2006 Toyota Corolla CE 1.8 from North America
GLC (great little car)
Cabin fan is on its way out now, at 145k, but that's an easy fix.
Other than that, zero problems.
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.