1998 Toyota Corolla GS 3DR 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Clutch master cylinder leak; just topping it up for now, but will be done soon.

Driver's seat belt, when over extended, doesn't retract; mildly annoying.

Slight shaking on braking, due to worn front brake disks.

General Comments:

It's a better drive than my Lexus Ls400, if not as responsive as the Renault, and whilst a bit sluggish to get moving, cruises nicely at motorway speeds.

It's comfortable, and doesn't feel as small as it is.

Trim, seat, dash materials, trim and overall build is as good as my old Lexus, and light years better than my 2003 Renault Scenic.

Boot space is at a premium, and as the seat bases don't slide, and the seat backs are inclined, I have to have the rear seat backs unlatched, tilted forwards, so the dogs aren't pinned to the glass.

Feels a bit clunky until it warms up, which is probably the miles on it.

Very reliable so far, even in the sub zero weather we recently had, and I don't worry about it, unlike the Scenic.

Even the air con still works, as do the electric windows, remote central locking, sunroof, and alarm system.

Bargain for £550, especially as it had already had a new clutch and timing belt.

I admit it's a boring car, but it's 3 door, red, with funky Wolfrace alloys, and looks good in a generic way, and much, much better than the 5 door models.

I get 36 MPG (Imperial) at mostly motorway speeds, and find the handling safe and secure.

I can't think of another car I'd prefer sub £1000, that would be as good as this overall.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th December, 2010

31st Jan 2011, 08:25

Update: Now @ 117,000 miles (bought at 110,000), changed oil and filter; using Castrol Magnatec, and even (finally!) replaced the clutch master cylinder; which was an easy enough job, but did scratch my arms a bit.

I bought the Aisin clutch master cylinder for £56 and it's the same brand as fitted to the car from new.

Polished it a couple of times, and wash it regularly and it looks pretty good, although smelling decidedly doggy inside now. :)

Satisfying little car to own, the build quality is just so good!

10th Feb 2012, 17:55

Update: Now @ 121,000 miles. I had laid it up when the clutch wouldn't disengage, but my unreliable Volvo 940 meant I took Corolla for an MOT after sitting on the drive for 9 months, and it sailed through!!! Now back to being my daily driver, but I find I cannot get a comfy seating position, and it's a much noisier car to drive than the Volvo 940,. On the plus side, it's built better than the Volvo, is more reliable than the Volvo, has never broken down, and even the clutch fault was just because I hadn't adjusted the clutch pedal when I did the master cylinder.

Good commuter car.

1998 Toyota Corolla VE 1.8 from North America


Burns oil at only 100K!


Piston rings are shot.

Evap system malfunctioning.

Donut gasket at exhaust manifold is leaking.

General Comments:

I bought this car based on all of the glowing reviews I had read of Toyota durability, and the fact that it had all dealer service records was an added incentive; what a mistake. The car burns a quart of oil every 1,000 miles, has the acceleration of a Yugo, the evap system (check engine light on) releases an intermittent fuel vapor, and the exhaust donut gasket between manifold and pipe is leaking... which means I get to SMELL how much oil it's burning.

The worst part; I learned after I bought the car that all of the defects I mentioned are common ones for this car (especially the oil burning).

Toyota quality... yeah, OK.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th November, 2010

15th Feb 2013, 08:20

There is something definitely wrong there. I'm suspecting the crankcase ventilation system could possibly be not working, and if it's been burning oil for a while, your combustion chambers are coked up badly, leading to the poor performance. I have a nasty feeling that something happened to the engine that isn't showing in those service notes, since they're just service notes and not repairs. It may have suffered oil starvation at some point and someone kept driving it. What makes me suspect, is there are still thousands on the road running original engines at twice that mileage with no sign of engine smoke. Then again, it may have indeed been a lemon engine.

15th Feb 2013, 16:18

You definitely should not be burning ANY oil at only 100,000 miles. I also suspect some sort of prior engine damage or possibly an improper engine break-in. New engines require some high revving to properly seat the rings. If this isn't done, they will use oil from day one. When I bought my first new car (a Plymouth) I drove it very slow and easy for the first 500 miles. It always used a quart of oil every 1000 to 1500 miles. I have since learned that cars need to broken in using varying speeds and bursts of full throttle acceleration. I've broken in all my other new cars flat out, and none have used a drop of oil.

16th Feb 2013, 14:34

The faulty PCV system is one of the main causes of Toyota's well documented sludge problem.

17th Feb 2013, 17:59

Most Toyotas have sludging problems (as well as a lot of other problems), but not even a poorly built Corolla should be using oil at only 100,000 miles.