Ever killed one of these? I almost have.
A seal on the clutch slave cylinder developed a leak at 181,000km.
The CV joints appear to be failing, they started to make grinding noises at 186,000km.
The hydraulic lifters sound seriously ill.
Excessive pinging on regular (91 octane) unleaded.
All door locks are broken, the hatch and the ignition barrels are badly worn. So much so that you can use a rusty bread knife as a spare key.
Cooling system is badly corroded and has a small leak.
Driver's seat is a little saggy at the bottom.
Synchromesh on second gear has all but disintergrated.
HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) system no longer fully operational.
Standard Toyota-issue rust around the fuel filler cap.
This particular example appears to be very tired. Even so, it feels like it will still plod along for a few more years before it puffs and wheezes for its last time.
The long version:
This was the cheapest Corolla of this age and series that I could find, but it also seems to be the nastiest. Given more time and money I could have found a much better one.
Unburstable reliability. Despite this car living anything, but a pampered life, this little beast just will not curl up and die.
Great handling. The AE80/AE82 Corollas were the first of the FWD Corollas that we all know and love today. The steering is quite light and precise, cornering ability is very good and the whole car has an air of agility to it.
Fuel economy is quite good, 8l/100km in the city and around 6l/100km on the highway are fairly reasonable expectations.
Interior space is excellent. I'm sure that this car was owned by at least one sumo wrestler in its time, as the driver's seat is very saggy around the bot. Nothing that an old pillow and a car seat cover didn't fix, though.
Engine is slightly underpowered. The 1.3 engine struggles a tad, and seems to wear more quickly than the 1.6 engines. Symptoms of wear with this engine include some minor oil burning, excessive pinging on regular and noisy lifters/tappets. It's probably an easy rebuild, but even if this particular example was worth preserving (see below) it would be an excellent opportunity to install a 1.6 instead.
General Toyota rust, plus some extra bonus rust in the A-Pillar. Unfortunately, this makes spending money on this particular example something of a futile exercise.
These cars might be just TOO reliable. Many Toyota buyers don't even realise they need to put oil and coolant into their cars - they are that reliable that they only exhibit signs of pain after around a dozen years or so of total neglect.
Corolla - When it's good, it's very very good. When it's bad, it's still usually OK. Does anyone want to buy a cheap, slightly used 1986 Corolla? :)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd June, 2002