Having driven all sorts of cars before finally buying the clearly superior Mazda 3, I do not understand the popularity of the Corolla. What a boring car with a hideous cheapo interior of ugly plastic. Driving the car almost put me to sleep. Dull performance overall. The Corolla does seem to get better gas mileage than the Mazda however and should be reliable.
How to understand the popularity of the Corolla?
Well there are a lot of people out there just looking for cheap, dependable transportation. Most probably just need something they can depend on to commute to work, run errands etc. in reasonable comfort. The Corolla certainly fits these requirements. You must remember not everybody who drives is looking for a canyon racer.
To the reviewer!
Sir! You did not mention a single problem, other than cheap plastics and you miss your Buick.
I personally believe in my 11 years of motoring, the biggest mistake I committed was to buy an "American" car. That was so called high quality GMC Vandura, with 6.2L petrol engine.
The Vandura used to consume 22 litres of petrol per 100km. A 6.7L engine that is less than 140hp? What kind of engineering is that? And every bit of van got rusted like junk when it was only 6 years old. I had leaking fluids and radiator. It was such a shame. Technically it was not too bad, only minor things broke, e.g. Ignition coil, brakes etc. But when it's consuming 10 litres of petrol only on your way local market, it is not worth it.
Now I drive a Mitsubishi Lancer 1.6L. And this 1.6L engine is 113hp. Much better than the Vandura and consumes only 6L/100km. Being an engineer, this what I call a "masterpiece of engineering".
1.5 hour job to replace an air filter for a VW Passat? You are kidding? Sorry, you local garage must have been running a scam last time you visited. The air filter box on these cars are easily located, and the top cover can be taken off removing a couple of clips. It's a 2 minute job to replace this part on a Passat.
A few years ago I owned an older Geo Prizm (1990) that had 120,000+ miles on it. Back in 2002 I owned a brand new Pontiac Sunfire and a VW Jetta Wagon equipped with the VR6 engine.
The Prizm (which is basically a Corolla) was a much better and much more comfortable small car than the Sunfire. The engine was more refined (as was the rest of the vehicle).
The Jetta was an absolutely superb vehicle, although I cannot speak of its long term reliability since I only kept it for a year.
The Sunfire did have it's strong points - very good MPG's and a superb stereo system, however it just wasn't as well-built a vehicle as the Jetta or Prizm.
I have owned some extremely well-built and reliable domestics, and some equally superb imports. It just seems that the domestic manufacturers have been slow to build a small car that isn't "cheap" or "unrefined". Hopefully that is changing, it seems to be.
I can't really comment on the 2009 Corolla, but I have chronic back and knee problems and Toyota in general seems to have the best seats for comfort.
So far I have owned 1987 Corolla, 1988 Tercel, 1989 Tercel, 1990 4Runner, 1995 4Runner, 1997 Corolla, and 2005 Matrix.
I drive a cab and I really notice cars with uncomfortable seats. Typical taxi cars here are Chev Impalas, they have the most uncomfortable seats ever. One of our brokers who owns 70 cabs just started replacing all his Chev/GM cars with Corollas/Camrys/Matrixes, they are far more reliable and because of the comfortable seats, drivers tend to be able to work longer shifts.
If you think Corolla has a cheap interior, try driving a 2005 or newer Chev Uplander/Pontiac Montana or Impala - the interiors fall apart in these in no time.
I'd have to question the business sense of a company that would buy cars that are all under recall for very serious, life-threatening safety defects. This will subject the company to the possibility of massive lawsuits in the event of a crash. Many of our rental fleets here have pulled their Toyotas from service, at least temporarily.
I agree with your review. After the president of Toyota accepted they have been extremely greedy and just wanted to sell more and more, and the quality therefore went down abruptly, what can one expect?
When we test drove a Toyota Highlander, pieces of interior trim fell off during the TEST DRIVE. It also had defective brakes and zero power. We bought GM.
The Corolla is one of the worst cars in (a very crappy) class. They're low-average reliability, and at the bottom of the pit for everything else.
But you really should have test drove that car a little longer. Sure, you can't miss the cheapness of the interior (on the flipside it probably takes $4 to replace any of those cheap parts!), but I've had cars that felt pretty good for a short drive, but after a longer drive I'd have a splitting headache from the discomfort. The Corollas are one of the worst for this -- at least the Focus is honest and you can tell upfront the seats are downright bad, but overtime it's worse in a Corolla.
The good news is that because so many people still think Toyotas are all that, they have a high resale value, meaning it will be very easy for you to trade in or sell and hardly lose any money on.
The Corolla was NEVER supposed to be anywhere better than the good side of average reliability over the course of its lifetime from any arguably reliable source -- where Camrys used to be among the most reliable vehicles money can buy, Corollas just lived off the Toyota name. And since 2005, they all live off the Toyota name. A used Buick with a 3.8 and already 100k on it will long outlast a new Toyota if you take care of it, and if you had one from the early 80s with low rust with a 307, those will outlast any new car you can buy as long as the rust is under control.
Very true. We sold our Buick LeSabre at 277,000 miles. It had never had a single repair. Absolutely flawless.
"The Corolla is one of the worst cars in (a very crappy) class. They're low-average reliability, and at the bottom of the pit for everything else."
Funny, I guess if 14 years and 180,000 miles with zero issues is considered unreliable, then I don't know what reliable is. My Corolla still runs like new and gets 40 MPG.
My best engines I ever had were the Pontiac 6s in my 6000LE and 90 Bonneville. I even had the same in my boat; great engines, no issues.
Not all Corollas last very long. My friend's corolla only lasted 90,000 miles before a major engine failure.