2001 Toyota Corolla S 1.8L VVT-i from North America


Very economical, relatively sporty (with S-package), reliable little car


Fender Bender Accident:

Replaced front bumper, supports, headlights, grill, splash guards under engine bay.

All post-collision work done by Toyota dealer. Great service dept., terrible sales dept. Columbus, OH (USA).

No problems whatsoever with the car. Has been a very reliable, economical, and surprisingly sporty and nimble little mobile.

Only complaint: OEM Goodyear tires were worn out by about 38,000 miles. The OEM tires were not very good in snow/rain and did not handle well.

Replaced the OEM Goodyear tires with Dunlop SP Sport A2 at 46,000 miles. Much better ride and handling (fitting the S's suspension upgrades) and great snow/rain traction. Very pleased with new tires 2,000 miles in.

Front seats could be a bit more supportive for larger frames. Lack of lumbar support on long trips troublesome.

Interior fit and finish is beginning to show it's age and quality (you get what you pay for).

General Comments:

My wife bought this car without me seeing it or riding in it first.

I was originally slightly upset since she had been considering a 2000 Honda Civic SI (still on lot).

After driving it I wasn't upset anymore. The car is surprisingly quick and nimble for a 4dr.

The S package is nice, with good stabilizer bar support both front and back and nice alloy wheels. Handling is surprisingly nimble for a 4-dr small sedan.

Engine is very nice, plenty of power (unless loaded down) and shifts very nicely. The amount of torque is surprising from this engine as well.

Excellent gas mileage even when driving aggressively. Have recorded 40mpg on trips.

The engine bay is very mechanic-friendly (for when the time comes).

Wife loves the outside temperature gauge. Sunroof is a nice option.

Bottom line:

Very economical, relatively sporty (with S-package), reliable little car.

Toyota builds good cars and drive trains.

Would highly recommend to somebody considering a compact 4-dr.

Paid only $16,000 for it in late 2000 (2001 model). Very good bargain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2004

2001 Toyota Corolla GS 1.4 VVTi from UK and Ireland


A no-nonsense workhorse


The following problems were all fixed under warranty:

The plastic knock strip on the side came loose.

The ignition key developed poor contacts at 50,000 miles.

The windscreen wiper spindles wore out at 70,000 miles.

The front brake disks were heavily scored at 60,000 miles. These were replaced under warranty, but we paid for the replacement pads. I was surprised that Toyota volunteered to pay for the disks as I would regard this as a wear and tear item.

General Comments:

This car is used for a small business and is sometimes used to ferry cats and dogs about. We had a Toyota designed dog gate fitted to the back which was expensive (£100) but has proven to be much better than standard universal fit items. The interior has been distressed by the animals to some extent, but has worn very well in general.

Overall the car has been used on poor quality rural roads, often heavily pot-holed, but in spite of that it has stood up very well and has no squeaks or rattles at all.

The paintwork is quite heavily chipped, particularly on the bonnet, but there are no signs of rust.

The equipment levels on this car are very good with power steering, active brakes, remote central locking, front electric windows, air conditioning and a trip computer all as standard. We added a CD player to the standard radio/cassette, but this is a little cumbersome to use.

The ride and handling are an improvement on previous Corolla models, but it still feels more detached than other cars of this class (e.g. Focus or Astra).

The engine is one of the best of it's size I have come across. There is a very strong torque band between 1800 to 5000 rpm and this makes it feel much more powerful than it's cylinder capacity would indicate. In fact, I have driven this back-to-back with 1.6 litre versions of the Focus, Astra and Nissan Pulsar (Almera) and it feels more responsive and powerful than those models.

The fuel consumption is generally very good and the official figures of 42 mpg (imperial) are easily achievable with up to 50 mpg possible with gentle use. This figure does drop if it is used in stop-start traffic or on particularly poor rural roads and it also drops if driven too aggressively - it can be fast or efficient, but not both at the same time.

The interior is fairly comfortable, but is not very spacious. The driver's seat can be a problem for tall drivers and if the front seats are fully back the rear bench is only suitable for children. The rear bench is also restricted by head space.

On the one long journey we used this on (800 round trip) it proved to be surprisingly comfortable.

The boot is large for a car of this class although it is long rather than deep.

Overall the car is very well made and mechanically excellent, but it's general design is rather old fashioned - more a good alternative to the old Ford Escort rather than the Focus. The car is UK made and it does not seem to have suffered in quality from it's move from Japan.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th January, 2004

2nd Sep 2008, 09:23

Hi. How did you manage to get an aftermarket Cd player in? Are there fascia adapters available? Why is it cumbersome to use?