It's been awhile since my last update, but since I'm now a full-time college student, it's been difficult to find the time.
I started commuting to school everyday when my Corolla had almost 70,000 miles on the dot. Since starting school in September, I put 12,000 miles on the clock. It's now reading 82,245.
It's been an excellent commuter car. On the highway (majority of my driving) it remains fairly quiet and the ride isn't bad for an econo-car. The seats are excellent for the long ride. Really glad I installed the cruise control though! Only issue I have with it on the highway is crosswinds. It's a very light car, but it's also fairly tall, so even a mild wind gust pushes it all over the place. In a real bad wind storm we had, I was actually thrown into the other lane by a particularly strong gust.
I average 36-38 MPG. It costs me roughly $35 to fill it every 4 days or so.
As far as problems go, I can't say I've really had any. The original rotors began to cause a pretty heavy pulsation in the front end around 75,000 miles. Tried machining them, but the pulsation came back within another thousand miles or so. The pads were already about 75% worn, so I just decided to change the whole set up. Switched to a quality set of EBC rotors and some OE brake pads. It's been about 4500 miles since changing them, and they're still smooth.
I changed the original serpentine belt at 82,000 just as preventative maintenance. I change my oil every 5,000 miles using full synthetic oil. No oil consumption of any kind, and the oil is surprisingly still very clean even after that interval.
We just had our first snow storm here in Southeastern Mass. This is my first winter with this car, and I must say I'm not fully impressed with it in this aspect. Its poor performance in the snow is most likely due to my selection of tires (General Altimax HP. Excellent in the rain and super quiet on the highway, but its mild tread pattern isn't well suited for the kind of snow we have up here). Plus the streets in my small town are poorly plowed, so it isn't uncommon to travel through 4-5 inches of snow on the road. The touchy brake pedal and lack of anti-lock brakes makes it extremely easy to lock up all four wheels. But I just take it easy and keep my distance from other cars. Next winter however, I'm getting a set of snow tires. They work wonders on our '96 Corolla, so I'm convinced.
85,600 miles on the clock now. No issues to report.
I managed to find a set of used BBS 15" wheels that already had a set of MagnaGrip snow tires mounted on them for $200. The tire and wheel size is identical to my stock rims, so they fit perfectly.
These snow tires are quite knobby for a simple set of car tires. But boy do they work. My Corolla is a thousand times better in the snow with them on. It will still slide around if you're not careful, but regaining control is much easier to do without upsetting the car's balance even further in the process.
We just recently got 3 feet of snow in winter storm "Nemo" as they're calling it. I got to test out these tires in serious conditions, and they performed exceptionally well.
The downsides? Well, in the rain, these tires catch puddles much more so than my regular touring tires. Also, on dry pavement they hum like crazy. But being so aggressively treaded, I expected this.
I've put on about 10,000 miles since replacing my front brakes, and upon inspection I found that the pads are barely showing signs of wear and the rotors still have a visible cross hatch pattern. No pulsation issues either.
Almost at 91,000 miles now. No issues to report.
One more thing I found out about the BBS wheels and snow tires (which I have since removed now that the warmer weather has returned) was that even on dry pavement, if I didn't carefully manipulate the throttle, even the little 1.8L will turn them into a smoke show. Honestly this was very unexpected. If I gave it anything above 1/4 throttle off the line, I was left with pretty drastic wheelspin.
My theory to why this happened was the drastically reduced weight of the BBS rims when compared to the factory steel wheels. Even with the tire installed, I can lift up and install the BBS wheels with one arm; could never do that with the factory steels without ripping my shoulder out of the socket. The lower mass made them that much easier to spin (surprisingly, my Corolla will leave a good 20-30 feet of rubber if you floor it off the line, even with the factory steels on it!) Still isn't a fast car by any means, of course.
Don't think so. Lighter rims may save your 25-30 lbs on some cars. If anything, many go with light rims and increase tire footprint to hook up better. But I am driving a 375 HP domestic 396.
The Corolla is not the best selling car in the world. The Ford Focus is for the second straight year.
I agree. But the Corolla still ranks number one in the history books my friend. Approaching 40 million sold. The Focus has only beaten Corolla sales for the past 2 years, it still hasn't beaten the Corolla for overall sales however.
If it beat Corolla the past 2 years, it indicates it is superior today. The Model A was once popular, but I will take a new Ford.
No, just because something might sell more in numbers, doesn't mean it's a better product.
As of this writing, Toyota and all of its divisions are still ranked in the 1, 2 and 3rd highest reliability positions.
Besides - I could really care less if Ford sold more of whatever. I'd still rather buy a better product.
I buy what is application oriented, and one brand fits all does not apply. Ride, performance and handling are critical to us.
What if you wanted a convertible for example?
Toyota doesn't make a 3/4 ton pickup, which we need to tow our boat.
What sports car is available?
As far as Ford goes, we have a number of Ford Edge SEL AWD as company cars. I have 90k on mine, and only tires, oil changes and brakes. Driving an average of 150-200 miles daily for business. Since it's not mine and I have no emotion over it, that's honest praise.
I would suggest if shopping for a personal vehicle, to drive new ones with a road test. Or even rent one for a weekend. Compare exact model to competitive model, not a whole brand. I am glad I test drive vs an armchair review.
Personally I far prefer Ford's styling in 2013; they did a great job on the cars and truck lineup.
The recall level on Toyota lately is a big concern, and in an incentive to look around.
Toyota has recalled more vehicles than any car maker in history. Why people keep buying these death traps is beyond me.
The only Toyota that I have owned was my first and last. It was a 2009 Camry purchased brand new, and traded in a brief 3 years later due to the poor fit and finish inside and out, and many mechanical troubles.
Reliability surveys in situations like this are useless.
Most reliability surveys are not very objective, and I never allow such surveys to affect my decision to buy a car. One of our current cars has a "much worse than average" reliability rating. We've owned it for ten years and 117,000 miles, and it has never had a single repair. Of course it is a domestic.
The Ford Focus is the Number 1 selling car in the world as of 2013.
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