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2009 Toyota Corolla

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Comments

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I agree on the most part.

    However, you state "While the wider tires of a Corolla S may have improved stopping distances for the current C&D comparo, its value quotient would have dropped in the rankings due to higher price with little in the way of additional substantive equipment, and of course plenty of people in the real world will have to live with the smaller tires of the lesser-trim Corollas. "

    Your statement regarding value quotient makes some assumptions, as your definition of "substative" may differ from that of the the editors at C/D. My personal feeling is that had C/D tested a Corolla S 5MT with a middle-of -the road option package and VSC (at about $18,500), both the Features and Pricing scoring categories would have been adjusted accordingly, and therefore not resulted in a different overall ranking for the vehicle. Certainly, the Corolla, like many Toyotas and vehicles from other manufacturers, can become pricey with options, so I def. hear you on that.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    I thought the comparo was odd from a number of perspectives. The oddest thing was that the cover of the magazine touts the comparo in terms of MPG. So, which two cars come out 1 and 2? The Rabbit and Impreza, which have the lowest fuel economy in the group (or very close to it). It's clear C/D was interested mainly in which car had the sportiest handling, as is their norm. Everything else, from fuel economy to how roomy the back seat is (and how accessible it is, in the case of the Rabbit) took lower priority.

    So they might as well have included a MINI Cooper in the comparo, which would have given them the high fuel economy plus crisp handling, for about the same price as some other cars that were tested.

    Including a Corolla S in the comparo makes so much sense, I expect what happened is that Toyota could not provide one from their test fleet when C/D wanted it.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Good points, esp. re: the MINI, which starts at $18K, and fuel economy.

    I agree, also, on your assertion regarding the Corolla S - it seems that any press reviews of the Corolla S I've read (such as the Edmunds.com example), have been of full-dress, leather/NAV models, which would have been up above the 20K mark. That said, I can configure Corolla S 5MT with VSC, Pwr Pkg, heated mirrors, 6 CD, cruise, mats (but no alloys or spoiler) for $18,465 in my region.

    IMO, the print mags are in a tough spot nowadays, both from the perspective of available fleets, but moreso, increasing time irrelevance... even though we receive May issues of C/D, MT, R&T, etc.. the last week in March, theres nothing we really haven't read on the internet already.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    There were some other interesting tidbits in the C/D review, e.g.:

    * The editors raved about how nice the Impreza's interior is and how mundane (but functional) the Corolla's is, yet they gave the Corolla more points on the interior than the Impreza.

    * There was a lot of emphasis on making the 2009 Corolla quiet, but according to C/D's measurments the Corolla wasn't the quietest at idle, full throttle, or 70 mph cruise. I don't have the mag in front of me, but if I recall there were 2-3 cars ahead of the Corolla in some if not all 3 categories. Even though it's hard to tell a difference of a few decibels with the human ear, it was surprising to me that the new Corolla wasn't the quietest in the group.

    * They apparently had no problem fitting even their 6'5" tester in the Corolla's back seat (they mentioned only that the front seat was tight for one of their tall testers). That amazes me, since I'm only 5'10" and felt cramped sitting behind myself.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    What I find interesting was last year when Motor Trend did its comparison test that included the Honda Civic LX sedan, Nisssan Sentra 2.0 S sedan, and the previous-generation Corolla LE sedan (all fitted with the available automatic transmission), both the Civic and Sentra far out-pointed the Corolla. It appears the new Corolla is still not much better.

    That's why I'm really hoping that the Corolla gets the 3ZR-FAE Valvematic engine within the next 18 months mated to a 5AT transmission along with standard four-wheel disc brakes on their top-line model.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    Those changes would not have materially affected the Corolla's score in the C/D comparo. As it is, the Corolla was only 1 point behind the Rabbit in Powertrain, and the Rabbit got the top score in that category. And there was no score (amazingly I think) for braking distance, although the Corolla was 2 points behind the best in the group on brake feel. So it might have picked up 2-3 points with a better engine and brakes, enough to slip into 2nd over the Impreza, but it was 19 points behind the Rabbit. At best, the Corolla would extend its very slim margin over the Astra (one point) and Lancer (2 points).
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Also note that since we're talking about Car and Driver, the last-generation Corolla placed ahead of the new generation Sentra in last year's test of compact vehicles.

    While I don't mind reading MT, I'd rather take C/D, which mixes subjective and objective measures and at least attempts a rational conversion into metrics (via its socring table), than MT which basically doesn't explain at all how they arrive at rankings.

    Backy, I think what you've stated regarding sound is interesting, but not all that uncommon. The decibel measures of sound do not account for sound quality, and that may have influenced C/D's comments to some degree. For ex, I've read in a few places that the 1.8L in the Corolla is less "boomy" than in the past - a good thing. And honestly, even though theres a Subie in my family, you've got to be a fan to *like* how that engine sounds, especially with its Mack truck idle.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    I know what you're saying. I guess I just expected more of a difference in measured noise levels, given the emphasis on making the new Corolla very quiet.

    But then, C/D apparently doesn't care too much about how quiet a car is, if it handles well. They knocked the top two cars, Rabbit and Impreza, for their noise (tires and engine, respectively). They could make theri comparos much easier on themselves by doing them this way: "How's it handle? Great? OK, it's our top car. Now we'll need to flip some coins to figure out how all the other cars rank." ;)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    "That's why I'm really hoping that the Corolla gets the 3ZR-FAE Valvematic engine within the next 18 months mated to a 5AT transmission along with standard four-wheel disc brakes on their top-line model."

    I wouldn't hold my breath for this one. It seems clear to me that Toyota is going to treat the Corolla as the el cheapo model in the Toyota lineup, giving it just enough not to be totally noncompetitive, and no more, even as they pile on the rebates and shoot for maximum sales volume.

    And honestly I don't think sales will drop much under this philosophy. This is really the fault of consumers - I think these days customers expect too little of Corolla; as long as it has the Toyota name, is nice and cheap, and they can get moderately comfortable in it, they look no further.

    There is a reason that C&D's two top picks, Rabbit and Impreza, struggle to sell what, 20K per year?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • cz75cz75 Posts: 210
    It isn't a competitor to the Si by virtue of Toyota's retrograde engineering, offering less power than the last XRS, but it most certainly is Toyota's "sport" model compact sedan and not a stand-in for a Camry for those on a budget. It is certainly in the same price structure as an Si or a Mazda3S GT, with the latter being the vehicle that is most closely a match for the Corolla XRS, which offers far less content for the money than the Mazda.
    Car and Driver Short Article
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    I wouldn't hold my breath for this one. It seems clear to me that Toyota is going to treat the Corolla as the el cheapo model in the Toyota lineup, giving it just enough not to be totally noncompetitive, and no more, even as they pile on the rebates and shoot for maximum sales volume.

    I think that will start to hurt the Corolla's reputation for the new model, because let's face it: with the high price of motor fuel nowadays, American car buyers are getting into smaller cars and demanding more from a smaller car. (Why do you think the upcoming 2009 Honda Fit has a satellite navigation option?) As such, the Toyota Corolla needs to be more than just "basic transportation," something that is now filled by the Yaris entry model. That's why Toyota needs to upgrade their drivetrain to one powered by the 3ZR-FAE 2.0-liter I-4 Valvematic engine with the 5AT transmission currently used and maybe have Toyota Racing Development (TRD) develop a more proper "sporting" suspension.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    I think they will up the availability of the gew-gaws (NAV, HID, leather, keyless start) before they up-tech the engine.

    It COULD be that we are on the verge of spiking compact car sales at the expense of the larger models, because of the gas prices. And IF that's the case, the folks downsizing could want more of the same features they are familiar with from their bigger cars, and I am sure Toyota will be only too happy to follow that gravy train. But spend money under the hood? I would be very surprised. Toyota knows Americans will settle for less.

    Corolla IS cruising for a bruising if they continue to follow this philosophy through another model update. It is very similar to what happened when the Americans let the Japanese have the market for cars (not trucks) beginning in the 80s.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It's you and C&D that are trying to force a comparo between unequals. There is no comparo. The sporty Si and others are far more fun to drive. No question. The Corolla will make more money. No question. End of comparo.

    It only comes down to money. It's a business nothing more. It's not a beauty pagaent. The XRS is an ultra small volume trim in what is essentially a very very basic commuter / people mover. It's also no competition to the IS nor the 3-series or any other sport model just to complete the picture. Wasting more than a passing thought on it is a gross waste of time...and paper, in the case of the C&D article.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Actually I think Americans 'demand' less in their economy vehicles. This very same discussion is being held all over the GM boards and the Ford boards; i.e. Why are the NA versions of the very very nice Euro vehicles so blah, basic and decontented?

    The simple answer is we in NA don't want our econo-boxes to have much content. Price if far far more important than either performance or content. We are much more willing to spend big bucks for midsized autos than for small autos. On the contrary in Europe and Japan they spend much more on their high volume small vehicles.

    If we want our econo-boxes to be $18000 -$20000 then we get a decontented model. If we want to spend $25000-$30000 for a Civic, Corola or Jetta then we will get more content.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    The simple answer is we in NA don't want our econo-boxes to have much content.

    Then why does Toyota put options like high-zoot stereos, Bluetooth, navigation, and leather on the Corollla?

    Personally I don't need any of that "content" in an economy car. What I want are basic things like a comfortable driving position, a nice-looking interior with quality surfaces and controls, a roomy back seat, a good blend of ride and handling, and as many safety features standard as possible, including ABS, side curtain airbags (with good crash test scores to boot), and ESC. And of course good fuel economy and reliability. The Corolla delivers on the last two very well (well, we'll see about reliabiilty but history is in its favor.) The others, not as well. How about more focus on the basics and less on the "flash"?
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Bluetooth is no big deal anymore and isn't very expensive if it's installed on the factory assembly line rather than added on later.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    If Bluetooth were so inexpensive to add on the assembly line, I expect we'd see most if not all economy cars, including the Corolla, offer it as a standard feature. Yet no cars in the economy car class offer it as a standard feature, and not all offer it as a factory option. Maybe because the automakers realize that buyers know there are less expensive ways to have a Bluetooth-enabled phone in a car than buying the factory Bluetooth option.

    As for me, I'd rather the automakers focus on features like comfortable/adjustable driver's seats, roomy back seats, and crisp handling rather than fancy electronics that I can get elsewhere, for less money.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Bluetooth used to be only on the high-end expensive cell phones a few years ago and now it's on many of the phones the carriers give away free with contract.
    Automakers are just slow to adopt new things. It took years of customer pressure before GM finally relented and will start installing bluetooth on most of their vehicles next year instead of pointing to their fee-based OnStar service as the handsfree solution.

    Automakers were slow to adopt CD players, so people had get third party changers until factory installed CD players became common. Then aux audio inputs were the next thing and now bluetooth.

    There are still some new cars that don't even have an aux jack, but it has become expected at this point. Bluetooth will also be expected soon.
    .
    So what if it isn't "standard" on every car? The cheapest cars don't have a/c and cruise control standard, but it's an option. Cars as cheap as the Nissan Versa now offer factory bluetooth as an option.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    Yes it does. But it doesn't offer an important safety feature, ESC, at all, and ABS is an option vs. standard.

    I think automakers have their priorities skewed. But maybe it's not their fault. If buyers keep demanding electronic gizmo features like Bluetooth more than they do safety features, nice seats and controls, modern suspensions and accurate steering, etc., then whose fault is it? Not the automakers I guess. So we can get Bluetooth on the Corolla, whoopty-doo, but we have to rest our elbows on hard plastic and fight to get a comfy driving position. :confuse:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    In the paper this weekend, three different volume dealers have opened the floodgates.

    All '09 Corolla LE automatics, $1500 off MSRP (dealer discount) all in stock (about 70 cars between the 3).

    All '09 Corolla XRS automatic in stock, $2000 off MSRP.

    All '09 Corolla 5-speed base models in stock, MSRP $16,1, sale priced $14,448.

    No factory rebates so far, but you know those aren't far away, maybe a couple of months.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    There's two rationales...both have to do with making money not surprisingly.

    Why so many al a carte 'toys'? As noted above that's what generates buyer enthusiasm in the largest segment of buyers. Look at Ford's humping of SYNCH. It sells. They turnover of the SYNCH models is significantly shorter than the ones not equipped with it.

    There are a lot of safety-conscious buyers too but that equipment has all the excitement of a good biology text. I think that Toyota and others got quite a surprise when the Prius took off and a lot of the buzz was over 'Prius toys'. 'Flash' sells.

    As to why even offer the option of thses geegaws? I'm postulating that it's because Toyota expects that during this Gen's lifetime that fuel is going to skyrocket and this segment will become the 'hot' one as more and more people try to downsize to save fuel costs. THEN at that point our econoboxes might begin to approach the Euro versions.
  • cz75cz75 Posts: 210
    And a Civic Si ISN'T an ultra small volume trim of what is also a basic people mover? I'm glad there's no question that the Si is a better car, but to say that the XRS isn't Toyota's half-assed attempt at trying to make a sport trim for their basic econobox is asinine. It has SPORT seats, a SPORT strut tower brace, blacked out SPORT grille, a spoiler and SPORT rocker moldings, larger alloy wheels & tires, more power and better brakes than the lower trim levels, or even the XLE model. Don't blame me or C&D for thinking Toyota came up short on what was intended to be a "sport" trim level and has been in past Corolla generations.

    Toyota charges too much for delivering too little, but as you pointed out, that won't stop what is a mediocre car from becoming a sales success, for a while at least. That there is no comparison is Toyota's fault and, for what is a new car, I haven't read a single article that implies the Corolla is remotely the sort of innovative and original design that the 8th generation Civic was (and is) in its class. Rather, it is an also-ran and one that could be interpreted as another instance of Toyota becoming complacent, thinking that anything they make, even if the quality is slipping (recalls) or the features and design are second to their competition, they can sell all they make, no questions asked.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    There are a lot of safety-conscious buyers too but that equipment has all the excitement of a good biology text.

    Since when has the Corolla been about excitement? A little less excitement, and a little more basic small car goodness would be real welcome, to me. Like the Corolla of the mid-'90s--the one that was a class leader in refinement and quality.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    What you continue to miss is this. The XRS is not intended to capture the bulk of the boy-racer subsegment. Yes it's the sporty version of a very mundane people mover. It's intended to appeal to the buyers that are turned off by the boy-racer image but they still want something a little sporty.

    That there is no comparison in handling is intentional. You continue to miss this point as well. Everything has its rightful place in the universe. The Si and the 3 and the other boy-racer models have their place and the XRS has it's place. Everything is in balance in the universe and everybody is happy. You will not be an XRS owner and all the XRS's will be sold.

    Your opinion about the success or lack thereof regarding the Corolla is noted and will be given the appropriate consideration. In the meanwhile each vehicle has it's place and the small number of XRS's will be sold and make money as they should. That's all that can be said. In the end it's only about money. If you feel it's overpriced but someone coming down from an Explorer doesn't think so, actually thinks it's a bargain, guess what his money means more than your opinion.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Sorry the Corolla of the mid 90's was an awful, tiny, loud econobox with no safety features and nothing anywere near the capability of this last Gen9. We'll see about this Gen10. It has a difficult act to follow.

    The basic 97-98 VE 1.5L, 3 speed auto was one horrible little vehicle; no AC, no CC, manual everything, AM/FM only, low to the ground and no safety features at all - none. The current basic Yaris is better.

    What little excitement this mundane segment can generate will created by the boy-racer models and the new 'toys' for people rediscovering the segment. Maybe at some time this segment will approach the overall quality and depth of its European cousin.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    I was actually thinking of the Gen 7 Corolla, 1993-97, which offered an all-new 1.8L engine with 115 hp on the DX and LE trims (very competitive power for that time), driver's and passenger's front airbags and optional ABS (very good safety equipment for its time, when no compacts offered side/curtain airbags or standard ABS, except the Civic EX had std. ABS), very tasteful (IMO) exterior and interior styling, with quality cloth and padded plastic surfaces, a standard 5MT and optional 4AT on the DX and LE (same as what is offered for 2009 on the LE and XLE), front disc and rear drum brakes (same as today), fully independent suspension (which we don't get on the 2009 Corolla), and there was even an optional integrated child safety seat (unique for its class) and a wagon variant. By the end of 1997, the Corolla had become the #1 selling nameplate of all time. With cars like the 1993-97 Corolla, it's easy to see why.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    What's interesting was that I almost bought a 1998 Corolla LE sedan back in 1998, but Toyota dealers back then weren't willing to give a decent discount on pricing. The LE model had decent power, a reasonably smooth-shifting 4AT transmission, and comfortable seating.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,771
    Amazing what a little competition will do, eh? ;)

    The 1998-2002 Corolla was a nice car, smooth and quiet for its time and without the driving position problem of its successor. But it had a really tight back seat, which struck it off my list when I bought a small car in 2000. The 2009 is improved there, still not near the best in class but better. And as we know, large discounts are already available. :)
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yep the situation in the economy is forcing every maker / dealer / salesperson to accept the fact of 'No discount / No Sale'. Essentially every vehicle in the entire lineup is a give away except maybe for the Prius which still outturns every other vehicle Toyota makes despite its being in its 5th year. That's due of course to fuel being $3.25-$4.00 in most parts of the country.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    1995 with 1.8L, ABS, Sunroof (metal), 4 speed automatic w/overdrive. I purchased in January 1996 and it stayed in the family for over 125,000 trouble free miles. It was very quiet and nothing else in it's price range offered the same technology and refinement. Interior materials were much nicer than the 1999 I purchased that I was constantly frustrated with as I felt it was clearly inferior to the 1995 in driving position, interior materials and overall execution.

    1993-1997 was best in class and while Corolla has never been bad since, it has not impressed vs. the competition as the 1995 did since that 1993-1997 generation.

    I would love to see a wagon offered in the 2009 version. I'm not too fond of the Matrix styling and the plastic hatch floor area of the Matrix.
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