1992 Toyota Corolla DX 1.6L 4AFE 3spd from North America
Excellent No-Bark Underdog In Search Of More Bite!!!
NO HORSEPOWER!!! Factory rated at 102hp so, coupled to an auto 3spd, I'm pushing MAYBE 60whp!!!
Radiator was leaking after a few years; replaced it with a used one in good condition - still going strong.
OEM paper speakers blew within a few years. I replaced them with Kenwoods and Pioneers. The factory radio died about 8 years later so I upgraded to a Kenwood MP3 unit.
Plastic door handles break easy though, for some unknown reason, elderlies use them as handles.
Dome light is dead and shorted; tried replacing with a new bulb, but shorts soon after replacing - I just ignore it.
Front struts were shot at about 150k miles. Rears are giving in.
Replaced timing belts and water pump at about 70k miles, so twice now.
Starter gave signs of not wanting to work last year for a full year. It finally gave out, not bad for 12+ years of service; my fault for ignoring it. Was stranded and it's automatic so no "popping the clutch".
Blew a tranny due to NASA HPDE track events - my fault. :(
When pushed to the limits, it's a FWD so it "pushes"/understeers.
Exhaust manifold cracked and leaked. Replacement wasn't TOO bad and done it ourselves. No WONDER it has no power, look at what it has to breath through!
Replaced the air filter with a drop in K&N filter - honestly, can't tell the difference at all.
Exhaust manifold bolt head snapped off recently and leaked. Had it tapped and Heli-Coiled with a new bolt.
There's a slight clacking on the 4th cylinder's valves; mechanic says it's out of tolerance. Will just have to take it easy; watch out world, my 65 whp will show you! ;)
Wish the car came with anti-roll bars! Atleast in the front (or rear depending on how you want to drive)!!!
Did I mention, NO HORSEPOWER!!!
Besides my faults, just regular maintenance and wear and tear - VERY reliable.
Since it's technically my "mom's" car, I grew up with it. Lots of memories so lots of sentimental values. I won't lie and say it's a Ferrari in disguise though!
Smooth riding until I upgraded to the 50 series tires and bigger wheels. These wheels and tires made it a decent performer compared to the ice skate thin OEM 13inchers it came with.
Decent mileage for it's age of 28mpg on combined city/freeway. I've heard of consistent 30mpg or more from the 5 speed manuals or the 4speed auto.
Pretty tough car: my mom's rear ended a van (at low crawling speeds) on the freeway with no damage to either party. A chick driving an Explorer rear ended me when I was stopped at a red light (5-10mph) and left me with very little damage of slightly chipping paint on the top side of the rear bumper. Mom's pulled off from the curb onto the side of a speeding truck and only got a gashed corner on the front bumper.
VERY happy and satisfied with this car.
It is SERIOUSLY underpowered. When I was presented with the opportunity to track this car in stock "mom's car" form, I thought, what the heck! For safety reasons, I made two upgrades: bolted on 15x6 steel rims from a Scion wrapped in $40/tire Kumho summer all seasons, 195/50R15 Ecstas AND Hawk HP Plus RACE pads.
My first weekend was at Willowsprings and, funny to say, I was impressed with the way the car handled! On turn two, the sweeper, the Corolla would be on three wheels; the inside rear wheel (rear passenger) would be completely off loaded and people running in faster cars would back off JUST to watch! HAHA! For this track, you NEVER lift off the accelerator except for turns 3 and 5, which is also your ONLY necessary braking areas! This is a GREAT car to learn from since it's so underpowered; I'm aerodynamically drag limited to 85mph on the front straight and about 93mph in the back straight at Willows.
Since I'd upgraded to race pads, the brakes squeals like no tomorrow. I'll accept this though, since it bites HARD from cold ALL the way to whatever you can dish out - I was at California Speedway with the car in March where you enter the infield off from the high speed oval. To make this turn, you MUST slow from about 100mph (I wish!!!) to about 40mph to make a tight 90 degree left/right turn. Talk about major brake wear and fade. Yeah, even Mom's Corolla brake faded... Anyway, after two full days of driving, the pads were STILL practically new; this is after 3 race weekends (2 Willows, 1 Cal Speedway). These Hawks do love eating them rotors though! I have deep furrows on my rotors but at least replacements are cheap!
If you're ever at a SoCal NASA event, look for me in the white Corolla running in the HPDE 3 groups. Dare I dream, running this car as is with the big boys in HPDE 4 (Corvettes, Mustangs, EVOs, STi, etc.)?
Well, Buttonwillow calls for this weekend... ;)
In short, don't underestimate the econocars of yesteryear! Some are underpowered, but, given a chance (ie decent sized tires and brakes) they can be tons of reliable fun!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th April, 2006