THE PEOPLE'S CAR: How half a century has seen the world's best-selling car - the Toyota Corolla - evolve over its eleven generations from 1966 to 2016
THE PEOPLE'S CAR: How half a century has seen the world's best-selling car - the Toyota Corolla - evolve over its eleven generations from 1966 to 2016

Toyota Corolla: the eleven generations in pictures 1966-2016

AUSTRALIA'S Toyota Corolla love affair has endured the best part of 50 years, and the fire burns brighter than ever today.  

Across 11 Corolla generations we've bought 1.35 million of these small passenger favourites; the model topping our national best-seller's list the past three years.   

Who could have dared dream of such success when just 15 cars left Japan bound for Australia in November 1966?   

We celebrate Corolla's golden anniversary with a look back through the model's evolution over the past half century.

1st Generation (1967)

First generation 1967 Toyota Corolla. Photo: Contributed
First generation 1967 Toyota Corolla. Photo: Contributed

Arrived in Australia as a two-door sedan and was a mere 3.85m long. New tech included MacPherson strut suspension and a four-speed transmission, and used a 44kW 1.1-litre or (from 1969) a 48kW 1.2-litre four-cylinder with power going through the rear wheels. Toyota began assembling Corolla at Port Melbourne in 1968.  

2nd Generation (1970)

1970 Toyota Corolla KE20.Photo: Contributed
1970 Toyota Corolla KE20.Photo: Contributed

A hit with young people, Corolla became the second-best selling car in the world. It passed the 1 million sales mark with this 2nd gen offering, bringing a more curvaceous exterior style, longer wheelbase and improved suspension.

3rd Generation (1975)   

1975 Toyota Corolla KE30.Photo: Contributed
1975 Toyota Corolla KE30.Photo: Contributed

Gained popularity during the global oil crisis thanks to its fuel efficiency and development of a catalytic converter. Wind tunnel-aided exterior design and a focus on interior quality boosted its appeal, with annual Australian sales topping 20,000 for the first time in 1975. Available as a two-door, four-door, wagon and van. The 1.2-litre engine was replaced by a 1.3-litre in 1978, and a five-speed manual was offered.  

4th Generation (1981)

1983 Toyota Corolla KE70.Photo: Contributed
1983 Toyota Corolla KE70.Photo: Contributed

Now over 4m long, the body design evolved into a wedge shape and this was the last Corolla to have rear-wheel drive across the range. This generation finally scored coil spring rear suspension (except the wagon). Global production reached 10 million vehicles in March 1983. Australia gained the Toyota T-18 liftback version in October 1979 with a 1.8-litre engine and five-speed gearbox.  

5th Generation (1985)

1985 Toyota Corolla AE80 Twin Cam.Photo: Contributed
1985 Toyota Corolla AE80 Twin Cam.Photo: Contributed

Transformed into a front-wheel drive car and engineered with the aid of computers. The first mass-produced small car to feature twin-cam multi-valve technology. Our market was offered a four-door sedan, five-door hatch and five-door liftback called Seca. The Japanese were offered the AE86 rear-drive coupe variants - heroes of the drifting scene -which served as inspiration for the current Toyota 86 sports cars.  

6th Generation (1989)

1989 Toyota Corolla AE90 Seca.Photo: Contributed
1989 Toyota Corolla AE90 Seca.Photo: Contributed

The boxy styling gone, this gen offered sporty twin-cam 1.6-litre and later 1.8-litre engines for our market in models like the GTi and SX, and it was this Corolla which proved vital in making Toyota market leader in Australia for the first time in 1991. Was also marketed as the Holden Nova thanks to a brand alliance.  

7th Generation (1994)

1994 Toyota Corolla AE100 Seca CSX.Photo: Contributed
1994 Toyota Corolla AE100 Seca CSX.Photo: Contributed

Chunkier design aimed at making this model a "mini Lexus". First Corolla built at new Altona plant in Melbourne, and was launched in 13 different models. Anti-skid brakes and driver's airbag optional for the first time. Only 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre engines offered, and it was after this model - from 1998 - that Toyota Australia returned to Japanese imports.  

8th Generation (1998)

1999 Toyota Corolla AE110 Ultima Seca. Photo: Contributed
1999 Toyota Corolla AE110 Ultima Seca. Photo: Contributed

Recession-era car meant development costs were slashed. We got the sedan and Seca liftback with only 1.8-litre engine, until a hot Sportivo turbocharged model landed in 2001. First Corolla offered in Australia with a front passenger airbag.  

9th Generation (2001)

2005 Toyota Corolla ZZE120 Levin.Photo: Contributed
2005 Toyota Corolla ZZE120 Levin.Photo: Contributed

Edgier styling, longer wheelbase and new tech, including variable valve timing and side airbags. Available as a hatchback Seca, sedan and wagon, all using a 100kW (later 93kW to meet emission requirements) 1.8-litre, but a South African-sourced 141kW Sportivo was also offered from 2003.  

10th Generation (2007)

2007 Toyota Corolla Levin ZR hatch and Ascent sedan.Photo: Contributed
2007 Toyota Corolla Levin ZR hatch and Ascent sedan.Photo: Contributed

Introduced a new 100kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder and six-speed manual, available as sedan and hatch (the wagon is no more) and with more safety and luxury. In 2007, Toyota sold its millionth Corolla in Australia.  

11th Generation (2012)

2016 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.Photo: Contributed
2016 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.Photo: Contributed

Current hatch launched in 2012 and sedan in 2014 with aero and engine improvements, weight saving and higher levels of tech and safety. In 2016 a hybrid Corolla joined the lineup.    



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