I was in serious need of a car, and this one happened to be available. I had done no prior research on this make/model, and I was pleasantly surprised! Although the appearance of the car leaves much to be desired, that is to be expected of a car over 20 years old. There is some considerable rust under the car, but I live in the Midwest. Some minor things on the car have started coming apart, as I listed above, but nothing major. This would be the only complaint that I really have - I joke that the car itself will fall apart around the engine, but it will still be running! Cosmetics are also cheap and easy to replace, and I do much of that myself to save money. I hit a deer with it last winter, and the only thing damaged was the passenger side view mirror. Cheap and easy fix.
My Corolla has been very reliable for me. It has left me stranded three times: Once due to a loose battery cable, once for the slave cylinder, and once for the alternator - as listed above. The alternator was my fault: the dash warning lights came on, and if I had been paying attention to what she was trying to tell me, I would not have been stranded in the first place! Other than that, I've never had a single issue with it starting up every time, whether it's 100+ degrees or below zero outside. I was sick over Christmas and didn't leave the house for 5 days, therefore the car didn't get started for that long. But when I went to start it up, it fired right up in the freezing cold! You'd never know it sat there that long. It has been a daily driver for me, and I'm not afraid to take it anywhere!
Mine is a 5 speed manual, and I am very surprised at how much pep it has! I have no problems with the power - it quickly gets to 60 mph and shifts smoothly through all the gears. It runs quietly and I have no problems keeping up with the flow of traffic on the highway. Good gas mileage too!
This car has way more room than I had expected too! The seats are roomy, the trunk is roomy, and the back seats fold down if you need to fit longer items inside. I have no problems comfortably fitting passengers inside.
It uses a little oil, but nothing major. I check it about every 10 days to see if it's low, but I end up putting a little oil in 3-4 times between each oil change, and it's a quart or less every time. Again, this is to be expected of a 20+ year old car. Otherwise, it doesn't leak oil or any other fluids. I keep up with routine maintenance, and the guy who owned it before me did too. Within the next few months she'll roll over 200K, and hopefully I'll get many more miles out of her. Even with all its minor defects, I still love this car. I'll continue to do preventive maintenance and drive it until it can't be driven anymore.
When this one dies, I'm buying another Corolla!