The Corolla was the constant pushing force for motorization in Japan. In overseas markets, the Corolla had become a hallmark for quality, customer satisfaction and value for money provided by Japan-made products. With this history, in addition to complying with the needs of the ripened market in Japan, satisfying needs in overseas markets had become a theme that could not be set aside. As developments progressed and as the team searched for a "21st century global standard," Yoshida became aware of the Corolla's origin. Each successive Corolla had always been a product that did not betray the needs of the era. This included quality, ease of use and high versatility that allowed the car to be driven anywhere. Providing the customer with this type of reassurance was an incredibly important role of the Corolla as a global family car. Another element that could not be set aside with the Corolla was enabling even more people to experience its quality and gain a high degree of satisfaction.
At the end of June 2006, the total number of Corollas produced exceeded 31.6 million units, giving the Corolla the record for the greatest number of vehicles produced and sold worldwide. Thus, the "DNA" of the Corolla will continue to be inherited in the future as new history is engraved.
The release of the ninth generation Corolla began with two body variations, including the sedan and wagon (Fielder), and with the release, the coupe model (Levin) was discontinued. Later, a 5-door hatchback (RunX) was added to the lineup, and a 3-door hatchback model was also made available for the overseas market. Also, continuing from the previous generation, the minivan type Multi Purpose Vehicle (Spacio, Corolla Verso in Europe) with 3-row seats was added to the ninth generation lineup. In Japan and in the U.S., a light cross country model (Voltz / Matrix) was released as a derivative model, bringing the total number of body type variations to six.
Engine variations were renovated, and all gasoline engines were a part of the "New Generation BEAMS (Breakthrough Engine with Advanced Mechanism System) Engine-series" and adopted the VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) system. Four types of gasoline engines were available, including the 1.3-liter 2NZ-FE, the 1.5-liter 1NZ-FE, the 1.8-liter 1ZZ-FE and the new 2ZZ-GE sports engine. For the diesel engine, the 2.2-liter 3C-E engine was continued from the eighth generation, bringing the total number of engine types to five. In addition, the 1.4-liter 4ZZ-FE and 1.6-liter 3ZZ-FE gasoline engines, and the 1.4-liter 1ND-TV and 2.0-liter 1CD-FTV diesel engines were made available for the overseas markets.
The exterior design of the ninth generation Corolla was based on flowing, perpetual styling that utilized advanced packaging with characteristic features that included a long wheelbase, wide treads and big cabin. The front and rear overhangs were shortened, and the sense of vehicle status was increase — skillfully balancing youthfulness and a refined image. Even with its increased overall height, the new model portrayed a carefree image.
The interior design adopted a simple, lasting design with an emotional, youthful image. A sense of massiveness and elegance were skillfully balanced with a form that expanded freely and created gradual curves in the crosswise direction from the center of the instrument panel, and the stately form that expanded widely in the vertical direction of the center cluster. A bright, top and bottom 2-tone color scheme was adopted to complete an interior trim that was comprehensively coordinated in color and form. As a result, a high quality space comparable to that of a class above was achieved within a compact body size.
All gasoline engines for the ninth generation Corolla were designed newly with the generous use of advanced technology, such as VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system)*, and both higher output and better fuel economy were achieved.
* The 2ZZ-GE engine adopted the VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing and Lift-intelligent) system.
VVT-i is a valve timing mechanism that incorporates electronic control in the VVT (Variable Valve Timing) system adopted by the 4A-GE engine of the seventh generation. The conventional VVT system altered the opening and closing timing of the intake valves during low speeds and high speeds and used a condition-based switching method. In contrast, the VVT-i system targeted higher output, better fuel efficiency and lower emissions and used a method that constantly controlled the intake valve timing. With the adoption of this model, the VVT-i system evolved from a mechanism that focused on a sporty drive to one that focused on overall performance and efficiency. It is now widely used in many engines.
For the NZ series and ZZ series engines, various new technologies were adopted, such as a slanted squish combustion chamber for stabilized combustion and an offset crankshaft to reduce engine friction loss.
All engines were developed and tuned with emphasis on performance in the practical range. The 1.3-liter 2NZ-FE was designed for a maximum output of 65kW/6000rpm and a maximum torque of 123Nm/4400rpm, while the 1.5-liter 1NZ-FE reached a maximum output of 81kW/6000rpm and a maximum torque of 143Nm/4200rpm. The 1.8-liter 1ZZ-FE engine generated a maximum output of 100kW/6000rpm and a maximum torque of 171Nm/4200rpm and provided a high quality drive and excellent fuel economy.
The Sports twin cam 4A-GE engine, which for 17 long years had supported the Corolla Sports models, finally reached the end of its important role. The 1.8-liter 2ZZ-GE engine was adopted beginning with the ninth generation Corolla. This engine shared the basic concept of the 1ZZ-FE but was developed to display sportier characteristics. In addition to the continuously variable intake valve timing offered by the VVT-i, a VVTL-i mechanism also was adopted to control the amount of valve lift on both the intake and exhaust sides. Furthermore, high rotation and higher output were pursued by adopting a short stroke design, a higher compression ratio and larger diameter valves. A maximum output of 140kW/7600rpm and a maximum torque of 180Nm/6800rpm were achieved.
On the other hand, the 2.2-liter 3C-E diesel engine was inherited and adopted from the eighth generation Corolla. Minute modifications were made, such as adopting a cross flow intake and exhaust method and an electronically controlled fuel injection pump to generate a maximum output of 58kW/4400rpm and a maximum torque of 147Nm/2400rpm.