2009 Toyota Corolla SE smaller gas engine from North America
Don't buy it, domestic brands are finally just as good
I wrote the best in-depth review on here and it never got posted. OK I have an '09 Corolla with 25k on it, bought it brand new, did all maintenance myself as specified. Never broken down but I have had a few issues.
Firstly electronic steering. It is definitely a pain, anyone who has driven this car finds themselves weaving like a drunk until they get the hang of it, and once you do you will be focusing on the road more than you ever thought possible. Fuel economy was at a steady 33 mpg according to the gauge, and is very sensitive to the type of oil used. Twice I've used non Toyota oil and both times, the fuel economy went down about 2 mpg. Yes the oil weight was identical. You need a special service tool to do oil changes.
Worn through one set of front brake pads, which occurred at about 20k. If you don't do your own brake jobs, I wouldn't consider this car due to the maintenance cost of having the brakes done every 20k. The braking system is soft, and the pedal looses pressure at a stoplight causing the car to creep forward. The antilock system engages way too fast on dirt roads. Rear drums probably almost ready for replacement due to the feel in the parking brake. Front tires worn out.
Interior plastic scratched up easy, dash and steering wheel yellowing from being under the sun. Plastic panel under glovebox broke off, stuck it in the trunk. One time the hazard lights started flickering and making non sequential clicking, but then went away. Plastic front clip nearly falling off, rubs on tires when making a sharp turn. Everything is extremely light on this car, including the doors which if dirty will catch and feel sticky on the jams when opening. Lots of wind noise, small water leak from drivers side window.
Comparing the engine sound to other small displacement motors, it sounds as if it has 150k on it already. Sometimes the transmission hits a strange shift point and jumps. Coming to a stop in second also is jumpy. Idles at 500 rpm's since new, which causes some vibration while stopped.
Despite everything, the advantages are that it does stop well, handles good, gets good fuel economy and has yet to leave me stranded anywhere. I like the added safety with all of the airbags. The telescoping wheel is nice too.. If you are expecting the build quality of say a early 90's Camry, Civic or Accord, then you need to realize it's 2009, they don't make them like they used to.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 6th July, 2009
27th Nov 2009, 18:51
NO, domestic brands are BETTER. Look at all the blue circles on the Corolla reviews. Toyota long ago dropped below Ford and GM in build quality and reliability. In addition, Toyota now holds the dubious distinction of having the largest safety recalls since the invention of the automobile. We had two Japanese cars, They were enough to make us domestic fans for life.