2006 Toyota Corolla CE 1.8 from North America

Summary:

GLC (great little car)

Faults:

Cabin fan is on its way out now, at 145k, but that's an easy fix.

Other than that, zero problems.

General Comments:

The Corolla blends in, so you'll never stand out. But I like that. It looks nice without being excessive in any way. Bland, but not offensive. Some call it boring, but I rather like it.

The ride is surprisingly smooth for a compact; most of the compacts I've driven - including an 01 Corolla - had pretty stiff suspension. The newer Corolla rides a lot more like my 01 Camry than the 01 Corolla, honestly. The 06 handles the crappy roads out in the country well, though, and does just fine in the curves (though you'll never mistake it for a BMW).

It also gives plenty of warning before the tires let go, which is a big plus for me. My 01 Camry was like that, but my 01 Corolla had a nasty tendency to fishtail suddenly under emergency braking. Not the 06; nice and stable.

Reliability. This is why I drive Toyotas. Growing up, my family always had GM cars (almost exclusively Chevy); three Cavaliers, a Safari 6000 wagon, a Celebrity, a Lumina, a Nova, and a Malibu (not necessarily in that order). All have had numerous problems, from everything with a 3.1L V6 getting a leaky head gasket by 100k, the 1990 Cavalier's driver's side door falling off one time when I opened it, the 02 Cavalier's window motors dying (all four of them!) before 50k, the Lumina's transmission needing to be replaced by 125k, the Celebrity constantly dying while driving... When the time came to buy my own car, I decided I was through with that mess.

I bought the 01 Corolla with 78k; drove it 20k before it got totalled. The 01 Camry I got with 108k, sold it at 185k still driving like it did when I bought it and zero issues. This 06 I encouraged my mother to buy (the decision to buy new was hers, not mine, though), and we haven't been disappointed.

After 145k, two accidents, and a nasty hail storm, the car still runs like new. I still get 29mpg in the city, without trying for economy. Never had any unusual issues of any kind, just regular maintenance needed due to normal wear and tear. In spite of the accidents (which, granted, were fairly minor, though both damaged the front end) the alignment is still spot-on. The doors all still shut with that profoundly satisfying *thunk* of a new, well-made car. I'm actually putting in a cruise control, so it'll be more fun on road trips, and I'm fully expecting to keep this thing well over 200k.

A note about people saying they were told their cars couldn't be aligned: be suspicious. I took a family member's 09 Yaris they'd just bought to a local national chain shop (won't say who) for an alignment, because it was wandering a fair bit on the highway. They were told it couldn't be done, because the chassis had been bent. They claimed a little chip in the undercarriage was the only remaining sign of an accident bad enough to misalign the chassis, and we'd have to pay them $1200 for the part alone to fix it. I said, "Uh huh, sure," and left. Closer examination revealed three of the four tires on the car were different brands, and all four were at widely varying levels of wear. She got the tires replaced, bam, zero wandering even at 85mph.

Another time, my sister took her Civic in to get her brake pads replaced, and they wanted her to buy new calipers, pointing out how the pads on one side of the wheel were more worn than the others... they didn't tell her that was as it should be, seeing as her car was designed with calipers that pull from one side instead of both. They did, however, tell her it was a very common problem with the new Civics (sound familiar?). There are con men out there, and they may well tell you it's a common problem. That redirects your anger at the vehicle manufacturer, rather than the greedy jerk trying to pull your chain (and wallet).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th June, 2012

11th Jun 2012, 22:51

Nice review. You talk more about your past vehicles instead of the one on topic.

8th Jul 2012, 18:58

Nice review! I recently bought an '06 Corolla. Glad to see it really is as tough as the older Toyota's are (judging by what yours has gone through!) I also have a '96 Corolla. 208,000 miles and it's running strong. It's taken quite a beating as well. Used to use it to haul heavy auto parts and tires around almost all the time (couldn't afford a truck!). Eventually the rear suspension needed some attention... at 200,000 miles. Everything else is original.

My '06 is a baby with only 70,000 miles. I absolutely love it.

2006 Toyota Corolla CE 1.8L from North America

Summary:

My 2nd Corolla. I can still see why it's the number 1 selling car in the world

Faults:

Just bought the car, so nothing!

General Comments:

About to become a full-time college student, I purchased my old car (a '97 Saturn SL2) with only 80,000 miles on it, hoping it would last me through the rest of high school, and all the way through college. It rather quickly gave me a series of problems, and proved itself to be hopelessly unreliable.

So, I purchased my new (to me) 2006 Toyota Corolla, and stopped wasting my time with older (and domestic) vehicles. This is my second Toyota Corolla. The first one is still being driven today by my younger brother. It's a 1996 with over 200,000 miles on it. Still runs like new!

My new 2006 Corolla is a big improvement over my old '96, and compared to my old Saturn, it's a Mercedes.

Let's start off with the power train. Toyota actually hasn't changed very much between the old 1.8L (like the one in my old '96 Corolla) and the 1.8L in my new Corolla. The block is now made from aluminum, and a timing chain with VVT-i is now used. The difference in power is quite obvious. The 1.8L in the old Corolla is rated at 105 HP. This new Corolla has 130 HP. Obviously, the car isn't fast, but the power produced by the small 4-cylinder is more than adequate, and easily gets this light car up to speed on the highway. It will happily hum along at 65-70 with no problem (I honestly almost never drive any faster than this, and usually don't go over 60). I was very surprised by how smooth running this little engine is. It's quiet at all speeds, and doesn't vibrate much like most 4-cylinders do when the car is in Drive, but stopped.

The ride is very good for a typical economy car. It easily soaks up the bumps in the poorly paved roads of my small hometown. Suspension noise is very low as well. As for handling, it's typical Toyota. It will go around most corners with little complaint, but lacks good road feel and the steering is just a little vague. I have to say that the steering is actually much more direct than I expected. The steering in the '96 has a very vague feeling to it, and my mothers car (an '09 Camry) is even worse.

The 4-speed automatic transmission got reviews as being "dated" in a car this new. For me, it feels fine. It's the same transmission as in my old '96, so it's no different to me. I actually have noticed one slight difference though. It tends to hunt for gears on hills a little more often than my old Corolla. All of today's automatics do this, they are constantly trying to keep engine RPMs low to improve fuel economy.

Interior quality is superb. No rattles or squeaks, and the fit and finish is spot on. My only real complaint for the interior is the driving position. I'm 6'1", and I fit quite easily without having to have the seat all the way back, however, the seat at first felt like it was up too high, even though it was adjusted all the way down, so my legs are more upright than I am used to (in the old Corolla, and the Saturn, my legs were basically just straight out in front of me, so I got used to this position). This isn't uncomfortable for me, just a bit strange, but I am slowly adapting to it.

My other complaint (if you can call it that) is that it doesn't have power locks. This is actually the first car I've ever had that doesn't have power locks, so it's taken some getting used to, having reach over and push the lock open to let someone in or open a back door.

The exterior styling is a bit bland, but I wasn't looking to stand out, I need pure function and reliability. The paint is a dark grey metallic. It looks quite nice actually. I can still see my reflection in it (something I couldn't do with the old Corolla, due to it being painted with only flat black primer).

The trunk is quite large for a car this size, however, the trunk lid and rear end in general are rather tall, making rearward visibility not real great. Overall visibility is very good, surprisingly as most cars today have horrible blind spots due to curtain airbags and such.

Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase. I paid very little for this car at a trusted dealer that my family has purchased several cars from before.

My favorite part about this car? It came with a free LIFETIME warranty. Can't beat that. Only problem I can foresee, is that if this car proves to be as reliable as my old '96 Corolla, I'll never get the chance to use that warranty!

Before I'm criticized for writing a review so early in my ownership, if you look at my reviews for my other cars, you will see that I regularly update my reviews with new information on my vehicles, problems that have come up, and some of the pros and cons of the vehicle that I have discovered in different situations. With that in mind, I will update soon!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2012

9th Mar 2012, 19:38

Your problem is easy to solve - you can get central locking kits all over the place. Your local auto electrician may stock them as a compliment to some alarms. They don't cost that much either.

10th Mar 2012, 14:37

Great choice of car, I own a 1999 Corolla 1.8 auto and a 1996 Geo Prizm 1.6 auto. The Geo was bought by myself with 103k miles, it now has 353k miles! Very little work done, same trans, motor!

The Prizm has the same Toyota engine as your brother 1996 Corolla!

He may need to do some cleaning on the intake manifold and replace the EGR valve at the 200k mile mark; very easy DIY!

You made a great choice!