Everyone likes to make jokes about the ubiquity of the Toyota Corolla, and it’s for good reason. The cars are everywhere, partly due to their popularity and partly due to their longevity and because Toyota has been cranking them out like hotcakes for decades. In fact, according to an announcement by Toyota on Thursday, it’s managed to sell an impressive 50 million Corollas over the last 55 years of production.
The Toyota Corolla was initially introduced in 1966, but we didn’t get it in the US until a few years later, in the 1969 model year. That car had a starting price of $1,700, which is the equivalent of $13,336 today. For comparison, the 2022 Corolla starts at $21,100, including Toyota’s $1,025 destination fee. Of course, today’s Corolla offers a whole lot more for your money than the first one did.
There have been a ton of notable Corollas, but the one that probably stands out the most in automotive enthusiasts’ minds is the legendary AE86 Corolla of the 1980s. Arguably the sportiest Corolla ever, this compact hatchback or coupe was powered by Toyota’s beloved 4A-GE four-cylinder engine, which was co-developed with Yamaha and even used in the Formula Atlantic racing series. The AE86 Corolla has proved an enduring import icon thanks to its popularity with the drifting community.
The Corolla is now in its 12th generation, and it’s still a car that we here at Roadshow love and that offers its buyers a lot of car for what is ultimately not a lot of money in 2021 terms. We’ve made the argument that theis the ideal 21st-century people’s car. It’s been ruthlessly engineered to get people from Point A to Point B as efficiently, safely and affordably as possible, and it’s extremely good at its job.
We’re very much looking forward to seeing where another 55 years and 50 million examples take the Corolla and where those Corollas take us.