You might not realize it, but the Corolla is a namesake that has stretched longer than most cars on the market.
Not even the Europeans have a model that stretches as far back as this mid-sized Toyota has, both in terms of generations and in terms of actual years.
From as early as the 1970s, the Corolla was known as a proper entry to the Toyota brand in Malaysia. From the KE10 to the KE70, these models proved to be so hardy that they cemented the association between Toyota and a worry-free ownership experience – one that carries even until today.
It had near unrivalled popularity among buyers, and you will still see some examples on the road to this day. The following decade saw a great leap forward in terms of packaging as the Corolla went front-wheel drive, which in turn improved legroom throughout the car in addition to better fuel efficiency and reduced complexity.
At the time, the national car project was well into the swing of things and so the Corolla had some difficult competition to deal with – but nonetheless many Malaysians can remember having grown up in a Corolla AE82.
Coming into the 1990s, the Corolla once again went through a fairly major transformation. Gone was the boxy styling, replaced by aerodynamically friendly smooth curves and flowy lines.
The Corolla maintained its traditional three-box sedan shape – form following function – and again managed to command a base of satisfied customers that had grown to trust the Corolla name.
By this point, the Corolla had gone through seven generational changes, and the world had become vastly different from what it was in the 1970s – as had the Corolla, now being far larger than its humble beginnings.
Numerous global recessions coupled with our own weakening currency meant that the Corolla could no longer be the entry-level model for the brand.
Handing that torch over to the Toyota Vios, the Corolla was free to evolve as a mid-sized C-segment sedan and adopt many luxuries that were previously avoided in favour of keeping the model at an approachable entry-level price point.
By the time the tenth generation rolled around in the late 2000s, buyers would expect either a 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre engine with a Continuously Variable Transmission and a spacious interior.
For some buyers, the Corolla has been a car that they’ve returned to generation after generation. For others, the Corolla has become a stepping stone in their car ownership history as they move on to larger models.
But no matter what the Corolla is to you, as an owner you expect nothing less than reliability and solid resale value. After all, 44.1 million owners can’t be wrong – as that’s the number of Corollas that have been sold globally since the first generation in 1966.
This year sees the introduction of the all-new twelfth generation Corolla to our Malaysian market, and with it comes a pretty substantial leap over the outgoing model.