1997 Toyota Corolla DX 1.8


Most reliable car ever made


Door handles stick up and have to be pushed down.

Rear wheel bearings and hubs $40.

4 shocks and struts $200.

Power steering leaks, but it's pretty slow so I just have to add some every two months or so.

Check engine light is on for exhaust recalculation; it doesn't affect performance and cost too much for me to care to replace it.

General Comments:

This car is great. I may have over paid for it a little back when I bought it. I used to buy whatever used car looked cool on Craigslist.

I got a super reliable car that seems like it's gonna keep on lasting. The other great thing is it gets fairly good MPG (around 30ish) and parts are really cheap.


Zippy enough.

A/C works.

Has a big enough trunk.

Easy to work on.

Cheap parts.


Seats are not that comfortable.

A fair bit of road noise, but not the worst I've driven.

This car has been great to me. I don't feel like it will just break down on me. It's the first beater used car that actually had every thing working.

It's getting a bit of rust on it now. I just use some spray paint, because who cares what it really looks like; I mean it's 20 years old, it's not like I'll lose anything on it.

The rear wheel wells and rear mount points are really rusted; I managed to put a jack through it.

I recommend this car if you can find one that has been maintained.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2017

28th Aug 2017, 11:51

Good review. The 90s was such a balanced time for cars. Every car I had from that time period had excellent reliability. Anything before the 90s is a little too old now, and anything after the year 2000 seems to be plagued with electronic problems.

I'll drive 90s cars till there's none left, but it's already getting harder to find any from that era in good condition now.

28th Aug 2017, 18:34

I agree. We had great luck with Civic and Accords then. And even the 80s worked better too. Later they were far more trouble prone. Especially in areas such as hardware. Locks, windows etc.

6th Sep 2017, 12:44

I totally agree. I feel like I was almost spoiled by starting my driving experience in cars from this era that were just so reliable, easy to use, and simple to service. There were many repairs we could do ourselves with standard tools, but even then servicing was generally cheap.

1997 Toyota Corolla LE 1.8


Feels like it'll last forever


Apart from the usual maintenance (oil, brakes), the only expense has been for new engine mounts recently, as there was considerable vibration in cold weather until the car was warmed up.

The gear selector light went out a while ago, and apparently replacement involves taking almost the whole car to pieces, so I won't bother.

General Comments:

Still gets good mileage. On a trip from Vancouver Island to Reno last summer, the average was 35 MPG.

Not a powerhouse, but the engine does the job. It's a very smooth and pleasant car to drive. Some people say the seats are a bit hard, but I like them and the driving position is just right for me. I never feel tired after a long journey.

Like another owner here, I like my older Corolla so much I bought my daughter one (a 1994) for university. It's a bit more spartan (base model), but has all the same virtues as mine.

Once these eventually wear out, I'll probably get some more! The newer Corollas don't seem to be in the same class for build quality and reliability. I'm happy to be cheap and cheerful.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2014

1st Mar 2014, 03:13

Keep buying / driving these 90's Toyotas. They are very economical and reliable. Avoid the newer ones (post 2005); that is when all the recalls occurred and quality went downhill. American and Korean manufacturers have really stepped up quality and design recently; Toyota now has catching up to do.

27th Jul 2014, 09:24

I'm about to buy a 1997 with 130k miles. Are you sure this is a reliable car?

27th Jul 2014, 12:09

Oh, absolutely.

28th Jul 2014, 23:31

The 1993-1999 Corollas are probably the most reliable and well put together Corolla you can get. There is always a chance you can buy a lemon that was poorly maintained, but if this car is not reliable - no other car in the world will match up to this reliability. Honda claims they do - I personally think they have good motors, but the gearboxes, shocks, CV joints, engine mounts, wheel bearing and many other aux parts seem to wear out lot faster, and the body feels like a paper bag.