Toyota has just launched the 2009 Corolla, the 10th generation of what has become the all-time bestselling car in the world. More than 7 million have been sold in the U.S., and total worldwide sales have surpassed 30 million.
If any sociological explanation is needed, just click onto www.makeicecream.com. This website states that vanilla is still the most popular flavor, with 29% of the vote. The second-place choice, chocolate, had just 8.9%. Comparing cars with ice cream seems unfair, but if ever the epithet "vanilla" could be applied to a car, it's the Corolla.
Although that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as millions of drivers (and ice cream consumers) would attest. The Corolla came out in Japan in 1966 -- an auspicious time, as the Beach Boys released "Pet Sounds," the Beatles released "Revolver," while Mr. and Mrs. Crawford released Cindy.
The subcompact sedan was introduced to America two years later. Not such a banner year, with the Vietnam War in full swing, student riots in Paris and the birth of Vanilla (there's that word again) Ice -- still, the Beatles released the "White Album."
In those days, the Corolla's power came from a modest 1.1-liter engine. Through the decades and many iterations, it has gone from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive -- gaining more muscle, more safety equipment, increasing sophistication and even the occasional sporty treatment. Overall, though, the Corolla has defined the "car as appliance" approach, a people's car that didn't come from Volkswagen.
Flick through the photo gallery for a double scoop of Corolla goodness, Generations 1 through 10, topped with some sprinkles of nostalgia.
The unstoppable Toyota Corolla
2009 Corolla S (Toyota)