The Toyota Corolla, a line of subcompact and compact cars produced since 1966, has been one of the best selling cars worldwide to this day. It surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle in 1997, becoming the bestselling nameplate in the world. The Corolla has sold millions worldwide and continues to sell each year. During its early years, it was offered as both a rear-wheel and front-wheel drive. But down the line, the rear-wheel-drive versions were discontinued. You now get one as a front-wheel or four-wheel drive.
There have been some rebadged versions of the Corolla sold in Australia. The first was GM’s Holden Nova. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Nova, Chevrolet Prizm and Geo Prizm were rebadged versions of the Sprinter, which is a Corolla variant also sold in Australia.
First Generation (1966)
The first generation, designated as E10, was launched in 1966, as 2/3-door sedans, 2-door coupes, and 3-door vans or wagons. It had an FR layout. In Australia, it arrived initially as a coupe in base trim with a 1.1L K pushrod engine mated to a four-speed manual gearbox or three-speed automatic transmission. The following year, an SL trim became available in addition to the base. The Corolla Sprinter was added a year later as the fastback version of the Corolla.
Second Generation (1970)
The second generation (E20) was released as a restyled E10 in 1970. It had a more rounded body. The Sprinter dropped the "Corolla" nameplate in favour of Trueno. The differences between the two cars were mainly cosmetic.
In Australia, the Toyota coupe retained the Corolla name and was available in base, SE, and SL trims. It was fitted with front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. A 1.2L 3K I4 engine powered these cars up to 51 kW of power and 88 Nm of torque. The transmission options did not change.
Third Generation (1974)
The 1974 Corolla and Sprinter were made much broader and heavier, with a new trim CS replacing the SL trim. The Corolla was designated E30 with the Sprinter coded as E40. In 1976, the Corolla became E50 and the Sprinter E60. In Australia, it was available as a 2-door sedan, 2-door panel van, 4-door wagon, and 4-door sedan. All models came with the same 1.2L 3K engine in the previous generation, which powered the wheels through a 4-speed manual gearbox or 3-speed automatic transmission. Base models of all four body styles were available, plus an SE trim level for the coupe and sedan.
Fourth Generation (1979)
The fourth-generation E70 received major restyling and trim changes, with new trim levels introduced. The coupe lineup gained CS and XX trims, while the sedans also had the CS. The Corolla's grille, headlight and taillight were a lot simpler than the Sprinter’s. They were the last models to use the T and K “hicam" series engines. The engine for this generation was a 1,290-cc 4K four-cylinder engine rated 49 kW but with an increased torque of 100 N.m. The range gained a five-speed manual gearbox in addition to the three-speed automatic and four-speed manual gearbox.
Fifth Generation (1983)
The fifth-generation E80 introduced in 1983, featured a slight restyling. In 1985, E80 Sprinters were rebadged as the fifth generation Chevrolet Nova and sold in the US. It was also the time when Toyota introduced fuel injection as an option. They were now front-wheel drive. The Sprinter, apart from minor body changes and pop-up headlights, was nearly identical to the Corolla. In Australia, the Corolla was only available as hatchbacks and sedans during this period. A 1.6L 4A 4-cylinder engine (57 kW, 125 N.m) powered the model range, which now included new trims, namely CS-X Seca, CS Seca, CS-X, CS, S, Twin Cam, and Twin Cam Seca.
Sixth Generation (1987)
The E90 received a more aerodynamic styling. It was now more refined, and most models were front-wheel drive with a few all-wheel-drive options. In Australia, it was sold as the E90 Corolla and rebadged as Holden Nova. The body styles for this generation included sedan, hatch, and wagon, which were now powered by a 1.6L 4A-FE (76 kW, 140 Nm) coupled to a 3-speed automatic transmission and 5-speed manual gearbox. The trim levels were similar to the fifth generation, but now include 4x4 trims for the higher-spec wagons.
Seventh Generation (1991)
In 1991, Toyota introduced the E100, which was styled to a more rounded aerodynamic shape. It was an upsized and ultimately heavier version of its predecessors, growing from a subcompact to a compact car. The body styles of the Corolla in the country at the time were the same as in the sixth generation. A 1.8L 7A-FE 4-cylinder engine (85 kW, 155 N.m) joined the previous 1.6L 4A-FE engine. The trims for this generation were RV Seca, CSi Seca, CSi Ltd Seca, CSi Ltd SE, Ultima, Ultima Seca, CSi 4x4, and XL 4x4.
Eighth Generation (1995)
The E110, which made its debut in May 1995, received some slight alterations but still retained the same look as the E100. Its engine was fitted with an aluminium engine block and aluminium cylinder head, making it the first Toyota with these features. The modification ultimately made it lighter than the E100. Toyota then adopted different styling designs of the same vehicle to suit the diverse market. The powertrains were carried over from the seventh generation.
This generation retained the same engines (1.6L and 1.8L) with slightly improved power output. Only sedan and hatchbacks were now offered in Australia, but the grade levels were now more equipped. For instance, the base model hatch, Advantage Seca, now featured air conditioning, central locking, power mirrors, power steering, a radio cassette with four speakers, and a rear spoiler.
Ninth Generation (2000)
Toyota carried over the approach of adopting differently-styled models in different markets to the ninth generation. The E120 Corolla was offered in Australia with the Levin Seca and Conquest Seca trim models. It had an edgy styling and incorporated more technology. Its standard equipment included an adjustable steering wheel, engine immobiliser, air conditioning, power mirrors and anti-theft system, among many features. A 1.8L 1ZZ-FE I4 engine (100 kW, 171 Nm) was offered for almost all models, except the Sportivo hatch, which came with a 1.8L 2ZZ-GE I4 engine (115 kW, 237 Nm). The range now again included the wagons.
Tenth Generation (2006)
The tenth-generation Corolla, the E140 and E150, was introduced in October 2006 in Japan. For the international market, including Australia, the broader version of the E10 was sold but with different styling. This generation now used a new 1.8L 2ZR-FE dual VVT-I I4 petrol engine (100 kW, 175 N.m), which was more economical and compliant to emission regulations. Five grade levels were offered for the hatch, four for the sedan, and three for the wagons.
Eleventh Generation (2013)
Though the eleventh-generation Corolla had been introduced in 2012 in Japan (E160), it only became available in the international market in 2013. The E170/E180 grew in size, with several visible differences with the Japanese E160. It had a unique body and interior. The engine that powered these hatches and sedans was a 1.8L 4-cylinder 2ZR-FAE petrol engine (103 kW, 173 Nm) mated to a CVT automatic or 6-speed manual gearbox. The hatchback for this generation was a rebadged Toyota Auris and was offered in five trims, while the sedan had six trim choices. The wagon, on the other hand, was discontinued for good in Australia.
Twelfth Generation (2018)
The twelfth generation, designated as E210/EA10/EH10, was produced as hatchbacks, station wagons and sedans. The hatchback (Corolla Sport) was unveiled in Japan in March 2018. The station wagon (Corolla Touring Sport) and the saloon were released later that year. There were also Hybrids of the SX and ZR trims distinguishable by their body-coloured exterior mirrors, auto climate control with dual temperature zones, autonomous emergency braking, 18-inch alloy wheels and lane departure warning, among other things.
In the country, the Corolla hatchback was launched in 2018, with the sedan following a year later. They were fitted with the same 1.8L 4-cylinder 2ZR-FAE engine (103 kW, 173 Nm) and fully equipped with seven SRS airbags, traction control, active cornering assist, hill-start assist control, and vehicle stability control. A 2.0L M20A-FKS I4 petrol engine (125 kW, 200 Nm) and hybrid versions were offered recently, expanding and modernising the Corolla range even more.
If you need parts for your Corolla, we invite you to visit our website at Carpart.com.au. You may search what’s currently selling from our classifieds section, or you may also send us a parts request so that we can assist you in finding the auto part or accessory that you need.
By Jeannette Salanga (JMSL)