1996 Toyota Corolla LX from North America


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.

General Comments:

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

4th May 2010, 07:39

I was really pleased to read your review. Despite Toyota's recent history in regards to the faulty gas pedal, they used to produce a reliable econo box.

14th May 2010, 23:33

I just purchased a '96 AE102 Toyota Corolla. It has the 1.8L 7A-FE engine. 178,000 miles and it runs beautifully. It's in pretty good shape, few scratches here and there, clearcoat is coming off in a few spots, but otherwise it's in great condition.

I was really looking for a Corolla with a manual transmission, but couldn't let this one go. Only paid $1900. I've been searching for months and haven't been able to find a single Corolla in this shape for that kind of money. Most of them were upwards of 3 grand.

It needs a new radiator, rear sway bar links and a good tune-up (I'll be replacing the spark plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor, fuel filter, air filter, PCV valve, drive belts and timing belt and water pump soon). I'm doing the tune-up out of choice, it could probably go another 20,000 miles on all of the parts I just listed, but it's gotta last me for quite awhile, so I'm airing on the side of caution and spending a little money now to prevent spending a lot of money later. Think I got a pretty darn good deal.

1996 Toyota Corolla DX 1.8 from North America


Good reliable car


Front wheel bearing at 146K miles.

Engine mounts when purchased; the car at 141k miles.

Slight transmission leak when the car was purchased.

Brake booster failed at 158k miles.

General Comments:

I like this '96 Corolla DX station wagon. It took me about a year to find one in good condition. I purchased it at a dealer for $4700. The 1996 was the last year of production for the station wagon, and I wanted it because it was OBDII, as required for all '96 cars built in the U.S.

The car had poor acceleration when I first got it. I had a BG fuel injector/ induction service done at a professional shop, and that made a HUGE difference.

The car had a terrible engine vibration when the car was started in cold weather, early morning, and I had the engine mounts and transmission mounts replaced. It helped a lot, however I still get a lot of engine vibration. I should have gotten original Toyota parts, instead of the aftermarket ones.

Overall, the car does quite well, and I plan to keep it for a long time. I had a '97 DX that had better acceleration than this one, and I gave that to a relative. I like the cruise control, and the convenience of all the room in the rear of the station wagon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th February, 2010

7th Mar 2010, 06:16

I believe you meant to say that all cars SOLD in the U. S were required to be equipped with OBDII computer systems in 1996, not just cars built in the U.S.

Also, the station wagons were built in Japan.

22nd Dec 2010, 18:03

$4700? As nice as the 96 Corolla Wagon is, you paid too much. You should have paid no more than $3500, if that much.