, more powerful engine gave the Corolla a bit of prestige. Other features Corolla offered included a MacPherson strut front suspension and a 4-speed fully-synchronized manual transmission.
While Toyota introduced the Corolla in 1966 in Japan, U.S. exports didn’t begin until 1968. Starting price was under $1,700. During its first generation the, the U.S. Corolla got a 1.1- and 1.2-liter engine producing 60 and 65 horsepower, respectively.
Second Generation: 1970-1974
Development on the second-generation Corolla began in 1967 with the new model debuting in 1970, The second-generation Corolla grew in size to increase comfort and improve the overall driving experience, while also increasing power. An all-new 1.2-liter OHV engine now produced 73 horsepower with an automatic gearbox available for the first time. Throughout the Corolla’s second generation, the car received numerous updates, including a 102-hp, 1.6-liter engine in 1971, and a new grille in 1972. The SR5 model with a five-speed manual transmission debuted during this generation.
Third Generation: 1974-1979
The third-generation Corolla had a body style for just about everybody, offering five different models that ranged from a two-door hardtop to a five-door wagon. A 1.2-liter engine powered the two-door model while the remaining models received the larger 1.6-liter engine. Gearboxes included a standard four-speed manual with an optional three-speed automatic or a five-speed manual. The SR5 model offered a five-speed manual as standard. In 1976, Toyota introduced the three-door “liftback” Corolla while updating the car’s overall styling in 1977 before continuing through 1979 unchanged.
Fourth Generation: 1979-1983
The fourth-generation Corolla saw several improvements over previous models. The car grew again while finally replacing the leaf spring rear suspension first introduced in 1966 with a coil spring design. A 1.8-liter OHV engine produced 75 horsepower while channeling power to the rear wheels through either a three-speed automatic or four- or five-speed manual.
In 1982, Toyota upgraded the three-speed auto to a four-speed unit. The following year, Toyota introduced a 1.6-liter overhead cam engine.
Fifth Generation: 1983-1987
The 1983 Toyota Corolla saw the company take the rear-drive Corolla and make it a front-wheel-drive vehicle, transversely mounting the 1.6-liter engine. Power to the front wheels routed through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
While much of the Corolla lineup gained front-wheel drive, the SR5 coupe and liftback continued to ride on Corolla’s previous-gen, rear-wheel-drive chassis. In 1984, Toyota put a SOHC 1.6-liter engine in the SR5 making 90 hp. Toyota also introduced the famous Corolla GT-S with a 1.6-liter DOHC engine producing 112 hp.
Sixth Generation: 1987-1991
The sixth-generation Corolla saw the rear-drive coupe and liftback replaced with one model – a front-wheel-drive coupe. Toyota offered the wagon with All-Trac all-wheel drive while offering the tech on the sedan for one model year – 1989. The Corolla grew in width by one inch, maintaining the same wheelbase as the previous generation.
Engines, all four-cylinder offerings, varied in technology and output during the sixth generation. Engines offered included a 90-hp carbureted mill, 100-hp fuel-injection engine, and a 115-hp EFI version. However, in 1990, all Corolla models came with fuel injection with the base offering making 102 hp. The Corolla GT-S produced 130 hp. In 1991, Toyota discontinued the coupe.
Seventh Generation: 1991-1995
This was when the Corolla started to become the budget economy car we know today. A sedan and front-wheel-drive wagon were the only body styles available. The Corolla grew again, moving up from a subcompact to compact offering. The 1.6-liter engine carried over, producing 105 hp; however, in some states with stricter emission laws, the engine made 100 hp. A 115-hp, 1.8-liter was available on higher trims.
Eighth Generation: 1995-2000
While the eight-generation Corolla bowed in 1995, the North American market didn't receive the new vehicle until 1997, which was built at the NUMMI plant in California and looks different from what you see above. A sedan was the only body style offered in the U.S., powered by a 120-hp, 1.8-liter engine paired with either a three- or four-speed automatic or five-speed manual.
Ninth Generation: 2000-2007
Toyota introduced the ninth-generation Corolla in 2000; however, it didn’t come to North America until 2002 as a 2003 model. The new Corolla, based on the larger Corolla Altis, carried the same 1.8-liter engine. However, power increased to 130 horsepower. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual was offered. The 2005 model year saw a styling refresh, while a sporty XRS version debuted with 170 hp.
Tenth Generation: 2006-2013
The tenth-generation Corolla debuted in the U.S. as a 2009 model. The 1.8-liter engine got a boost in power to 132 hp while the XRS trim returned with 158 hp from a 2.4-liter mill. A five-speed manual was standard with both engines with a five-speed automatic an available option on the XRS. The standard automatic was a four-speed unit. The tenth-gen Corolla saw a design evolution inside and out.
Eleventh Generation: 2013-Present
The eleventh-generation Corolla saw it take an international design, with the U.S. getting a slightly different version with revised front and rear styling that's pictured here. The 1.8-liter engine carried over again, producing the same 132 horsepower as the previous generation. An Eco trim offered 140 hp. A four-speed automatic and six-speed manual were offered along with Toyota’s new continuously variable transmission.
The twelfth-generation is coming, with Toyota planning to build the vehicle in the U.S.
13 / 13