By on April 6, 2012

This is the third thousand-ish-mile rental review I’ve done in the past few months (I drove an Elantra to Nashville in December and a Jetta to Kalamazoo, Michigan in March) and I’m starting to have a real fondness for the format. There’s a squeaky-clean pleasure in evaluating a vehicle away from the reality-distortion field of a press event or the micro-drive format of a dealership test. The only problem is finding places to go on these trips: there are only so many guitar shops, vintage clothing dealers, or long-limbed Tennessee brunettes in this world.

Luckily for me, TTAC feels a certain responsibility to cover the New York Auto Show, so I had a 551-mile commute to make and a nonexistent expense account with which to handle it. Time to call Hertz again… but I had a Rebecca Blackian dilemma concerning which seat to take. Impala? Crown Vic? Equinox? Nope, let’s keep the compact ball rolling. I asked for it, I got it: Toyota! More specifically, I got a Corolla.

Little did I know that, fewer than twenty-four hours after arriving in the city where I was born, I would be fleeing Gotham in disarray.

I’m not sure exactly what kind of Corolla I received from the yellow-sign folks. It looked like an “S” from a distance but didn’t have a USB port or “S” badges. Call it nearly an “S”, then, and let’s guesstimate the price at $17,990. It’s that rarest of things: a genuinely outdated mainstream Japanese-branded automobile. This generation has been available globally for over six years, and upon its debut it had the definite look of a thorough but timid update to the previous car. Were this an Impala or Town Car, we’d have self-appointed experts telling us that it’s basically a thirteen-year-old vehicle, but the Law Of English-speaking Foreign-Platform Ignorance applies here and therefore the Corolla gets a pass from the average forum rat.

The infamous Vodka McBigbra doesn’t read Web forums, and therefore she didn’t have the decency to keep her mouth shut as we pulled onto the Interstate. “Oh. My. God. This. Car. Is. So. Loud.” She was right, too. It’s mostly road noise and mechanical stuff, not wind, but the Corolla requires a solid twist of the Typical Toyota Playskool Volume Knob to drown out the din. The recording with which I’d hoped to pass the first few hours, an amateur recording of the Pat Metheny Trio in San Severino, was unusable in this context. The dynamics of the performance made half of it inaudible and the other half punishing. The same was true for my next choice, Corinne Bailey Rae’s “The Sea”. We ended up settling on Gary Moore’s “Bad For You Baby”. The recently-deceased Moore engineered his records to almost a Black Eyed Peas’ worth of consistent compression, all the better to make that Les Paul BFG scream.

“I’m going to be deaf when this trip is over,” Vodka complained. “And I’m also wondering if — STOP JERKING THE CAR BACK AND FORTH!”

“I’m not doing anything,” I whined. “It’s the car.” And it really was the car, dear readers. The Corolla was rapidly shaping up to be the worst freeway whip I’d driven in years. The torque converter in the prehistoric four-speed automatic locks up early and stays locked when the throttle is released. The Corolla, therefore, bucks just like a stick-shift car when you come off the right pedal. However, since your humble author drives a lot of manual-transmission automobiles, I am in the habit of reducing throttle semi-smoothly even if the car doesn’t require that I do so. Toyota’s cruise control, on the other hand, has no such compunction. Heading downhill on a freeway, the computer will repeatedly cut and reinstate throttle, setting up an alarming rocking motion that is guaranteed to rustle one’s jimmies. As a former VW owner, I interpreted every throttle cut as this bitch just died on me, causing me to spend the first two hundred or so miles of this trip in perpetual panic.

Toyota’s next questionable decision: putting the cruise-control stalk at about 4:30 on the steering wheel. Every time I set the cruise, I would take my foot off the throttle, which caused me to reposition my right leg, which caused my knee to bump the cruise stalk forward, which canceled the cruise, which caused the throttle to cut, which caused the Corolla to pitch forward, which caused me to think this bitch just died on me, which caused me to stop reading Literotica’s “NonConsent/Reluctance” section on my Droid3 long enough to look for any available shoulder on which to pull the dying Toyopet before the Kenworth behind me hit my reluctant ass with a nonconsensual pulling up to the proverbial bumper in the proverbial long black limousine. Exciting stuff.

I never completely came to a peaceful accommodation with the Corolla’s tug-job ways, but after three or four hundred miles I was able to let my anger go and focus on the little sedan’s other salient features. Let me take a minute here to discuss the first time I drove a Lotus Elise, many years ago. I was just sooooo impressed by the twin-hooded Stack instrument panel and hard-core flat-bottomed steering wheel. “This,” I remember thinking, “separates the sporting vehicles from the pretenders.”

No longer. If the Elise was Bob Dylan, this Corolla is that new Miley Cyrus take on “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”. To make things just slightly more depressing, the metallic inserts on the Corolla’s wheel weren’t securely fastened. I worried them with my thumbs like one pokes a sore tooth with one’s tongue, rocking them back and forth, making the situation worse. V. McB, meanwhile, was poking at a sore tooth with her tongue. Something wasn’t quite right with a crown she’d had performed the day before.

This is normally the time in a TTAC piece where someone discusses understeer. I didn’t find any, even running 85mph down some fairly cramped sections of Route 80 in Pennsylvania where the trucks were down to 60 or so and Jake-braking with a vengeance. Sorry about that. Nor was there any “snap oversteer at the limit”. Nor was the Corolla unable to climb a hill, although the fucking noise it made when it finally unclipped the torque converter and grabbed third sounded like someone had a “bumpy drill” against my molars. Dynamically, the car was okay. The only demerit I’d assign was a certain unwillingness to stay straight in even the lightest crosswind. What do you expect? It’s a small car that has gotten amazingly tall and tippy-looking since retreating from the sublime near-perfection of its 1991-vintage seventh generation.

The Corolla is easy to park, so park it we did before riding the bus to the Javits Center for the first day of the New York Auto Show. As the phrase goes, however, uneasy lies the head that has a recent crown, so when Vodka’s porcelain faux-tooth finally made its bloody bid for freedom we’d completed just half of the event. Time to split, and no time to mess around with it.

I stopped just once in the 551-mile trip back, covering the distance in a less than Cannonball-worthy seven hours and twenty-four minutes. All the Corolla annoyances continued to annoy: the noise, the cruise control, the mild wandering, the transmission, the steering wheel, and some other things I haven’t yet mentioned, like the center armrest which somehow managed to be sharp-edged, unpleasantly hard, and yet oddly wobbly. You get the idea, right? I didn’t like this car. It isn’t that I would take a Jetta or Elantra over the Corolla. It’s more like a situation where I would take the bus over the Corolla. The Jetta, in particular, just has it beat six ways to Sunday.

Cometh the final fillup, however, I achieved some perspective.

1107.7 miles / 30.737 gallons = 36.04mpg

Only now, at the end, did I understand. The dumb-assed transmission was actually not dumb-assed at all. It simply had different priorities than I did, with the biggest priority being saving me money. Think of it. A platform that is probably something like eighty-four in dog years, with an engine/transmission combo for which the term “antiquated” is a polite obfuscation, turns in monster mileage. Surely, also, it would continue to do so well past the Singularity and/or the end of oil. Only a sucker would bet against a Corolla’s reliability.

Something’s going on here. Either Toyota really understands the compact market, or I really don’t. Perhaps it’s both. No, I wouldn’t buy a Corolla. I wouldn’t even rent another one: I’ll pay the extra gas money and drive something that isn’t a complete travail to operate. If you buy one, however, I will understand.

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162 Comments on “Corolling In The Deep...”


  • avatar
    gslippy

    In the late 70′s, the Corolla began eating the Pinto/Vega/Chevette’s lunch. Now it has become them.

    Better watch out, Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Better watch out Detroit. People buy the Corolla because they last far longer than anything else. In LA, 400,000 mile examples are common. At 400,000 miles, they are ugly, but they still provide cheap transportation. No American car can match this. The Focus transmission is shakey from the day it leaves the factory. The Cruze also has reliability issues. Check Consumer Reports. The Corolla is recommended. Also, they have fantastic resale because, at 100,000 miles, people know it is just broken in. The only way the Focus and Cruze can catch the Corolla sales figures is with fleet. And, what is it with Detroit people counting the number of gears in the transmission? Outside of Detroit, no one cares. I don’t know how many gears my Highlander, Pilot, TL, or Camry Hybrid has. Nor do I care to ask. At purchase time, it makes no difference. On the east and west coast, I never heard someone discuss the number of gears as impacting the decision.

      • 0 avatar
        DPerkins

        True, a lot of folks really don’t know or care how many cogs their transmission has (or how badly the car handles) just as long as it runs and runs and runs.

        I found GM very frustrating in this regard – with the small block V8, the Buick v6 (and good old pushrods), and simple 4 speed automatics GM could have built a loyal following if they only made them dead nuts reliable. But they didn’t (soft camshafts, intake manifold leaks, etc etc etc).

        There are many old Impalas, Grand Ams, Buick Regals out there with lots of miles. But they cost someone along the way a lot of frustration and money. Didn’t have to be that way.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Hey jimyy, care to provide a link or source that shows all these common 400K Corollas? Without documentation, this is just fanboy BS. And your favorite mag has a “high mileage club” that is filled with domestic and German high mile examples….

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Just wait. I haven’t put the popcorn back on the shelf just yet. Let’s see which Toyota model Consumer’s Reports apologizes for next…..
        I would be the first to say that I was no big fan of the Cavalier, even though we sold buckets of them right to the bitter end in ’05. I will, however, say that when I did back to back comparison test drives with a prospect, between the Corolla and the Cavalier (especially after the ’03 Lutz mandated hurried changes), the Cavalier won every time on handling and stability alone: the poor Corolla flew itself to pieces on the gawdawful roads of Scarborough, Ontario. And you can imagine the thrill I felt when a (then) brand new ’03 Corolla pinched my legs between my Malibu demo and itself when the lady owner ‘jack-rabbit’ started the clutch. After I stopped hopping around in pain, I suggested that she might get rid of that POS and buy a Cavalier next time, which has had the starter lockout for years!
        Reliability? We all know someone who has driven something to half a million miles. I am sure at least ONE Lada or Pony made it to that. However, in the battle of the anecdotes, the few hundred Cavaliers I sold in my career have to count for something. Maybe because I cared and took the time to show and explain things to my clients, but very few of them had issues with the Cavalier. One of my last customers before I left had a ’99 Sunfire with 300k km (about 180k miles) with even the original clutch. One Ontario winter is equal to 3 years in California, BTW. In Ontario, the wheat and chaff separate very quickly. So while K-cars soldiered on well into the 2000s, Tercels and Civics from the early ’80s recycled themselves within a very few short years.
        The Cobalt, although widely dismissed back in ’05 as ‘barely enough,’ won over many of the original critics who were unimpressed in the beginning. Something about advertised horsepower being a real number, torque numbers that gave real world driving fuel economy numbers that were impressive, or was it a kick-ass Pioneer sub system available for $300,
        GM just needs to keep doing what it’s doing: bringing out fresh products that interpret that particular market niche either better or in a fresher way, avoid flashy mega-recalls, and just keep on keepin’ on.
        … and the auto Press? They’re more jaded than movie critics. Nothing impresses them anymore – not even the Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Amen!

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Jimmy, I’ll gladly give you a ride toBiaseville (population: you) in my ugly J body withheld 200k and no maintenance costs. Or you can hitch a ride in my friend’s 450k Aurora.

  • avatar
    mdensch

    Wow, a TTAC writer who isn’t a Toyota apologist. Keep up this fantastic writing, Jack. You’re the only reason I keep coming back to this site.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Were this an Impala or Town Car, we’d have self-appointed experts telling us that it’s basically a thirteen-year-old vehicle, but the Law Of English-speaking Foreign-Platform Ignorance applies here and therefore the Corolla gets a pass from the average forum rat.

      The recently-deceased Moore engineered his records to almost a Black Eyed Peas’ worth of consistent compression, all the better to make that Les Paul BFG scream.

      Awesome…especially #2…

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        Loved the Gary Moore reference too.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        But the Impala and Town Car seem to have their…you know, devoted fans on TTAC. I don’t need to name any names!

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        .. look, when the average driver can’t tell the difference between a tie-rod end or a push rod, when they can barely remember to do an oil change once a year when a light on the dash TELLS THEM TO, when they treat Consumer’s Reports like the Koran (the Bible becoming rapidly useless these days), it is the cars that just soldier on that will eventually stand out.
        The Impala is a solid, smooth riding, quiet, safe and economical family hauler that sells with a 6 cylinder for the same price as a Camry does with a 4 banger. It’s only the jaded press and their 20 year old disciples that care whether a vehicle is new, new, new, or 5 years old. Back in the day, body styles on pickups used to hang on for decades before a major refresh or redo. Now, a 2007 Silverado is ancient history.

        Don’t talk to me about reliability: my condo has a brand new 8.1 GM Vortec natural gas driven generator on the roof. My boat has a GM vortec block and guts. It seems these engineering companies and little ‘ol Brunswick (largest makers of recreational marine engines) seem to understand something the posers at Consumer’s Reports do not.

      • 0 avatar
        oldworntruck

        @ carbiz you are right the genset on your roof and the engine in you boat are gm blocks however the internals are far from what you will find in any of gm’s vehicles brunswick buys the block and the crankshaft then installs there own camshafts pistons pushrods etc.. its really kinda like comparing the malibu used in nascar to the one driving down the street apples an oranges

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I guess it is safe to say that on the open highway, the Corolla is a bit crude. You have to remember Toyota was in a hurry to displace GM when this car was developed.

    I had one from Hertz last winter. – Since, I am tall – outward visibility was dismal. The result to me was a claustrophobic cabin of cost cutting, gray and aluminum colored plastic.

    Also, there was not much feel for the road from the steering wheel, which was more like a remote control on a video game.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    Corolla – for when your life is just over and done.

  • avatar
    monomille

    I had a 2001 with some of the same faults and some others. It is still going strong, trickling through the extended family. They are cockroach cars. I became convinced that Toyota’s plan was to force you to move up to the Camry to escape the noise and ride harshness but retain reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      My brother has a ’94, which I believe is pretty much the same car (since it’s lumped into the same Haine’s repair manual), and it has its issues. Mostly due to neglect/age than anything else. At ~230k with the big bits (engine & transmission) all original, I’d say its served him well for the 6 years he’s had it. The clutch is just now starting to show that it’s giving up the ghost, and the parking brake is non-existant (I think I need to reconnect it because it was disconnected when a friend and I replaced the drum brakes last year).

      It keeps chugging along in good order. Sure there are better cars out there, but why replace what isn’t dead?

      • 0 avatar
        jandrews

        This precisely.

        I have a 2003 Matrix, which is essentially the same car. It has just over 190,000mi on it. I bought it from my folks with 140k and change on the odo.

        It still has original everything except fluids, filters, and tires. Original belts and hoses, in fine condition. The engine and tranny run as strong as they ever have. Hell, even the *wheel bearings* are fine. The suspension could probably use replacement, but there’s no way I’m putting that kind of money into a car worth, at this point, maybe 3k (with some optimism).

        The things Baruth harps on are all true of mine: Road noise/tire noise/engine is intrusive. The ancient 4 speed auto requires holding 2nd and 3rd too long when accelerating to freeway speeds. The tranny shifts with…enthusiasm. The interior is hard, plastic, black, and generally uninspiring (but easy to clean!).

        HOWEVER

        It turns in 30mpg mixed driving, mid 30s highway, and it never fucking breaks. In all the time I’ve had it, I’ve done REGULAR MAINTENANCE ONLY.

        Toyota has distilled and purified the essence of econobox appliance in this vehicle. And apparently, judging by sales, a LOT of households out there want at least one of those in the garage. This is the same reason we’re seeing the Prius C take off like a rocket. Gas is probably above $3 for good now in the US. Our new reality demands some compromise for economy.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I think the Corolla has a lot of fleet sales at this point. I see a lot of late model ones at used car dealers, usually priced below $13k. Now I know why they’re priced so cheap compared to a used Civic!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The last stat I saw was pre-tsunami so it is pretty useless, it was 13% fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      Duncan

      I don’t think lower resale on late model Corollas relative to Civics is related to NVH. In my experience, Corolla is generally quieter and softer sprung than a similar vintage Civic.

      Having driven across the country a few times in economy cars, I’ve found that road surface has a significant impact on in-car noise. States that do a great job maintaining their highways (Tennessee) are significantly quieter than states with the worst road surfaces (Texas and Oregon).

  • avatar
    derek17005

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Toyota has been slipping as of recently. Their interiors are all hard plastic (even the expensive Sienna we just cross shopped), and their quality control is getting suspect.

  • avatar
    kevnsd

    Jack its great to have you back… was wondering what had happened to you in the big city. Do hope that Vodka has got her sore crown fixed.

    Its hard to believe that someone in the Toyota organization or maybe whole gaggles of someones don’t know just how bad this automotive appliance is. Maybe Mr Toyoda-San should take this whip on a cross country tour of the US. Not sure we’d get another apology but I am thinking the next generation might be something that can be driven on the highway without pain.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Take the Camry mentality and then starve it of $8,000 and you get a Corolla. Or, put it another way, the Corolla is a $8,000 cheaper Camry. Same personalities, different budgets.

    • 0 avatar
      NateR

      So far this year, I’ve had the Corolla, Camry, and Rav-4 as long term rentals. Somehow, the Rav-4 managed to be by far the most engaging and enjoyable of the 3. Both sedans were just awful.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I completely agree! I JUST turned in a Rav4 from a four day rental in MI and was simply astounded at how much I liked it. I would dare say that I would even consider buying one for winter-beater duties. It does indeed have both the Corolla and Camry totally beat, even in base rental-spec. How Toyota managed to make such a tall narrow vehicle so fun to drive is a minor miracle. My only complaint was the typical non-European too abrupt throttle tip in.

        the Corolla on the other hand, is simply a steaming turd whose ONLY redeeming virtue is the allegedly impeccable reliability. Which is nowhere near enough at a time when even the least reliable vehicles are still pretty darned reliable. And people wonder why the Europeans don’t buy these things…..

      • 0 avatar
        NateR

        If someone put a gun to my head and told me to choose between a Camry and a Corolla, I dare say I’d be tempted to let them pull the trigger. Now, if they threw a Rav-4 into the mix, well, there’s a choice I could actually live with.

        Shame about the dash though. That triple-chin center stack is one of the worst interior designs I’ve ever seen in a modern vehicle (and my current rental is a Dodge Nitro, so that’s really saying something).

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Due to good family luck with the brand and personal ownership of a 1996 Camry, I have an affinity for Toyota. So I’m trying to come up with some defense for this car, but I just…can’t.

    The previous car looked odd but was more direct and felt like a quality piece. I hope Toyota is working very hard on the replacement.

    The only thing that surprises me about this review is the mention of road noise; other reviews have stated the Corolla is quiet in this regard.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The last flawless, perfect, put it on a pedestal and worship, the bench mark for all cars, Toyota built was the ’96 Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        It was a damn fine car, wasn’t it? The 97-01 was similar but broke no new ground and came with a noticeable whiff of cost-cutting. The 02-06 was an improvement but looked so hopelessly stodgy.

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      The road noise comment surprised me too, but then, I haven’t been in a production sedan made in the last two decades that I thought was loud.

    • 0 avatar
      jandrews

      I really don’t think it needs a defense.

      A large portion of the market looks at what’s wrong with it and says “I can deal”.

      And that’s ToMoCo’s strategy here – you want a bullet proof gas miser, we have your car. Other brands have gas misers. Will they be trouble free for 200k? With all their schmancy new CVTs, double clutches, and super-complicated fuel management systems? Take your chances…

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        My Honda Fit will last every bit as long as a Corolla, uses just as little gas if not less, has much more useful space inside and is a TON more enjoyable to drive. Sorry, still don’t understand people who buy Crapolas.

      • 0 avatar

        I LOVE my ’08 Civic 5-speed. So does my best friend who has a fairly recent Corolla. Next time, he says.

        The Civic is noisy. So I wear ear plugs on long drives. Always have, since all my cars have been noisy. Not a big deal, given the pleasure and good service I get from the Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        jandrews

        sleuth –

        Fit more enjoyable to drive? Suspect assertion at best. I found the two comparable when test-riding.

        Also, there’s the whole looks thing. The Fit’s Mini-Minivan aesthetic turns off many potential buyers.

        This is not to say Honda’s lineup has any problems. I’m just saying let’s be honest – we’re talking about economy cars here, NOTHING about ANY of them impressive, aside from maybe fuel economy and reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        TL

        @supersleuth The Corolla looks like a car to non-car people (a MUCH larger market than “car people”). Three box design, four wheels and a trunk. To these same people a Fit looks like a) a very small minivan, b) a small station wagon, or c) an ugly combination of A and B. Much of the non-car people market are going to dismiss a Fit on looks alone.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        C’mon – a 4 spd tranny in 2012? I defended GM to the mat for their stalling a 6 spd – but that was back in ’06 and ’07! GM had the best 4 spd auto and was undoubtedly very nervous about messing with that formula. But the hue and cry from the media ‘experts’ finally badgered GM into coming up with their 6 spd auto (along with Ford and BMW.)
        Toyota cannot justify having a 4 spd this late in the game!

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        @jandrews

        the Fit is impressive.

      • 0 avatar
        jandrews

        @probert

        By what metric? It’s certainly not driving experience, interior materials, or looks.

        I like the Fit; but then, I sort of have a hard-on for economy cars with a lot of functionality, which is why I commonly swear up and down I will never own another daily driver that’s not a 5-door with fold-flat rear seats.

        The Fit’s a fine car for its class. What people seem to forget is it’s class is sub-$20k sub-compacts. You’re only going to get so far with that.

        Farther than the Corolla? Arguably. But plenty of people (myself included) would say you’re so far into semantics at that point that it hardly matters.

        TTAC readers have always had trouble drawing distinction between what they like and what the majority of the market buys. The latter is profitable. The former isn’t good for much at all.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        supersleuth: “My Honda Fit will last every bit as long as a Corolla, uses just as little gas if not less, has much more useful space inside and is a TON more enjoyable to drive.”

        As a former Civic owner, I don’t really see the Fit as being “fun to drive” than the Corolla. The handling of the Fit is just so-so. The steering wheel is way too large. Probably larger than the Accord’s. Since Honda does offer the Civic sedan, your choice of using the Fit to compare to the Corolla only makes you look like you don’t know much about cars.

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        @ supersleuth,

        I test drove a fit sport with auto about 2 years ago and found it not all that sporting, the handling was fine, the car not all that quiet at freeway speeds (neither is my 03 Mazda for that matter) but when I needed to accelerate quickly, unless I used the paddle shifters, the autobox was slow to downshift, but once it did though, it hussled just fine.

        Overall, I didn’t find it very sporting, a decent handling car, yes but not terribly sporting though not overly dull thankfully.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Wow, a no holes barred honest and objective review of a car that from the outside, looks rather nice – in red.

    That said, it’s too bad it can’t stay steady on the freeway and not do the herky, jerky while maintaining freeway speeds and seems to wander around some, a shame, really.

    I’ve come to the conclusion, like you that I’d rather get 32mpg in a car that performs well on the highway (stable and comfortable at speed) than get 36mpg in a car that can’t.

    Sounds to me like this Toyota has regressed in many areas. It’s becoming more and more obvious Toyota needs to update this thing, post haste.

    Nice review overall Jack and I enjoy your views of renting a car and giving us the dish on how it behaves. But I DO wonder how the Corolla does in town, mileage, handling wise though but good to know it can’t do highways all that well.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I owned a 1992 Corolla and it was, as you suggest, probably the pinnacle of small cars of the time. I remember some journos even referring to it as a “baby Lexus”. I found it “too good”, and after 6 months of ownership, took a beating on a trade for a Sentra SE-R. The current version sounds like a true penalty box.

    Also, I half expected the words “tug job” to be linked to.. uh.. Wikipedia, or something…

  • avatar
    igve2shtz

    I can’t agree more with this review. I have rented a corolla for 4 months and hated it more than I have hated any car. However, for the same reason as the author, I would recommend one in a heartbeat. It is reliable and economical, and a good size for any family with 1-2 kids.

    When it comes to mileage, I would bet loads of money that the Corolla will achieve 36 mpg easier than an Elantra, Focus or Cruze. Toyota doesn’t have to play the “40mpg” game like the other brands to attract buyers, so it doesn’t have to inflate the mileage. In my aforementioned rental, I would routinely get 44 mpg highway (cruise at 62, no A/C) and 24-28 around town, beating the life out of the thing. As a wise man once told me, “Never buy a rental”

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    Yep, these things are ruthlessly efficient penalty boxes. It’s pretty well a perfect car for a starving student who just needs to get around and know that the car will survive through perpetual neglect.

    But jeez, I’m glad I don’t need to put up with stuff like that anymore.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Conclusion: if you want a compact car that has
    - the lowest ownership cost
    - the highest reliability in its class
    - the lowest gas consumption in its class
    - the best fit and finish in its class
    - and yes, the lowest road noise level in its class
    BUY A COROLLA!

    For anything else, ask Jack Baruth.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      - the lowest gas consumption in its class
      - the best fit and finish in its class
      - and yes, the lowest road noise level in its class

      Not even close on these three points.

      • 0 avatar
        rentonben

        To be fair, you could define “class” as “all long-in-the-tooth penalty-boxes that you can get a cheesy factory spoiler on”

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        Yup, my GF’s 98 Saturn SL1, aside from the rough as cob four is almost library quiet at speed and rides well, even after 180,000 miles. And it can get and honest 40mpg out on the highway, and about 25-26 in town.

        It is not a perfect car though, the typical playskool GM interior 100hp isn’t much and ergonomics is weird, the oil leaks that can’t easily be fixed with the engine in the car, and fit and finish is just awful. My 1977 Chevelle has better fit and finish – and its an unrestored unmolested car.

      • 0 avatar
        Duncan

        I’m surprised that a ’98 SL1 is being described as “library quiet.” I would guess the tires have been upgraded from OEM – and possibly that your GF or a previous owner put some sound absorber in the doors.

        I liked late ’90s Saturns, but don’t remember them being very quiet when new.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I had a ’98 Saturn, it was NEVER quiet. Maybe compared to a Wrangler, or an International Harvester??

      • 0 avatar
        RedStapler

        Hey now..the new ProStars and TranStars are pretty smooth.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Get a nissan versa; a Rambler for the 21st century.

  • avatar
    FrozenCanuck

    “…the sublime near-perfection of its 1991-vintage seventh generation”

    I rented a similar Corolla last year and was surprised by how the drive quality had been altered. I was a happy owner of a 1991 Corolla SR5 coupe and drove it for 13 years before it just plain wore out. It kept it’s Driver’s Enjoyment Quotient high right until the end. Even the retro technology – manual overdrive vs auto lockup of the torque converter – seemed like a better choice when I was driving the Corolla-for hire. The design of the 1991 was much more attractive and it even had real bumpers.The twenty year interval has not been kind to the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I bought a new ’89 SR5 Corolla right out of college and drove it for several years. I really enjoyed that car. Then I bought a new ’06 Corolla CE and still, to this day, have not been able to bond with it. While it does everything it’s supposed to do – save gas and be as reliable as the sun – it has no soul, no personality. It’s cheap as hell to own and operate. With 52k on it, I’ve paid for gas, oil changes, filters, one tranny flush, one serpentine belt, one set of tires, and a battery. I’ve never had a single problem with it. And yet, I just don’t really like the car. But with it so cheap to operate, how do I justify replacing it? And my wife likes it…

      • 0 avatar
        Duncan

        Ha ha – the quandry reminds me of TTAC’s article about Chrysler’s lifetime warranty – “Anyone want to drive a 2007 Sebring for the rest of their life?”

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/07/the-truth-about-chryslers-new-lifetime-warranty/

        The problem with getting an ultra-reliable car that ages well is that even if you don’t like it much, it’s very hard to justify replacing it.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Fantastic piece of writing. Keep them coming! Thanks.

  • avatar
    boombox1

    I have an ’06 Corolla, and the faults you mention are the exact same I’ve dealt with. After 6 years of driving, hearing loss seems to be a reality. And how can a car so compact be blown around on the road by small gusts? Doesn’t frontal / cross sectional area affect drag?

    But… I’ve gone almost 100K miles with not even a hiccup of a problem. What to do?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      “What to do?” – maybe buy a car that is comparable in reliability and is quieter and more fun. Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza. They do exist if you really want to look around.

    • 0 avatar
      GeeDashOff

      “how can a car so compact be blown around on the road by small gusts? Doesn’t frontal / cross sectional area affect drag”

      I suspect that some of the back and forth jerkiness could have been the road surface. I-80 through PA & NJ has an aweful road surface with 2 large deep grooves in each lane (especially right and center) that match the axle width of all the tractor trailers driving down the road. If you’re driving a compact car with a smaller axle width than the tractor trailer ruts then it feels like the road is pulling you one direction and then another as your wheels are constantly being pulled into one or the other rut.

      Larger cars minimize this problem by having an axle width much closer to that of the tractor trailer ruts.

    • 0 avatar
      RGS920

      I own a 2006 Corolla XRS and you can reduce or eliminate the cross wind issue by buying a softer compound summer tire. When I switch from my winter tires to sticky summer tires it’s like night and day how the car performs on windy freeway driving. My XRS comes standard with a larger and wider tire so maybe you should even think about putting on a slightly wider tire.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        I’m probably going to get bits and bytes thrown at me for this, but is a Corolla XRS a basic Corolla with some suspension bits upgraded and the engine from a Camry or am I off-base?

        I’ve never seen one in person.

      • 0 avatar
        RGS920

        The 2005-2006 Corolla XRS has the 1.8L 2ZZ-GE engine from the Celica GTS, good for 170 HP, and red-lines at 8200 RPM. The only transmission is a 6 speed, close ratio, manual transmission. The normal Corolla comes with drum brakes on the back. The Corolla XRS has 4 disc brakes and larger disk brakes up front then the regular corolla. The wheels and tires are also an inch larger in diameter then the standard corolla wheels and the tires are wider as mentioned. The suspension is much stiffer and the car rides an inch lower than the regular Corolla. In addition there is a TRD Strut Tower Bar and huge X brace behind the back seats (In a regular Corolla, the rear seats fold down, in the XRS they don’t). Appearance wise, it looks the same as a Corolla S. The only way to tell them apart on the outside is the XRS badge and XRS specific wheels. There were only about 6000 XRS produced from 2005-2006. I’v only ever seen one other 05-06 XRS.

        The 2009-2010 XRS is much more common and it’s just the 4 cylinder 2.4L engine from the Camry, again larger wheels and brakes and mild suspension tweeks. It has an optional 5 speed automatic which is different than the 4 speed offered in the regular Corolla. I’ve never driven one or had the slightest interest in driving one.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        At the risk of nit picking, the SAE HP was 164. Toyota was using an older way of doing the math on the 2005 model, that is down from 180 HP in the 2004 – same engine – just the math moved.

        The rest is spot on.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        That XRS is a GREAT car, thats one you hold onto and enjoy. People will look back at it that car is 10-15 yrs the same way they look at the AE86 now.

  • avatar
    THE_F0nz

    “As a former VW owner, I interpreted every throttle cut as this bitch just died on me, causing me to spend the first two hundred or so miles of this trip in perpetual panic.”

    My God I laughed so hard at this people around me thought I was crazy. Brought memories of the Beretta back to me….

  • avatar
    DaveDFW

    Whenever I see a Corolla on the road, my learned instinct is to get away from it as soon as possible, as it is generally only 10 seconds away from its next unexpected move.

    So this review is indirectly telling me to stop judging Corolla drivers–chances are that the car itself is just bad?

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      “Whenever I see a Corolla on the road, my learned instinct is to get away from it as soon as possible, as it is generally only 10 seconds away from its next unexpected move.”

      So true. I have asked a number of people for the definition of the word, “corolla”. Is it the Spanish word for bad driver, or slowpoke?

  • avatar
    Marko

    So, if one must stay within the Toyota lineup, compared to the ‘Rolla, the Scion tC is the best value for the price, the Prius is best if you value a fuel-efficient commuter, and the Camry is just the best car overall?

  • avatar
    shelvis

    Jack, if you think car forum weenies are bad, stop by a guitar discussion site. Replace “snap oversteer” with “lightweight and resonant” and you’re in the ballpark. Never has there been such a sausage party of 50 year old Hawaiian shirt dudes, 40 year old basement dwellers, and washed up long haired shredders since the last Rush world tour. Obsession with minutiae rules as budget SRVs debate every detail of there beloved instrument but likely only play to an audience consisting of their spouse/mom/landlady/dust bunny under the bed. Lots of experts but very little real world experience. Or real money to buy any of the stuff they talk about. P-90 pickups are like diesel motors and Bigsby vibratos are comparable to manual transmissions.

  • avatar
    Marko

    You know, now that I think of it, Toyota has probably starved the Corolla of development funds, instead choosing to focus on hybrid development (i.e. the new Prius c, which is showing the signs of a smash hit).

    In fact, I speculate that the Corolla, within a generation or two, will be hybrid-only or at least primarily hybrid. Corolla buyers will appreciate the efficiency and relatively low maintenance. They won’t care about the lack of a stick shift or a high-strung XRS model. Toyota has the FR-S for those of us who want something fun to drive (in the conventional sense).

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      If I had to speculate, I would say that the Corolla will remain one of Toyota’s *last* passenger cars to pick up an electric motor. Maybe the US/Japan-market Corollas will, but “Corolla”, just like “Hilux” and “Land Cruiser”, carries a specific connotation for rugged simplicity in what we euphemistically call “emerging markets.”

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      We’ll find out next year when the new one comes out.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        How can you you be sure they won’t just be a mild update of the existing Corolla?

        Based on what Toyota has done for this model in the last decade or so, I would guess maybe a 5 speed auto and mild nip and tuck, and they’d call it “The All New Toyota Corolla”.

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        Because I work at TMMK, and know people that are going to be helping TMMS and TMMC on the new model. other than that I know nothing about what the car will be like. I am hoping it will be improved a lot seeing how the current model was designed under our last president and the new one is under Akio-san. He seems to really want to steer Toyota away from decontenting and blandness that has plagued us the last few years.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    I have the same conclusion with this car, if I have a friend who needs the most cost efficient appliance and has no interest in cars it’s hard to beat the long-term reliability, resale, and fuel economy of the Corolla.

    I worked for a small car rental franchise that ran tons of these cars up to 80k miles within a 2 year period and they just simply never had an issue! Then our middle eastern buyers would gobble them up and send them back home where I presume they received “adjusted” odometers before being re-sold.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The cost-to-own of the Corolla (and most Toyotas) is really the reason they’re popular. Enthusiasts see the materials quality, ride, performance and so forth and fail to understand why people buy them when they seem to share the foibles of the worst of, eg, the domestics.

      The difference is that the Corolla (holistically, not just in terms of powertrain, which is how enthusiasts tend to think) doesn’t cost a lot of money to own. This is important: the materials might suck, the suspension tuning far from optimal, but all the stuff that wears out or breaks down, well, doesn’t. Even wear items like tires and brakes (ever seen how fast a Mazda eats brakes?) last a long, long time. And the fuel economy, EPA gaming of Ford, GM or Hyundai be damned, ends up being near or top of the class.

      For most people, not getting it in the wallet is important.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        +1 on Mazda eating brakes. My ’02 Protege loved to snack on them, especially the rears. I thought it was inexplicable how a relatively light car (with 62% of that in the nose) could eat through rear brakes that fast. If I remember right, it was every 20k miles. And no, my emergency brake was not partially engaged.

        It was a fun car to drive, but was surprisingly hard on consumables. Besides ripping through brakes, the shocks were leaking oil at 60k miles. Though Corollas are penalty boxes, friends and family that own them don’t seem to have these problems. Maybe the newer Mazda3s aren’t as maintenance intensive?

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        … and that must be the reason that all the shiny, new Toyota dealers that have opened around here in the past few years all have 40,000 sq ft service bays. Yet you still have to make an appointment to get in to see the technician.
        Fascinating development.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        carbiz,
        You can either examine available sources of reliability data like Consumer Reports and True Delta to find an reasonably informed answer to how reliable most Toyotas are, or you can go off of garbage hand-picked anecdotal examples like “one of the largest automakers in the world has big service bays in their dealerships.”

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “Even wear items like tires and brakes (ever seen how fast a Mazda eats brakes?) last a long, long time.”

        Certain models might, but that’s true of many manufacturers and you shouldn’t generalize. At 65k miles, my ’04 Mazda3′s brake pads still look like new.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        @ 30 mile – or, you could have worked for a company that was built on the $$$ it made from hocking Chevies for 30+ years, that had over the years owned several import stores but settled on 2 Toyota franchises, and see first hand the skeletons in Toyota’s closet.
        One of my favorite “anecdotes” was the General Manager being called out of one of our (Chevy) sales meetings to deal with another Lexus trucklet issue: over his shoulder he snorted, “Never be afraid to stack up a Tracker to a Toyota.”
        I guess you had to be there….

  • avatar
    Russycle

    “uneasy lies the head that has a recent crown”. Dammit Jack, wish you had written this two months ago when it took my dentist 3 tries to get a crown that worked for me. He appreciates good dental humor, that groaner would have served him right for the hell he put me through. Praying I’ll never have another opportunity to use it.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    I dated a “long-limbed Tennessee brunette” once. It ended with a Greyhound ticket to Cleveland. A Corolla would have been an upgrade.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I wonder if it’s any better with stickshift. I also wonder if it even has DBW. I still have a soft spot for the 2ZZ XRS from the last gen.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Jack Baruth got 36MPG? At an average speed of 74MPH, including stop?

    I haven’t driven one, much, but I did spend 100 miles riding in the back seat of one. I’m over 6’3″, not light, and I was not uncomfortable.

    Basic transportation at its finest.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Assuming Corolla buyers are lured out of their trust-worthy and efficient cars by the hype surrounding recently introduced wanna-be’s, I wonder how they’ll feel about shop visits and gas stops becoming normal occurrences. I rented a Corolla like this about a year ago. I didn’t spend much time on the highways, but it rode remarkably well for a small car on the war-zone like roads of coastal San Diego and I got 31 mpg on our crummy almost-gasoline while constantly hammering the gas pedal in urban traffic. All the fake nostalgia for older Toyotas seems ridiculous to me. I suppose aspiring critics know there is no point pretending competitors that have become synonymous with failure were better, but the old Toyotas weren’t any better to drive, or anywhere near as comfortable. In 1996 I let a rented Corolla sit in front of my house for a week because I couldn’t stand driving it. Other small Toyotas I rented while in the Caribbean for a year and a half during the same era were only preferable to riding with annoying cab drivers that wreaked of human waste. The reason for buying a small Toyota has always been because they are efficient and as reliable as anvils. They were never anything special in styling, handling, comfort, material appearance, the list goes on.

      When I bought my Jetta decades ago, I test drove the Jetta and a Corolla. The Corolla was flawless, and the price it could command was higher. I couldn’t stand a thing about it. The interior looked like the Barbie Camper my sister had when we were kids. The gas pedal was a tiny toggle switch that clicked when you pushed it. That was more feedback than the engine gave. The gear shift had that Toyota mechanical directness, but the knob and lever couldn’t have been cheaper or less tactile. Cubism seemed to be admired by the car’s designers. People that call the current ones appliances probably don’t own homes and their mothers still cook and clean for them. The ’88 Corolla was an appliance. I went back and bought the Jetta, which was everything the Corolla wasn’t. Then I bought it again in the form of engine mounts, heater core, struts, axles, brakes, charging system parts… I didn’t even mind that much, because my standard for comparison of reliability was set by domestics, Germans, an Italian and a Korean. I didn’t know that cars could actually work with no need for specialist knowledge. In the years since, the Germans have abandoned handling greatness and feedback for the sort of people that used to buy toy-laden planned obsolescence in the forms of Cadillacs and Lincolns. The Japanese have learned to design interiors and pay attention to controls. There is less reason to buy something else now than ever.

      • 0 avatar

        So we have two choices.

        The Toyota Corolla, works forever but drains your soul,

        or

        A VW Jetta TDI, loads of fun, but drains your wallet.

        I wish there was a happy medium that offered 40 mpg, driving fun AND reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        … and yet I nearly slammed into a $50,000 Infinity, which didn’t even have a $5 chip to put his headlights on automatically. Gee, my ’91 Caprice had that feature standard. The Cobalt even turns the headlights on when you turn the wipers on (fair assumption that visibility is not great when it is raining) and the lowly Cobalt has speed sensitive wipers.
        If you only compare imports to other imports, then you’re bound to impress yourself.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a workhorse and a known quantity. Plus, I like 13 year old cars.

    But, yea, as a weekend rental, there are better picks.

  • avatar
    cfclark

    When I’ve been in situations where I’ve rented cars every week for business, the Toyotas, particularly the Corollas, have given me the worst rental experiences. They always seem to have been flogged mercilessly and maintained indifferently. I learned to opt for a Focus, Elantra or any random Kia, or even stand at the lot and wait for something else to come in, instead of taking a Corolla. These are second only to LA- or Orlando-market minivans (they’ve inevitably taken carloads of kids to Disney and have a leftover odor that’s half McDonald’s, half diaper pail) as wretched rentals.

  • avatar
    chris8017

    I drove my girlfriend’s 2007 Corolla the other day when I had to change the oil on it and my god was it awful. I realize I’m probably a little spoiled with my 2011 Mazda but everything about it just seemed like I was driving a tractor…the awful steering, the accelerator, the brakes..everything seemed like it was assembled with erector set parts.

    It had a mechanical feel to it that even my 2001 plastic Saturn didn’t have. It was almost an unsettling feeling..even with 60k on the odometer it drove like it was set to all fall apart….although we all know Corollas are dead reliable. It is the definition of an honest car.

    I’d still take my 30mpg Mazda ANYDAY over driving the Corolla….and for the price I paid for my Mazda I could never imagine handing the salesperson $18k for a Corolla.

    As a person who drives cars until they fall to pieces I can honestly say I could see myself wishing my Corolla (if I owned one) would fall apart sooner rather than later so I had a good and logical excuse to rid of it…and this is coming from a guy who drove a beater 2001 Saturn and loved it until the day the engine ate the chain for dinner despite keeping the oil topped off.

    • 0 avatar
      supersleuth

      I rented a Corolla a few years ago when the lowly ’00 Saturn SL1 that I then drove was in the body shop after a fender bender. I was honestly happy to get the Saturn back. It may have been a POS but least the steering felt like it was connected to the wheels.

  • avatar
    George B

    Well written and useful, Jack. Most of us don’t get a chance to drive high end exotics, but just about anyone has a chance to rent a Toyota Corolla. Sounds like it’s an exceptionally bad rental for interstate travel. Big contrast to the Camry which is fairly quiet, but requires the driver to consume massive quantities of caffeine to stay awake.

    I used to think I would like driving an automated manual, but found that I prefer the low speed isolation of a torque converter over the direct connected feel of the DSG in a Volkswagen GLI. I thought I would really hate the CVT in a rental Nissan Sentra, but the CVT wasn’t annoying most of the time.

  • avatar

    Speaking of guitars, Jim Marshall passed away at the age of 84. R.I.P.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I’ll still take this “dinosaur” over any of these Korean wannabe’s or the new so-called “world class” Detroit crap

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The Cruze is a pretty nice car, and only one step behind in sales. I think Jack liked the Elantra fairly well.

      The “Korean wannabes” have surpassed Honda in US sales, with better warranties than anyone. If the Corolla is a cockroach, you’d think Toyota could offer a better warranty for it.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      +1.

      As a Toyota fan, I can honestly say the 10th Gen Corolla is not one of Toyota’s best efforts. The interior materials, feature content, and certain things like 4-speed automatics aren’t things Toyota should be doing anymore, since the competition does manage to do better now. I’m hoping that with Akio Toyoda at the helm, the next generation will have a dramatic, positive change like the Avalon and the Lexus lineup is having.

      That said, this is still a good car and I’d have no qualms about driving a Corolla if I had to. I completely disagree that this is a noisy car or even a boring car to drive. I’ve driven by friends 2009 Corolla and it’s a peppy little car and comfortable too. It’s not the car’s fault that the author of this review can’t avoid the cruise control stalk, which is the easiest to use in the business and if Toyota ever gets rid of the cruise control system in their cars because so called “enthusiasts” didnt like it I will be very mad.

      The Corolla is dated and needs a redesign yesterday, but it’s still one of the best compacts you can buy. Oh yeah, and the steering wheels don’t fall off.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Its a bit odd, but everywhere else in the world, even the developing ones (I’m talking about countries like India, China, Philippines, as well as Japan). That 4-speed transmission is not even available.

    It comes with either a 6-speed manual or the new 7-speed Super CVT-i in most markets.

    I find it strange that in the US, a developed major market, the Corolla which is otherwise identical, still has the 5-speed manual and 4-speed auto.

    I’m guessing the reason is that Corolla’s became Canadian made, in a bit of a rush, after the previous manufacturing location, NUMMI, became infeasible after the GM bankruptcy. Toyota obviously didn’t properly invest in tooling for the North American Corolla production.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    My grandfather’s Outback has a similar tendency to derp about, even at gentle throttle, shuddering /just/ enough to drive me mad; I’ve taken to leaving it in third under 45 or so. I always figured it was the torque converter. Of course, it also occasionally refuses to upshift after ascending a long hill and acts strange until it’s warm, but it’s got 118k and twelve years behind it. (Still, the well-thrashed 200k+ AW7*s in my Volvos are better-behaved.)

    Anyway, it’s sad that the transaxle in the Corolla can’t compromise slightly for a more tolerable drive – but then, nobody else who drives the Subaru notices its herky-jerky habits, either, so perhaps Toyota figures the average buyer won’t care. Perhaps they’re right.

  • avatar
    watermeloncup

    You are spot on, Jack. I rented a 2010 Corolla S for two weeks, and it felt as anachronistic as my grandma’s 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. It had the same overboosted, completely numb steering, reluctant transmission, and floaty ride. The closest comparison for the feel of the steering is Nintendo’s Cruisn’ USA arcade game. It even makes the same electric motor whirring noise when you turn the wheel!

    I didn’t notice it being particularly loud or the interior being particularly bad, but I don’t normally care about those things.

    I too had a hard time keeping the damn thing going straight, but it was my first time in the San Francisco Bay Area and I assumed it was due to the roads. I took it up into some nice winding roads in the Santa Cruz moutains and the steering, chassis, transmission and my jet lag gave me no desire to push it. I pulled into a turnout at least a few times to let SUVs pass me.

    This thing was so bad that I prefered the 2010 Aveo I rented a month or two later, even though that worse interior quality (actually fairly comparable besides a wiper stalk that felt like it would break off when moved to another notch), a worse transmission, and less power. However it had nice steering and felt like it would be at least slightly fun to drive on a curvy road. It was raining when I had that so I didn’t get to try that especially with shitty rental tires. I might be an outlier on this (I do have a soft spot for shitboxes!), but I didn’t think the Aveo was that bad of a car.

    Needless to say, I was glad to get back to my Mazda 3 when I got home, though I never thought I would be *that* glad in the case of the Corolla.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Maybe the Corolla is just not intended to be a highway car, because I hate my ’05 Scion xB just as much on the highway. It’s a great car around town, where I do 95% of my driving, but the rare occasions when I take it on the highway, I dream of trading up.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So it’s 12 year old transmission in a 10 year old car?

    They are truly POS!

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Nice review. Good luck getting future cars for review from Toyota. Though given Jack’s experience with that thing, it’s probably a blessing. I bet he’s looking forward to drive another Toyota about as much as Vodka McBigbra is looking forward for another tootache.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Talk about an old platform: “eighty-four in dog years” is something like 349 years in people-years!

  • avatar
    TAP

    @APaG- ’96 Camry was far from perfect, as I discovered on a trip from east coast to Ohio- 4 people + weekend luggage. The soggy suspension forced slowdowns at every highway curve, even at legal speeds!

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      How old was that 96 when you got hold of it? I recall flogging a fairly new one up and down the Rockies way above the already high speed limit, with three passengers, and enjoying the hell out of it.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I had my 96 Camry loaded similarly and had no problems maintaining corners above the posted limit. If you come from a sharper car, the numb steering and body roll might seem a bit alarming, but the steering is accurate nonetheless and the car held its line well enough.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Toyota knows its market demographic for the Corolla (and pretty much all of their vehicles), and it should have been self-evident long ago that it defnitely isn’t anyone who writes for or reads TTAC.

    At one time, it might not have been that way, but Toyota has been copying the GM decontenting model (but keeping the price high) religiously for nearly the last two decades.

    AT some point, it wouldn’t surprise to see the front seats of a new Corolla being a wooden bench. They’ll still sell boatloads of them (for awhile, anyway).

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I loved this review Baruth. It did entertain me much. Between that and the video from New York I might have to buy you the adult beverage of your choice at some point.

    “The infamous Vodka McBigbra doesn’t read Web forums, and therefore she didn’t have the decency to keep her mouth shut as we pulled onto the Interstate. “Oh. My. God. This. Car. Is. So. Loud.” ”

    I had the displeasure of driving a Pontiac Vibe (this car’s sister? cousin? brother from another mother?) the thousands of miles from Gallup, NM to Miller City, OH this past summer. Droning and tiring are understatements. The trip took three days each way because I couldn’t tolerate more than about 500 miles in the sucker at a time and I love to drive. Sadly it was the only available vehicle in our fleet short of renting something. I am looking for a competent hwy cruiser for my next car, on the other hand the Vibe did return 30+ mpg in my 80-85 mph average for the trip. But like you Jack I would prefer to drive a Panther, or an Impala, or new Chrysler LX and spend the little extra on fuel for much more comfort.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Please compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        What you didn’t know about the platform relationship between the Corolla and the Vibe? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Vibe

        Based on Toyota’s E-platform. Built in Freemont California right along side the Matrix. How is that not apples to apples? Or does your dislike of GM not allow you to believe that their is any relationship between the two? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Nova#Fifth_generation_.281985.E2.80.931988.29 Their relationship goes back a long way.

        If your disagreeing about my mention of large competent hwy cruisers notice that Jack mentions his preference never mind the fuel economy advantage of the Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Oblique remark…. Toyota even sneakily slipped its Matrix sales figures in with the Corolla to make the latter look better. Along with their colorful interpretation of engine bench testing, Toyota has a long, proud history of being casual with the figures.
        If you drive like my great aunt, you’ll love the Corolla or Civic. Their high revving lawnmower based engines give great fuel mileage, as long as don’t mind 0-60 across the State of Nebraska. However, if you drive in the real world, unless you are the sole occupant of the vehicle, you may do just as well or better with an Impala. Not only will the Impala whisk you and 5 friends (assuming you have 5 friends)with ease to the cottage, and laden with a week’s worth of luggage, I’d wager the Impala will get better fuel mileage than a Corolla treated the same way.
        Similarly, if you always drive your vehicle like you stole it, the Toyota engine will end up in your lap one day.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Educator(ofteachers)Dan

        NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. You just stepped on my single biggest automotive pet peeve of “facts” that people quote that is completely wrong.

        The Vibe/Matrix did NOT come side-by-side from NUMMI in Freemonnt. No. Bad Dan. Bad.

        The Vibe was built exclusively in Freemont an NUMMI because — the production line had no capacity for building right hand drive models for export.

        The Matrix was built by Toyota in Canada.

        The rest is 100% correct. The Matrix and Vibe are both 100% Corolla and share all the same mechanical goodies. The 2009 Vibe was even recalled for bad gas pedals as part of the runaway Toyota fiasco and got the same infamous long memo on how to modify the pedal.

        But the Matrix and Vibe did not come from the same factory.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Yes my fiances Vibe was part of that recall, given that is a 5-speed stick she would have the good sense to put it in neutral.

        (Sorry about that misconception what did Toyota get out of Freemont those last few years?)

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Sir, you are comparing the Corolla/ Matrix/Vibe to the full sized Panther, Impala and Chrysler all of those cars are great for long distance driving, no question about it, you can’t compare those two very different vehicles on a long trip. I drove an Accent many years ago and it was even worse than my Corolla, it’s all about the size and suspension,

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Seems like Toyota put their A team on the Pirus.

    Anyways- don’t order cruise control on a Corolla. In fact don’t order anything on the Corolla which is engineered specifically for the american market. That would be a good rule for any foreign branded car by the way. The world market features are generally well engineered. The american market features are usually junk engineered by our fellow americans.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      I haven’t driven any Asian-brand vehicle with a cruise control to match Ford or GM, but I have no complaints about the one on the 03 Corolla I recently bought.

      Can’t say the same for our 04 Subaru, where the button to accelerate brings on an instant thud of a downshift.

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    Jack I wish I would have been able to read this review prior to purchasing a 2010 Corrola. Your account of highway driving is precisely what my take has been. Warning do not drive this car through West Virginia and the lower mountains of Virginia. The mileage is bang on your report as well and that friggin torque converter will be the death of me. Great car for driving the plains I suppose but lordy those mountains. Also the cheap seating does nothing for 250 lbs of manly man. Prior vehicle was the V6 Camry but my Mc Small Bra insisted it was far too large a car for her delicate nature. Well Daddy always said about tits and tires costing me a lot of money.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Going a bit off-topic, but if you’re gonna rent a vehicle for prolonged highway riding, the Chrysler minivans are the ones to get. Due to my job, I’ve rented vehicles of various sizes/configurations, and without a doubt, the ones in which I experience the least driving fatigue are those. Can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but a 500 mile trip just seems shorter when driving a Town & Country or Grand Caravan than when driving another vehicle.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Corolla is good example of car nerd don’t follow the herd.

    Rent me: Focus, Spec Sentra. No ‘stale wheels forever.’

  • avatar
    arbnpx

    Toyota’s had the cruise control stalk at 4 o’clock for well over a decade. The E110 Corolla that I used to have (1999 model year) had it there. It’s also in the same position on the Scion FR-S, which a certain Jack Baruth entered into a competition to be among the first 86 US owners. Jack, either you needed to move the seat farther back to give your legs some room, or you needed to trade up to a Camry for better driver’s seat proportions.

    One other thing that gets to me in car reviews is the reviewer complaining about the way a car downshifts (or, as Chris Harris did with the BMW M550d XDrive, complain about the very fact that it IS downshifting when stomping on the throttle). I, like Jack, prefer manual transmission cars, but if I don’t like the automatic transmission’s program, I downshift myself ahead of time, to prevent jerkiness when stomping on the throttle. I had a chance to rent a 2006 Corolla, with a 4-speed auto, and it had the “overdrive off” button, which I used many times to trigger a downshift or a hold in third gear when I wanted to override the transmission’s programmed intentions of fuel economy. But my favorite slush box automatic transmission of the cars I’ve rented was an E90 328i, which I learned how to easily program to hold first gear off the line, and hold an upshift until a satisfying but safe moment (about 5000 RPM). There was the standard 200 to 250 millisecond shifting delay, but once I shifted with that in mind, the drive was far more harmonious when accelerating.

    The 1999 Corolla I used to have was a 5-speed manual with cruise control. Back then, I wondered how that was possible, but it worked very well. There was some throttle oscillation in third gear, but it held speeds perfectly in fourth or fifth gear cruising speeds. The fuel economy on filling up was like clockwork: 36 MPG, on a 1ZZ-FE engine, which might be similar or the same as the one in Jack’s rental. I have a 1st-gen tC now, which averages 27 MPG; I miss the fuel economy, but I love the extra torque of the base Camry engine in a smaller lighter coupe body.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I think the FR-S would be fine re: cruise control location for the same reason that 4 o clock cruise control stalks dont bother me on Porsches: the way you sit in the car is completely different. It’s the knee/stalk interface that drives me nutso.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Put me down as preferring the 04:00 cruise control position, as well. I’ve had vehicles where the cruise control has been in various places (turn-signal stalk, steering wheel spoke, and 04:00) and the 04:00 position has been far and away the most convenient and easiest to use.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        For me so far, the most intuitive and least intrusive cruise control setup was the buttons on the wheel of my Contour. On and Off on the left, Resume, Accel and Decel on the right. I just wished there was a Cancel function.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        FWIW, Ford seems to be in the process of reinstating the ‘cancel’ feature on the cruise controls of their latest vehicles.

        I hate to say it but that small omission was a deal-killer for me. Frankly, I’ve never understood how it couldn’t be rather dangerous having to hit the brake to cancel a cruise control setting while on the highway instead of using a cancel feature.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        So the “Off” button wouldn’t accomplish that task without having to tap the brake?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      No, it wouldn’t. The ‘off’ button erases the setting. ‘Cancel’ allows the ‘resume’ function to function.

  • avatar
    Schuey03

    We had our first Corolla in 1984. It was a diesel which was uncommon for the U.S. even then. There was no hiding that it was an economy car. We added air-conditioning as a dealer option. Our daily commute was 45+ miles one way. You had to drive for 4 hours just to get the gas gauge to move. I was a teenager then so I beat the heck out of it. It died prematurely as it was handed down to my sister who took it to Purdue. She hadn’t changed the oil for 3 years. We could not find another diesel engine. It was a replacement for our Olds Delta 88 which at 43,000 miles required its second transmission. Anyway the Corolla was an inexpensive economy car. In competing in the U.S. market, Toyota had gone and added a bunch of stuff to keep up with the competition. Spoilers, alloy wheels, fog lights, blah, blah, blah. Now it tops out at $25,000 or so. Do you know that now it is at least a $500/month car payment? Hey, your champagne dreams are killing it for a lot of people. The Corolla is a commuter car. As long as I get good gas mileage and I can drive it for 10 years after it’s paid off, It’s done it’s job. Now, my question to the author is, What’s up with your own car. Why didn’t you drive that to New York? My ’99 4Runner is bouncy, under-powered, and has a sagging rear end. Everything and everything still works. I’ve never in 13 years and 245,000 miles had I have to recharge the A/C. There’s only rust on the front and rear bumpers as they are not original. But this car is not even a 1 million mile spec. Check to see which Toyota’s are “1 million mile spec.” Then, before complaining about the Corolla, take a good look at it. You’re right though, it’s not for everybody.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Great writing Jack. So refreshing to read an honest, and objective, Toyota product review.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I liked the unique writing style and perspective of this piece too, but your insinuation that this Corolla has been dishonestly praised by much of the media seems off to me.

      No one ranks this car top of class, and nearly everyone has been very harsh in their criticism of its faults. Even CR flatly states the interior is cheap and the handling is nowhere near sporty. CR still recommends it? Well, considering they place importance on reliability, safety, fuel economy and cater to an audience that does as well, I would say that is still objective.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    Back in ’03, the Significant Other and I flew to Vancouver for 2 weeks. There were no Sebrings available, so I walked the plank and took a brand new Camry, complete with mouse fur grey interior, 4 cylinder and 4 gears.
    I should preface this by saying that the Significant Other knows less than nothing about vehicles. He owned a host of Fiats in Brazil, so his car criticisms should be taken lightly. He has also always known that I hate (okay, that’s too harsh) – ‘despise,’ anything from Japan Inc.
    Okay, so after grumbling about a few very obvious shortcomings (Japan should try and copy an American automatic transmission design some day soon) and having driven the Camry for about 4 days, I turned to my spouse and asked him what he thought of the Toyota. He got that nervous look on his face, and we were climbing up Mt Seymour… NO, no, I assured him. Tell me the truth. I want your impressions of living in this car for 4 days. Do you like this car? At first I got the disclaimer that he doesn’t like ‘big’ cars (well, it’s a good thing I didn’t buy that white ’70 Newport convertible I saw last year!), but then he allowed that the Camry was ‘okay.’ High praise from someone who would likely be Toyota’s prime target customer, except that he cares less about cars than even Toyota owners do. Anyway, I digress.
    After more prodding and badgering, I got a couple more shrugs and mumbled remarks that the car was ‘fine,’ ‘good,’ even.
    I waited a minute for dramatic impact, then I pounced: “Would you pay $5,000 more for this car than ‘ours?’ We had just gotten a 2003 Malibu in the same silver, with similar mouse fur interior, but with the 3.1V6 and features like speed compensated volume control that I was already missing after a few days.
    His eyes widened. Now he was convinced he was being punk’d. With the ‘new’ Malibu in the pipeline, GM was blowing out the ’03 Malibu for just over $20 grand. Our sister store was selling the Camry 4 banger for almost $24k. (Please remember, these figures are in Canadian dollars and although we still pay significantly more for our cars here than you Americans do, back in ’03 when the $C was about .68, it was pretty much a mugging.)
    When bored, we used to love playing invoice poker, or ask the wholesalers who walked in the door what they had just paid for a certain year of Mazda, Nissan, Toyota over at our sister stores.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The delta between the ’03 Camry and the ’03 Malibu would have been the best $4,000 you ever spent on a car. I suspect thinking that the difference between just over 20K and almost 24K being 5K has a high correlation with finding things like Malibus acceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Around here that generation malibu has serious rust issues (by the fuel door especially), and I know the 3100 has intake manifold issues. Not to mention the abysmal interior quality.

      I haven’t seen a single 2003 camry with rust, and despite not being the pinnacle of toyota’s high quality interiors in the 80s-early 90s, the interior uses decent materials and is screwed together exceptionally well.

      I’ve ridden and drive several rental Impalas, both 08s. One dumped A/C condensate onto the front passenger’s feet, and the other had a leaky exhaust gasket that sealed itself once the exhaust was hot. Besides these issues the cars drove well and I like the way they are styled, but neither returned anywhere close to a Corolla’s mileage as you claim they might. Both got mid 20s driven at 70-75 with A/C on.

      It’s interesting reading your 4-5 responses throughout this thread, did you really sit down and write them all in one go? That’s some hard core (I’d argue creepy) GM fanatacism.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        A family member rented a Malibu from the 2003 generation and was irritated by the constant wind whistling in from under a poorly sealed windshield. Wasn’t otherwise impressed with the car. Another family member owns a 2005 Camry 4-pot and it is rather nice. Boring, but quality, with an interior that doesn’t need to be black in order to make the materials quality acceptable. Cough, 2003 Malibu, cough.

        So there we go, a nearly useless reverse analogy to carbiz’s completely worthless yarn above.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      carbiz, you’re a joke of a fanboy. Camrys slaughtered that 2003 Malibu in the sales numbers, so the consumers must be lemmings. Punk’d lemmings. In an alternate non-existent universe where that hokey Malibu outsold the Camry, you are dancing a jig in victory, pointing to the sales charts as absolute proof of the Chevy’s superiority.

      CJinSD is absolutely right. I would gladly pay more for any Toyota of that vintage over any Chevy of that vintage. You would have done much better comparing a 2010 Malibu to a 2010 Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        ..and yet who is hurling the personal attacks? What is your stake in this? You really want to stack my 11 years of “anecdotes” with the 5 or 8 personal vehicles you’ve owned in your lifetime? Heck, I’ll be generous: let’s throw in your entire family’s experiences, too.
        Not that I have to justify myself to you, but I used to be a Mopar fanboy, until 2 shining examples of malaise era Detroit prowess (’82 Rampage and ’87 Shadow ES) convinced me otherwise.
        GM fanboy? Perhaps I do come from the point of view that GM is not the source of all evil in the known universe, but I have eyes and ears enough to realize when a person is a rabid anti-Detroit hater with an agenda (mommy made you drive her 8 year old, rusting Citation to school when you got your license).
        Or maybe I’m just lucky: the three Chevies I have owned never gave me any unusual trouble. Yet over the years I have witnessed dozens upon dozens of import owners justify thousands of dollars of repairs as normal maintenance.
        After all, if you knowingly overspent on your purchase, you’re not likely going to admit that you also got hosed by maintenance, too!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I rented one of these a few months ago and could not believe how far Toyota had fallen. Truly one of the most crap-tacular cars ever. The first car I’ve ever tried to blow-up out of utter contempt. Dangerously slow in town or on the highway at 140 KPH it’s nearly maxed out. So, for the last 100K of my trip I said what the heck and drove flat out to see if it would explode. Plus it’s got an interior that looks and feels straight out of a mid 1970s Chevy Monza. When you park this next to a Cruze it’s like like a “Freaky Friday” soul switcharoo. I love my old cressida and my slightly newer Lexus, but I won’t be buying anything made during Toyota’s own self induced Malaise Era.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    It’s human nature to justify your individual choices, be it cars, tunes or women.There is a reason why the old adage of “opinions are like…”is ubiquitous. But, I find myself thoroughly entertained by this writer and his travelogue technique. Should Anthony Bourdain lose his gig, Jack could fill in seamlessly.

  • avatar
    ltcmgm78

    Wife has a 2005 Corolla CE. She wanted the same kind of reliability that she’d gotten from her 1988 Chevy Nova (242,000 miles). Right now she’s at 133,000 miles and the only money we’ve spent on it is tires and scheduled maintenance. She has no real interest in cars. It’s perfect for her. For me, not so much. It’s a transportation module. I have noticed that in later models, all they seem to have done is feed it steroids. I think the newer models look swollen by comparison.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    The Corolla is a commuter car best used in traffic rather than a drivers car for high speed traffic, but of course we all knew that.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Really? I assumed it could cover a normal commute – my 22 mile commute has the majority on 60mph two lane highway. Maybe central North Carolina is unusual in that!

      If you are saying it cannot take being driven on the highway for any length of time (never driven one) then it is about as much use as the Smart car. I will assume you were not really saying that though since this is a compact, not sub-compact car.

  • avatar
    StatisticalDolphin

    For the driver who steers with his hands in the 3 – 9 position, the cruise control stalk at 4 o’clock can be easily controlled with the fingertips of the right hand.

    So, Toyota’s design decision seems sensible… unless the driver uses the Cleveland Position.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “For the driver who steers with his hands in the 3 – 9 position, the cruise control stalk at 4 o’clock can be easily controlled with the fingertips of the right hand.”

      I like to wrap my right arm around the passenger seat, hold my phone in my left hand, have my coffee in my other hand, and work my iPod with my other hand.

      The solution seems obvious: leave it to Starbucks to install the cruise control. Either that, or mount it on the passenger seat head rest.

  • avatar
    geo

    So it looks like the Corolla is close to being the the modern-day Chevette — loud, tinny, underpowered, cheap-feeling, outdated. But like the Chevette, it lasts forever, and has great gas mileage.

    But unlike the Chevette, it’s revered and sought-after. Can be imagine Carter using the Chevette as the standard by which all vehicles are measured, as Obama did with the Corolla a couple of years ago?

    I suppose the Corolla has a pretty good history to draw from, and it still has the import “mystique”. Because the Cobalt was better in almost every way, and we all know the legacy of that vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, I can’t grasp all the people knocking the Corolla, probably because we had good experiences with the USED Corollas we bought for our kids during the eighties and nineties.

      We owned a 1980 Chevette Scooter and over time the four bolts holding the manual transmission to the engine came loose until, one day, the transmission fell onto the road while shifting gears.

      Scared the hell out of my wife who was driving it but the damage to the transmission case, spline and drive shaft made it impractical to fix it.

      So we bought a USED Corolla to replace it and it ran forever on the daily run to the University my wife was attending, 75 miles away.

      When that Corolla wore out, we bought another USED one, then yet another one when my oldest son went to College.

      We owned several other used cars for our kids and the foreign brands were less problematic than the domestic brands.

      BTW, the timing belt on the Corolla lasts a great deal longer than the service interval. I had an original break around 168K and since the engine is a non-interference engine there was no damage. It just quit running.

      They may not be flashy or high-powered but in my experience the Corolla just keeps on running even to the point where the plugs foul after the rings wear out.

      In one of them I used 20-50 motor oil to keep the blue smoke to a minimum. Finally retired it at 198K when my oldest son left home.

      I’d like to hear some of the stories of the people who hate the Corolla. My experience with the Corolla was great.

      • 0 avatar
        geo

        As I wrote in the other thread, the (Corolla-based)Tercel in our family was an oil-burning, rough-running, body-rotting, uncomfortable, unreliable piece of crap that couldn’t get out of its own way. When we got rid of it in favor of an ’86 Celebrity, which was better in every way save fuel economy (and not by that much).

        And I heard a few opinions and anecdotes about how unreliable the Corolla-based Chevy Nova was . . . from the same factory, built by the same workers, with the same parts. How is that possible?

        Yes, I know there are many, many happy Corolla owners. But a lot of this is perception, not reality. Again, Obama used the Corolla as an example of Fine Automotive Engineering that the domestics could never hope to match. It’s. Not. That. Great. Like Starbucks and their bitter and cheap coffee, Toyota has brainwashed a nation into thinking that cheap = premium.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbobjoe

        @geo

        Apparently GM did not use the same parts on the Nova that Toyota did on the Corolla. It was mentioned it another thread that the Nova had a cheaper alternator than the Corolla (for example.)

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      I owned a Chevette and I’ve owned a Corolla for many years, please, there is just no comparison,

      • 0 avatar
        geo

        We’re comparing the cars to the standards of their times, in which case they are dynamically among worst-in-class. Of course a 1975 Chevette does not compare well to a modern Corolla.

  • avatar
    jimbobjoe

    Seven 1/2 hours between NYC and Columbus? I don’t think I’ve ever managed that trip in under 9 hours. (Google Maps says it’s 10 hours via I-71 to I-76 to I-80.)

    Oh, and what about that Columbus meetup?

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    I drive a Corolla for work & I agree with you on a lot of things, can’t say I’ve been bothered by the wandering though. At least it is better than the previous model, the extra track width has raised the the onset of ‘slow down’ mushy body roll in corners a worthwhile amount. Push a bit harder and there is understeer to be had, but that is true for any car.

    The 4sp auto – yes it works but the ratios are just too widely-spaced, and it suffers on hills or when you want power after it changes gear. I’ve seen ~25mpg in heavy-footed city use to 33mpg on the highway, so I’d guess the terrain Jack saw was mostly flat to get that figure.

    I’d think of a lot of other cars to buy before the Corolla, but as a basic transport appliance it hits the spot.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Detroit’s Malaise era was considered to be during the mid 70′s to early 80′s. Mid 2000 to current is Toyos Malaise era and this is a shining example. Both my cousin and dad’s elderly friend have 2010 LE sedans without cruise control and automatic. My cousin’s has been in the shop for a defective battery that left her stranded, a squealing belt that turned out to be a bad alternator bearing, then 6 months later the belt tensioner went south. Dad’s friends car which has but 6K miles already has several interior rattles, a defective gas cap which threw a code and cel light and the transmission sometimes flares when going into 4th gear which I did not notice on my cousin’s car. He is bringing it in as we speak to see what they are going to do about that(maybe a transmission flash). When asked how they like there cars both think they are tinny and cheaply constructed but knew this when going into the purchase but neither said they would probably buy another next time around which speaks volumes about the car in general.


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