This is my second Corolla, my previous one being a 1986 DX model.
Let me start off by saying that this car is quite comfortable. The velour seats are very stain resistant and the seats are firm enough to hug your body, but soft and supple enough to cushion you from bumps in the roadway. The climate control works well, and the A/C blows cold. If the vents were a bit larger, the ventilation in this car would be even better.
The performance of the 120 horsepower 1.8 liter engine is adequate, and gives decent fuel economy (22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway). The transmission in this car is the real icing on the cake. This has to be one of the best four speed automatics on the planet. The transmission runs through the gears so smoothly that you can barely feel it engage.
Even though the Corolla LE has front and rear stabilizer bars and the wider P185 tires, the handling is less than impressive. In emergency handling maneuvers (I have come across a couple deer on the roads around my house), the four spoke steering wheel design prevented me from turning the car quickly and it squirmed all over the road. For everyday driving, however, the handling is bearable and the suspension provides a supple ride.
Overall, my Corolla has been very reliable. I don't think that is any surprise, considering Toyota's reputation for reliability. The only serious problem has been the solenoid.
One thing I can say is that my 1986 Corolla was a lot more fun to drive. It was a lot smaller and seemed to be more nimble in the bends. My 1999 Corolla feels very heavy and bloated by comparison. Sure, it is more comfortable, but I just don't enjoy driving it as much as my '86. I think my next car will be a Mazda 3 because I want that fun to drive factor.
That said, the Corolla is a very good compact at a decent price. Just don't expect great performance.