Unbeatable reliability and quality
The lower rubber moldings of rear windows were "peeling off" when I bought the car (cost of repair: 250 $).
One part in one rear shock absorber broke at around 60 000 km (cost of repair: 350 $).
The left-side electric door lock switch broke at around 65 000 km (not repaired yet).
The exhaust pipe got disconnected at 70 000 km (cost of repair: 300 $).
I wanted the most trouble-free car, and that's exactly what I got. I bought the car after 12 years of very light use, so the mileage was quite low (51 500 km). It was in mint condition and still is.
The first thing I like about this car is its exceptional reliability and low cost of maintenance. Except for normal repairs that should be expected on any car (especially older ones), this Corolla never breaks and never lets me down.
The engine starts every morning, no matter how cold the weather is.
Fuel consumption is more than reasonable.
The overall quality of this car is obvious. Outside, its high-quality steel is very rust-resistant (my car is still completely rust-free). Inside, the plastics are thick and shiny, and give the interior the look of a more expensive car. Seats are covered with a soft velour that is pleasing to the touch.
Heating and air conditioning are both very efficient.
Early 2000s Corollas are not the most vigorous when it comes to performance, but they deliver reasonably.
The ride is surprisingly smooth, making it even more comfortable to drive than many more expensive cars I drove in the past. Passengers are always stunned by this car's ride comfort.
The direction is precise and the steering wheel feels light at the same time.
The dash board is quite user-friendly and well designed, although the cupholder cannot be used at the same time as the ashtray (which can be a problem if you enjoy the traditional coffee-cigarette combo).
Back seats feel a bit cramped. The car could be more spacious in general.
Winter driving is not amazing as the car feels very light and sensitive to thick snow.
I wouldn't push the car at speeds higher than 130 km/h as it lacks stability at high speed.
That said, my Corolla is a gem of a car. If you maintain it well, you can preserve its like-new appearance and stellar reliability for decades. My girlfriend drove her 1999 Corolla until it had 450 000 km on the meter, and still it was running just like new when she sold it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd October, 2013