Toyota is previewing a litter of its models dressed to the nines in TRD garb at the SEMA Auto Show. One of these models is the Toyota Corolla, and for the purpose of this particular exercise, the TRD Corolla provides a fresh take on the world’s best-selling car nameplate. As if that’s reason enough for Corolla owners to jump for joy, there’s also an all-too real possibility that this custom Corolla could find its way on the road in the not-too distant future.
There is a caveat, of course, and Toyota isn’t prepared to make any bold promises just yet. But, it’s no secret that as popular as the Corolla is and will continue to be, it’s the type of car that could have a little more edge to it. This TRD kit accomplishes that in some respects, although not the extent that most people would expect. As the equivalent of a preview model though, it’s presented well enough for customers to at least give it a second look.
Take a gander at the Toyota TRD Corolla and see for yourself if this kitted-up Corolla has a future in the real world. Toyota has said that it’s going to have its ears on the ground in Las Vegas to collect reactions from the public and the media. If those comments come through as positive, then we might be one step closer to finally seeing a TRD kit for the Corolla. Better late than never.
The exterior changes on the TRD Corolla are pretty evident just by how the car looks different from the standard model. The front section benefits from having a custom chin spoiler that’s been added to give the Corolla an extra punch of downforce in the front. Aero-inspired side skirts appear to have been thrown into the mix too, same as the fins on the rear diffuser that sits beside a TRD custom free-flow cat-back single exhaust system. These updates are about as subtle as it gets, but they do serve important functions.
What isn’t subtle is the set of new wheels that TRD fitted into the Corolla. From the standard set that didn’t do much for our imaginations, the TRD Corolla now has a set of bronzed out 19-inch TRD performance wheels fitted into 255-series tires. The bronze paint finish of the wheels strikes a perfect visual balance with the car’s Silver Pearl paint finish.
There’s not a whole lot going on in the cabin of the TRD Corolla, at least if you don’t count the embroidered TRD logos on the black leather seats. Other than that, expect to see the same cabin as that of the Corolla LE Eco. That’s not exactly going to do much to drum up any excitement for the model, but I’m guessing that the TRD Corolla will have more selling points than what’s being presented now at the SEMA Auto Show.
To its credit, Toyota did make a few adjustments to the TRD Corolla’s engine setup. For starters, the standard CVT automatic gearbox has been thrown out and replaced with a six-speed manual. Then, there’s the aforementioned new free-flow cat-back exhaust system that should help the car’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine exhale more freely. There’s no mention of any performance improvements so for now, expect to see the same 140-horsepower and 126-pound-feet of torque from the four-banger.
TRD lowering springs provide the suspension improvements to round out the exterior changes on the TRD Corolla, as the car now rides an inch closer to the ground in the front and 1.5 inches in the back.
I’ve always been a fan of the Corolla’s longevity. It’s that kind of staying power that has made the model the best-selling automotive nameplate in history. But as long as the Corolla has been around, the word “exciting” isn’t the first thing people think of when it comes to the model. Functional, maybe, but not exciting. That’s a big reason why I fully support Toyota’s proposal to give the Corolla some TRD lovin’.
The concept that’s being shown at SEMA is a nice preview of what we can all expect, but I personally am expecting a lot more out of it if TRD’s really going to be involved. A more dynamic aero kit would be a good start. That or TRD can develop a number of performance modifications to at least give the Corolla a few more horses to work with.
Whatever it is, I want Toyota to see through with this whole exercise, through. I love the Corolla and admit to having owned a version or two in the past. But, it’s time the so-called “best selling car in history” receives some aftermarket attention, even if it comes from Toyota’s in-house performance division.
- Aero upgrades give the Corolla a more aggressive appearance
- Improved suspension
- Performance exhaust system could do wonders in bringing that engine some life
- Still lacking in excitement
- Toyota hasn’t given the go-signal on production plans
- Hard to expect a lot if you’re going to be disappointed in the end
The five Toyota Racing Development (TRD) vehicles on display at Toyota’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show booth are designed to inspire the imagination of industry professionals and consumers alike. Toyota is looking for actual feedback on these sporty machines.
The five SEMA Edition TRD vehicles—representing a cross-section of five of Toyota’s most popular sedans, SUVs and crossovers—have been modified for sportier good looks and more responsive handling. The quintet is comprised of a SEMA Edition TRD Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander and Land Cruiser.
“We think our SEMA Edition TRD vehicles will surprise many,” said Steve Appelbaum, National Engagement Marketing Manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “These concepts are hot—dare we say sexy—vehicles that are equal parts show and go.”
All of the SEMA Edition TRD concepts feature special edition Silver Pearl paint on the exterior and custom TRD embroidery inside. In addition, all but the Land Cruiser sport a front chin spoiler, aero-inspired rocker panels and rear-end diffuser treatment.
Just as each model plays a different role in the Toyota lineup, each of the SEMA Edition TRD vehicles boasts unique modifications designed to enhance its sporty looks and driving dynamics.
SEMA Edition TRD Corolla
America’s best-selling compact car—and, in fact, the best-selling automotive nameplate in history—the Toyota Corolla is justifiably popular for its sporty styling, outstanding fuel economy and “class above” interior room.
The 2016 Corolla LE Eco is the MPG champ of the line, but it’s also a strong performer with the highest-powered engine of any Corolla, delivering eight more horsepower than the other models. That made it the ideal candidate for a SEMA Edition TRD makeover.
The production Corolla LE Eco puts that power to the pavement through a continuously variable transmission. In the SEMA Edition TRD Corolla, the CVT is replaced by a TRD six-speed manual, for a sportier driving experience. Performance is further enhanced by a TRD custom free-flow cat-back single exhaust system.
Adding to the driving fun are 255/30/19 tires and bronze 19×9-inch TRD performance wheels. The SEMA Edition TRD Corolla hugs the road with a ride height that’s 1 inch lower in front and 1.5 inches lower in the rear than the production Corolla.