I am writing this review on my Father's car, which he has had for the last 6 years, and to date, the only thing that I have had to replace on it for him was the rear exhaust box support strap, which corroded through. The exhaust itself is still the original, after 10 years on the car, and still seems very solid. Granted, he doesn't do many miles in the car, as he is now 70, and only uses it for short local runs, but it has always started, and has never let him down.
One problem I found was that when I went to switch the A/C on, the button pushed through the dashboard! I had to get my hand up behind the dash to push it back into its housing - he subsequently put a screw into it to stop it happening again.
Otherwise, it's been impeccably reliable.
This car is pretty ugly in my opinion, but it's not my car! However, it redeems itself with its ride quality, and the inside is definitely a better place to look at the car from than the outside.
It is a second facelift of the early 90's Corolla shape, and is very long in the tooth in its body shape, but the dreadful first facelift with the frog eyed front has now been toned down, so this model doesn't look quite so hideous from the front. This second facelift wasn't made for long though before Toyota finally retired it for the all new Corolla in late 2001.
My father loves it though, and I have noticed that this model of Toyota does seem to be favoured by the retired generation, although I'm no one to talk, as I own a Rover 45.
The car, being the GLS, is the top of the range model, and has all the bells and whistles, and a very ergonomic dash layout, with the radio display at eye level in the top of the dash. It has nice comfy seats, but the sunroof reduces headroom, and I found this to be limited for me when sat in the drivers seat, and when getting into the car, as the doors don't extend into the roofline.
The engine is very responsive for its size, and acceleration is remarkably quick, as this 1.4 VVTi was a new engine in this model line, replacing the earlier 1.3 units. It also gets a very good fuel economy figure of in excess of 40mpg, which my father also likes, given the price of fuel these days.
In summing up, this car is not for the fashion conscious, and its looks are like Marmite - you either love them, or hate them, but it's a very good car if you can live with its looks, and don't care what other people think.
Prices for these cars seem to be holding up as well, as people still want them down to Toyota's legendary reliability, and I would have to agree that this car has been no exception to the rule.
My overall rating for this car is 8 out of 10, but its looks are the polarising factor, which otherwise spoil a very good car.