Enjoyable and reliable
The usual wear and tear items, nothing extraordinary. A bit of rust here and there, but kept at bay by repairs whenever rust is sighted (labour cost is cheap in Malaysia).
Replaced gearbox with a used unit at about 300,000km due too bad 4th gear.
The car was originally a 72bhp 1.3 12-valve carburettored SOHC (2E engine) model with 5 speed manual transmission. At about 450,000km (in the year 2004) we had the car converted to AE82 1.6GT specs - it got the 130bhp 1.6 DOHC EFI 4A-GE engine, low-ratio 5 speed manual gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes, dash/instruments and all usable ancillaries (eg. the strut bar) from the front end of a 1986 AE82 1.6GT imported from Japan (they are called "half-cuts" in local lingo) which only had 119,000km on the clock.
Whether in its original 72bhp 1.3 12-valve SOHC form or subsequent 130bhp 1.6 24-valve DOHC form, the car is very reliable and cheap to run.
The car is a FWD. It handles well (better now, with the firmer AE82 1.6GT suspension) and rides comfortably.
Power-assisted rack and pinion steering is quite sharp.
Both 1.3 and 1.6 engines are economical, smooth and eager. However, the lower geared transmission that is part and parcel of the AE82 1.6GT DOHC package makes high-speed cruising a bit busy.
The 5 door Liftback configuration is practical and looks quite sporty. However, due to its rarity in this part of the world (Malaysians prefer 4 door sedans and hence the 4 door sedan model of the Corolla is more prolific here), Liftback-specific parts like the taillights can be hard to source.
My family is very happy with this delightful car and will never sell it!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th June, 2006