For a little while now, the beige Corolla has been the laughing stock of automotive journalists. On Facebook and Twitter, especially, my acolytes have had their fun poking at beige Corollas, and I admit, I have contributed with a couple of my own remarks. Peer pressure, I guess.
There’s nothing wrong with a beige Corolla as such. It’s just that Toyota’s compact sedan is, well, unexciting to look at and as fun to drive as an electric can opener. Its utter reliability is a good thing, but at the same time, it prevents it from having any sort of character. The beige colour basically adds an extra layer of boringness to the car.
And when the passing lane is congested, more often than not, it’s because a beige Corolla is hogging the lane, infuriating everyone behind it.
For an automotive journalist, mocking beige Corollas is like a biker murdering someone as an initiation to becoming an official member of the gang. Sort of.
Should Toyota be pissed about this? Hardly, and for three simple reasons.
First, since we’re frequently talking about beige Corollas, we’re involuntarily creating free social media hype for the car. Think about it.
Second, in a subtle sort of way, we’re admitting that a beige Corolla is a stealth machine. Not many cars blend in the scenery as well, so you basically have a better chance at getting away with driving fast in a beige Corolla than in a Porsche, or even in a Volkswagen GTI
for that matter. I’m sure you haven’t noticed any beige Corollas speeding down the highway lately. See? I’m right.
Third, I’ve actually owned a beige Corolla, although briefly. In 2004, I bought a 1987 Corolla sedan with a 3-speed automatic for $200. After replacing some leaky brake lines (the first ride home was, um, entertaining), it was a go and was fairly reliable during the year I owned it.
Okay, I replaced the radiator, the gas tank and an exhaust front pipe, mostly with used parts but it started all the time. It never let me down. After both rear shock towers busted due to rust, I sold it for $400. It might still be running today.
So there. I used to be one of them.
Symbol of automotive creative abandonment, the beige Corolla will probably live on forever, no matter how much we journalists roast it.