2002 Toyota Corolla GLE 1.6i from South Africa

Summary:

Reilable but annoyingly boring

Faults:

The engine light came on the day I got this car. After inspection by the dealer, the oxygen sensor had to be replaced. Total cost of R1400.

I've had to replace 3 keys already. This is the first one of the RunX shape Corollas that came out, and the casing of the keys are simply made from cheap substandard plastic. Don't bother to get a replacement key from the dealers; it's way too expensive. I discovered a few places that can cut and code keys at a third of the price the dealers will quote.

The factory fitted integrated radio/CD is rubbish. Reception is bad and Toyota refuse to investigate the problem, even though it's a Toyota product.

The rear view mirror started vibrating so badly while driving that it almost made me car sick. Again Toyota refused to have a look at it, and insisted on replacing it with a new one, quoting me R1600. I took it off, replaced the mounting and the problem is solved.

I had a break in where the small window in the left rear door was smashed and the bigger window was simply forced down. The alarm wasn't triggered as it is not equipped with a motion sensor.

I'm never looking forward to servicing the car, because for some reason I always experienced bad service at the dealers.

Front seats lack lumbar support, especially for taller people. Not very comfortable after 300km.

On the plus side, I get excellent fuel economy thanks to the VVTI engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th March, 2014

17th Mar 2014, 01:38

That's true, the worst thing in these cars is that they are durable, because there aren't more boring cars...

2002 Toyota Corolla CE Plus 1.8L gasoline from North America

Summary:

Better, less expensive, used car options are available

Faults:

Timing chain cover leak at 75,000 km. Cost $750 to reseal the cover. (Dealership advised this was a labour intensive job, as the engine had to be removed from the engine bay, but this was questionable in retrospect.)

A bulb back lighting the HVAC control panel burnt out. Replaced with an aftermarket replacement bulb (less than $5), but it was difficult to find a bulb having the shape of the original bulb to fit the original green bulb cover.

Ventilation system emitted a foul odour unless the air conditioner was turned on.

The grey velour upholstery retained atmospheric dirt, and appeared soiled even with routine vacuuming and gentle cleaning.

General Comments:

I found myself driving more slowly when driving this car than when driving other cars. The engine, steering, throttle, and brake characteristics are not conducive to spirited driving.

The car was comfortable, performed adequately, and very fuel efficient. The powertrain sounded and felt refined for an economy compact car. The front suspension seemed to lack sufficient travel, as the struts would seem to use up their travel limit even on modest speed bumps at low speed. The factory radio was weak in power. In all other respects, the car was unremarkable.

Given Toyota's reputation for reliability and engineering quality, the aforementioned timing chain cover leak, lighting, and HVAC odour problems were disappointing, in view of the car's relatively low mileage, its gentle use, and regular maintenance and care, both before and during my ownership.

The only real compelling reason to choose this Corolla would be its fuel efficiency and expected higher than average reliability, but as actual experience has shown, expectations may not be reality.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th June, 2013

1st Jul 2013, 15:38

Low mileage? That's actually pretty high mileage.

What do you mean by a foul odour? That's pretty normal in older cars. Pretty much just wear and tear as far as I can tell.

2nd Jul 2013, 10:46

I would not consider 75,000 km (46,600 miles) to be particularly high mileage. It less than the mileage limit (100,000 km or 60,000 miles) for the factory powertrain warranty, which had expired in my case due only to the passage of time.

The HVAC odour was, in a word, "stinky".