Most reliable car on the market
Replaced a CV joint at 143000 miles (350 bucks).
Replaced an ignition cylinder because someone put the wrong key in it at 15000 miles (100 bucks).
Replaced rear struts, 180000 miles (350 bucks).
Front rotors need replacing.
Note that the CV joint could be considered 'normal wear and tear', and the struts and rotors definitely are. I wouldn't have replaced them if they didn't start banging in the winter.
I bought this car for 2200 bucks in 2004, and drove it across the country three days later without so much as even opening the hood. Going on seven years now, I have done NO maintenance to this car outside of oil changes twice a year (April and Oct) and replacing the plugs and wires once. Neglecting even what some would call 'routine' maintenance, this car has done nothing but keep running reliably time and time again. I must have changed the front brakes at some point, but I don't remember when.
The Corolla will not win any style or performance awards, but that's not why you buy it. I've driven it across country four times, and it has endured a lot of hard New England winters and a driver who neglects it. I still get 35-40 mpg in the summer, and have never had a tank of gas below 30mpg. I recommend this car to everyone I can find.
There are now five in our family. Another 96 with 230000 miles (timing belt just went, but that's it), a third 96 with 60000 miles on it, and a 95 with 160000 miles, and a 2007 Corolla with 38,000 miles. All of these cars are fantastically reliable. Also, my mother has a 2004 Sienna with 200000 miles on it that has never had a problem. Toyota has manufactured the most reliable vehicles on the planet, period. I highly recommend them.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd May, 2010