The Toyota Corolla has been around since 1966 and has sold millions worldwide, even becoming the world’s best-selling nameplate. It’s been a workhorse in company fleets, a first car for many, and a family car for some.
But it’s not just a practical car; the Corolla has also been a platform for racing, from World Rally Championship to drift racing. With so many generations and units sold, it has a thriving aftermarket scene with upgrades for style and performance.
If you’re looking to boost your Toyota Corolla’s speed, there are various ways to do so. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best upgrades available for the Corolla. Whether you want to add style or make it a faster, more exciting ride, we’ve got you covered.
Toyota Corolla Overview
Toyota has rolled out various Corolla models and engine options over the years to cater to a wide range of needs and preferences. From compact sedans to hatchbacks and hybrid variants, the Corolla offers a diverse range of choices. Each model may have unique specifications and compatibility with various upgrades.
In 1997, the Corolla achieved a significant milestone by surpassing the Volkswagen Beetle as the best-selling nameplate in the world. It continued to maintain its strong market presence, with over 50 million Corollas sold as of 2021.
Understanding your Corolla’s baseline performance is the first step toward enhancing its speed. This means knowing its stock horsepower, torque, and acceleration capabilities. These figures serve as your starting point, which helps you set realistic expectations for your upgrade project.
Speed enthusiasts appreciate the Corolla’s flexibility for customization and modification. While it may not be a performance powerhouse by default, it serves as a canvas for those looking to enhance its speed and style.
How to Make Toyota Corolla Faster
Many Toyota Corolla owners share the desire for a speedier ride, and it’s not just about racing down the highway like a Formula 1 driver. Rather, it’s about the joy of improved performance, the satisfaction of personalizing your vehicle, and the excitement of pushing your Corolla beyond its limits. Let’s explore some of the Toyota Corolla mods that can make your vehicle truly exceptional.
Turbocharge or Supercharge the Engine
If you’re seeking substantial horsepower gains, the most effective route is to turbocharge or supercharge the engine. Turbochargers and superchargers are forced induction systems that are used to increase the power output of an internal combustion engine.
They operate by compressing the incoming air before it enters the engine’s cylinders. The compressed air is then forced into the engine’s intake manifold, where it mixes with fuel. Because the air is now at a higher pressure due to compression, more air can be packed into each cylinder, allowing for more fuel to be burned. This, in turn, translates to more power, and ultimately, a faster vehicle.
Install a Cold Air Intake
One of the initial steps to boost your Toyota Corolla’s performance is by installing a cold air intake. The stock air box in most cars serves the purpose of filtering air and preventing debris from entering the engine. However, it also limits the amount of cool, dense air that reaches the engine’s combustion chamber. This restriction can hinder performance, as engines thrive on a healthy supply of oxygen-rich air for efficient combustion.
A cold air intake is engineered to address this restriction by replacing the stock air box and air filter with a more open and free-flowing system. The cold air intake works by drawing in air from outside the engine compartment, typically from the front of the vehicle. This air is cooler and denser than the air inside the engine bay, which promotes more efficient combustion.
As a result, the engine can burn fuel more effectively, resulting in improved power and torque. In addition to the performance benefits, many enthusiasts appreciate the more pronounced engine sound that a cold air intake produces. This upgrade adds a pleasing growl to the engine’s note, enhancing the overall driving experience.
Upgrade the Exhaust System
For those seeking to maximize their Toyota Corolla’s performance, upgrading the exhaust system is another key modification to consider. This step involves replacing the stock exhaust components with a larger-diameter performance exhaust and muffler.
The increased diameter allows for a smoother and less restrictive flow of exhaust gases. The performance exhaust also reduces the backpressure, which allows the engine to expel exhaust gases more efficiently and ‘breathe’ better.
The performance gains achieved by upgrading your exhaust system can vary depending on your Corolla’s model and engine. However, you can typically expect to see improvements in horsepower and torque, with gains in the range of 5-15 horsepower. This contributes to better acceleration and overall responsiveness.
Replace the Exhaust Manifold
One of the highly effective modifications that can help enhance the performance of your Toyota Corolla is to replace the stock exhaust manifold with a tubular header. The exhaust manifold is an essential component in the vehicle’s exhaust system that helps collect exhaust gases from each cylinder and channel them into a single exhaust pipe.
Tubular headers typically feature larger internal passages and smoother construction compared to stock exhaust manifolds. This design allows for more efficient and less restrictive flow of exhaust gases from the engine’s cylinders. As a result, spent exhaust gases can exit the engine more rapidly.
The enhanced exhaust gas flow and quicker expulsion of exhaust gases enable the engine to operate more efficiently. This increased efficiency can lead to noticeable gains in horsepower and torque, which provides a boost in overall performance.
In addition, the improved flow of exhaust gases means that the engine can respond more promptly to throttle inputs. This results in improved throttle response and enhanced drivability, making the vehicle more responsive during acceleration and driving.
Install Underdrive Pulleys
If you are looking to elevate the performance of your Toyota Corolla, consider installing underdrive pulleys for belt-driven accessories like the alternator. Underdrive pulleys, being lighter than their stock counterparts, serve to diminish power loss resulting from parasitic drag. This, in turn, leads to the liberation of additional horsepower, thereby enhancing your Corolla’s overall performance.
Replace the Flywheel
The flywheel is a critical component of the engine’s rotating assembly. It serves several purposes, including providing a smooth and consistent rotational mass for the engine and aiding in the vehicle’s drivability. However, stock flywheels are typically designed for general use and may prioritize durability over performance.
Replacing the stock flywheel with a lighter performance flywheel translates to reduced rotational mass and increased horsepower. With this upgrade, you can typically expect to see improvements in the range of up to 10 horsepower, resulting in a more responsive and enjoyable driving experience.
Tuning the Suspension
Upgrading your Toyota Corolla’s suspension and handling is a significant step toward achieving better control, stability, and overall performance. Upgrading components such as shocks, springs, and sways, can lead to improved handling characteristics, making the vehicle more adept at navigating curves and corners with precision.
Furthermore, tuning the system not only improves control during spirited driving but also enhances responsiveness. You can expect benefits such as more precise handling, improved steering, braking, and acceleration. You might also experience reduced body roll during cornering and an enhanced ride quality that strikes a balance between comfort and sportiness.
Upgrading Tires and Wheels
Equipping your Toyota Corolla with high-performance tires can make a substantial difference in terms of road grip and speed performance. These tires boast advanced tread designs and softer rubber compounds, which offer outstanding traction on various road surfaces. The heightened grip positively impacts key aspects of your vehicle’s performance, including acceleration, cornering, and braking.
Additionally, high-performance tires contribute to improved steering precision and responsiveness. When selecting high-performance tires for your Toyota Corolla, you’ll encounter well-established brands such as Falken, Kumho, Firestone, and more. These brands offer a range of high-performance tire options, with some providing affordable choices, allowing you to tailor your tire selection to meet your specific needs and budget.
Tuning the ECU serves as the culmination of all your performance modifications. ECU tuning optimizes crucial engine parameters, including ignition timing, airflow, and fuel delivery, with the goal of extracting more power and enhancing throttle response. The outcome is a notable improvement in performance metrics and acceleration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Toyota Corollas go fast?
Stock Toyota Corollas are not typically known for their speed or high-performance capabilities. They are primarily designed as practical, fuel-efficient, and reliable compact cars, with an emphasis on affordability and everyday usability.
However, there are exceptions. Some Corolla models, like the Toyota Corolla XRS and the more recent Corolla GR, have been designed to offer improved performance with more powerful engines and sportier features.
Is the Toyota Corolla a strong car?
The Toyota Corolla is known for its reputation for strength and reliability. It has a long history of being a durable and dependable compact car. Many Corolla owners have reported minimal issues and long-lasting performance. However, its strength can vary depending on factors like maintenance, driving conditions, and individual experiences. But generally, the Corolla has earned a strong reputation for being a resilient and robust vehicle.
The Parting Shot!
The Toyota Corolla is an enduring symbol of practicality and reliability but also holds immense potential for those seeking to inject a dose of performance and excitement into their daily commute. By exploring the various modifications and upgrades we’ve discussed above, you have the power to make your Corolla faster and create a driving experience that’s uniquely yours.