2004 Toyota Corolla SOL 1.4 gasoline from Romania

Summary:

Comfortable, stable on the road, low consumption, bland styling.

Faults:

Clutch pedal got a slight free motion at the upper end of its path, fixed at dealer by strengthening some screws.

Gearbox (my hunch) developed a slight whistling under all gears, especially second, especially under acceleration or engine braking, but mostly all the time. 5-speed manual. Dealer says it's normal. I say they will suddenly "hear it" when the warranty runs out.

The engine runs smoothly, although startup is a bit slow.

Plastic cover on the underside of the side of the chassis (under the doors), on both sides, became unglued in places. I fear water will get in and corrode the metal. Dealer says not covered under warranty.

Plastic cover of the back left light assembly, in the trunk, is loose, probably from lifting the spare wheel cover too often (previous owner). Dealer says not covered under warranty.

One of the number plate illumination bulbs burned out, replaced it myself.

General Comments:

Goes great, until now. Consumption (outside) is about 5.5 liters/100km.

Seats are comfortable. I wanted seat covers, the dealer offered custom-made ones at 292 USD. What? Got some cheap universal seat covers, will buy new ones when these get dirty. The problem is, they don't fit in the back, especially the seat belt's lower connector is inaccessible.

Can't find winter wheels (steel). Will keep looking.

Stable in curves. Bad acceleration, but I watch the consumption anyway, not the 0-to-100 times.

If anyone knows about the whistling/crying gearbox issue, and how to fix it or get them fix it, please help me. The warranty expires this September and I read a new gearbox costs about 1000 USD. Of course, probably only some bearing is gone, but still. I suppose this can happen to any engine, actually less to a Toyota.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st September, 2007

10th Dec 2007, 11:08

I'm the original poster.

Found steel wheels. Original Toyota wheels at the dealer are expensive (104 EUR apiece), found some German-made replacements, especially made for this car, 63 EUR apiece. Could not find proper screws to mount the steel wheels, but the original screws from the alloy wheels are alloy AND steel wheel compatible, although they stick out quite a bit, with the steel wheels.

Gearbox whine still present, although not so noticeable, maybe due to the lower winter temperatures. I can't imagine why.

Car out of warranty, hopefully nothing really bad happens.

5th Dec 2010, 18:38

Still the original poster.

Bought the car in 2006 with 25000 km on it; now, it has 66000 km. All is well, except the gearbox whine still appears, from time to time. Also, sometimes it is a bit difficult to change gears, but this is to be expected on a six year old car (is it?).

Just changed engine and gearbox oil again (Mobil 1), also brake/clutch fluid (genuine Toyota), the car works well, although there is no big difference with respect to how it behaved before the change.

I keep feeding it with 95 octane fuel, occasionally with 99/100 octane.

Bought a Chinese GPS/DVD/etc unit for it (made for BYD F3, which is a Chinese knockoff of the Corolla, so the head unit fits great, except the steering wheel buttons do not work).

I keep looking for genuine Toyota parts (filters and all), for the next oil changes. There are plenty, but product codes vary by country of manufacture, so it's not clear if a part will fit my car or not.

2004 Toyota Corolla 160i GLE 1.6 petrol from South Africa

Summary:

Good car

Faults:

Engine Noise - This was high from the start, especially between 3000 and 5000 rpm at any speed or in any gear. I complained to Toyota South Africa, but they seemed to agree that the engine noise was the right one!

General Comments:

+ Car is extremely reliable. Never a single problem from purchase time at 0km to 90,000km.

+ Only complaint is with engine noise, which is a bit higher than I think.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th July, 2007