1998 Toyota Corolla LE 1.8
I hate it but respect it. More reliable than your body's organs!
I hate how it looks, how it drives, how it steers, and how it handles. It is the ugliest, most boring car brand in current production, but do I care about all that? No, I wanted a $1800 workhorse, and got rid of it as soon as I no longer needed it.
The low power band means you can shift at 2500 or less, so it's quiet and smooth. The suspension is very smooth; you won't expect that from a small cheap car. Get on the highway, and that soft suspension transmits every single road irregularity and it becomes miserable. Also, mine had a shake after 60 mph that didn't go with alignment or balancing, and the car isn't crashed. Don't speed, tight maneuver, or take corners fast with that econobox; it body-rolls like a freakin' boat. Newer Corollas are stiffer for stability purposes, and have a smoother highway ride.
30 MPG pure city driving. Never made a trip in it, but with long gear ratios, doing 60 at a low 2000 RPM, that thing can do more than 40 MPG.
It's a great first car and emergency car that will never let you, and if for some reason you can stand sitting in this thing and looking at it, then it's perfect.
Civics perform better ("ricers made it a shame car") and are reliable in stock condition, but nothing beats a Corolla that you can literally not change the oil and it will keep running. A guy on a Toyota forum said he blew a Corolla engine after 90k miles of not changing the oil! I don't recommend this at all, but it proves how reliable that thing is; many have passed 1 million miles.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st March, 2013
If you're still running on the original suspension, it'll definitely be tired.
When I got mine, I replaced the springs, shocks and bushes, and it drove like a dream and was tight enough to have a bit of fun with.
When I got it, the tired components made it roll around and float.
Suspension lasts about perhaps 10-15 years before it needs to be replaced, unless you want to float about.