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Toyota Corolla



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    I just got back from the local dealer after a test in a 2003 Corolla. This happened to be a manual trans S, which was all they had at the moment [the transporter unloaded an auto LE while I was there], but I have to say I was really, really impressed with how this car felt on the road: solid, smooth, adequately quiet, and tight. And the extra room inside, especially in the back, is immediatealy obvious and very welcome. I could fit in the back seat with the driver's seat adjusted for me [I'm just short of 6'], and I could not say that with the previous gen car.

    I've owned 45 new cars since 1962, all but two imports, including everything German and Japanese [13 Mercedes and at least 10 Toyota products including trucks, plus several recent Hondas - our current ride is an '01 Accord EX V6]. With that background, it's hard to overemphasize how impressed I was with the new Corolla. If they were so inclined, putting a Lexus badge on the leather-packed LE would not be a stretch...not that this will ever happen, but the car has a solid, all-of-a-piece feel that is truly impressive. Hands down winner in this category...
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Thanks for your review. You opinion counts for a lot in my book.
  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    What is the estimated mpg for the new Corolla's with automatic transmissions? Do they still offer both 3 and 4 speed auto trannys?
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    I think I read somewhere that the MPG was about the same as the '02 - with automatic 4-speed you should get 30/city and 38 or 39/highway - my '01 Le gets excellent gas mileage - I usually get at least 31 or 32 MPG in the city - and I have gotten as high as 34 MPG/city.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    On Monday, I drove to the York, Pa. Honda Dealer and test drove a 2002 Honda Civic EX Sedan. After that, I drove to the York, Pa. Toyota Dealer and test drove a 2003 Toyota LE. The Honda was a very nice car, however with the side air bags and carpet mats you are fast approaching Accord prices. I will say, my expierence with the Honda Dealer was awesome. No pressure to buy today, showed me the service department, yada yada. Bottom line, I enjoyed both the test drive, the sales guy, the dealer and the Honda Civic. It is easy to see why Honda sells the heck out of the 2002 Civic.

    HOWEVER,..... the 2003 Toyota LE is BY FAR the best small sedan in this segment! BY FAR...the B.E.S.T! I was treated very well at DIEHL TOYOTA in York PA. The sales guy Tom Kerns did every thing the Honda guy did and more (a voucher for a free car wash). I drove the LE Sedan, 4 speed Automatic, with alloy wheels, weather guard pac, cruise, stero combo w/th 6 speaker,moon roof, VIP security/keyless entry pac and wheel locks. The car was Indigo Ink Pearl with the stone interior. I loved this car, a baby CAMRY indeed! Handled much better than, I expected. Almost like a upscale mid size car inside (think Volkswagen) and a very smooth drive train/engine combo! How can they sell these so cheap. I really think anyone shopping for a 2002/2003 Vee Dub Jetta GL 2.0 would be a fool to spend the extra $3,000 to $4,000 for that car. The 2003 Corolla is solid, very smart looking and well built.

    I was offered $8,500 for my trade (2000 Mazda PRO-ES w/th 35,000 miles) which is Edmunds TMV. Here is the kicker, Diehl Toyota was selling all their LE's for $400.00 under MRSP. That is pretty good for a brand new redesigned Corolla. I declined, was tough!!!

  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    I have read a few other's opinions of the new Corolla and they were about the same as yours - it sounds like an impressive little car for the $$ - I have yet to see one in person - I called the salesman who sold me my '01 LE last year and he said they only have 2 '03 Corollas in stock right now - he likes the car so much he said he is thinking of buying one for himself - what was the sticker price of the one you looked at?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    ...with the manual it's 32/40 and the automatic is 30/39, for US spec cars.
  • It is good to hear all the positive comments on the car I bought, my wife prefers it to her 01 civic.
    I got my first door ding this weekend, one of my neighbors a real heavy set guy ( around 300 pounds ) getting out of his truck did it in. It is real frustrating.. oh well that's life.. Maybe I can touch it up.
    IMO the Corolla will over take the civic.
  • That's a shame that your new car already has a ding. You should let Mr. Neighbor's truck have an experience with a sharp key. :-)
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    Things are going well with my 03 Corolla S. I will hit 1000 miles by the weekend. Unfortunately I have not heard from my dealer about the Aluminum wheels and car mats. FYI, I paid for Al wheels and car mats but there were not installed due to supplier shortages at the factory. So my dealer placed them on order and said it will take about 2-4 weeks. Is anyone else in this situation as well?

    The car drives very smooth and quiet. The engine pulls well down low, so I can keep up with traffic well while shifting at 3000rpm or less.

    One thing I have noticed though is a slight buzzing on the top of the instrument panel which occurs about 5% of the time, usually at the same temperature and conditions. This intermittent sound is magnified by the fact that the car is so quiet overall. Again, anyone else with a similar problem?

    Finally, I was wondering what tires are on your '03 Corollas. Mind has the Firestone FR690 and I noticed Goodyear Integrity's on other Corollas. At first I was a bit wary of the Firestones but they have proven to be quiet, smooth riding with good traction in the wet. Of course I have no basis of comparision until I replace the tires, probably with Michelins or Dunlops.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    I have been an owner of 89 Corolla. It was serving me well in last 13 yrs. It has 220K Km on but not loosing single drop of oil during 4000Km interval. It still has original radiator, CV boots, automatic transmission...
    I was looking another car for long trip drive. Toyota Camry was my candidate for next purchasing but Camry was out of my list since I saw the 2003 Corolla. I believe the style of 2003 Corolla is much better than Camry and a lot less expensive.
    Under the hood of Corolla, I was impress the arrangement of the engine (hi-tech).
    Tomorrow I will have a test drive to check out the performance of new Corolla.
  • Just test drove a 2003 corolla LE auto.
    Ride: Very smooth, very quiet
    Handling: Actually pretty good
    Engine: Super quiet at idle, good pick-up, some engine thrashiness at higher RPM's
    Transmission: (auto) Silky, seamless shifts
    Interior: Rich and inviting, quality materials throughout
    Exterior: Flawless paint, trim, etc.
    All I can say is that this car is a HUGE improvement over the 2002 corolla. I also test drove a 2002 civic EX auto which was pretty nice, drove reasonably well, typical honda quality, but I felt overall the 2003 corolla is WAY better in the way it feels and the price is better as well. For those of you who like to sit low to the ground though, the corolla may not be for you. You sit pretty high, and that might take some getting use to for some.
  • Mine was missing the floor mats as well they ordered them, they said they that it would take a week to get them.
    It has been a week today, still have not heard from them. I will give them a few more days.
    Mine has the firestone tires.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Britton2, the loaded LE auto Corolla LE I tested Monday was MSRPed at $17,929. I checked my notes again and the sales manager was going to let it go for $17,350. Diehl Toyota is a very high volume dealership. They had a least ten 2003 Corolla's in stock. 3 LE's, no S's and 6 or 7 CE's. I was not seriously shopping, Monday. I guess, you can call me an inconsiderate car buyer, however; I never told either the Honda or Toyota sales guys, I was ready to buy, today. My wife is a little disgruntled with her 2000 Mazda Protege. I was just scouting for some potential replacements. I was also curious on the real world trade value of her 2000 PRO-ES. Bottom line, I have a great sales guy and friend at the Lancaster Toyota Mazda Dealership, where I purchased my last three cars. I'm pretty sure, if I was ready to pull the trigger on a Mazda Pro-5, a Toyota Matrix or a Toyota Corolla (the 3 vehicles still in the running to replace my wife's 2000 PRO-ES before it's out of warranty) I could work out a fair deal with him and my local dealership. Nonetheless, I thought it was VERRRY interesting that the Diehl Toyota Dealership in York, PA. was willing to offer $500.00 off MSRP on their slim stock of LE's? I hope that info is helpful to others, whom might check out this board. Trust me $17,350 for a fully loaded LE is a very very fair price. I repeat, I think Toyota hit a grand slam with this re-design. Before, I would purchase a Jetta or a Civic, I would strongly advice you to test drive the 2003 Corolla!

  • toguytoguy Posts: 20
    I went to test drive the 2003 Corolla today and following is how it compares to my 4 month-old (grunt!) 2002 Corolla:

    -Engine/Performance: 2002's engine is quieter which I guess is due to the fact 2003's gearing is shorter to compensate for the extra 200 pounds or so the new model has gained over the old one, which makes it rev harder at any given speed (more on that later). That's also why low rpm pick up is keener in the new Corolla, but acceleration to highway speeds and overtaking is more or less similar in both cars. I should mention that both cars had the 4-speed automatic transmission, which was equally seamless in either one.

    -Stability and handling: 2003 is so stable you'd swear it's on rails! It was a windy day in Toronto but that didn't seem to affect the (tallish) car directional stability. Handling was equally impressive and it felt safe and confidence inspiring as I was taking high speed curves during my hour-long test drive. 2002's stability isn't bad but it doesn't zero-in on the straight-ahead quite as effectively. Ditto the handling, which is less buttoned down in my 2002 corolla.

    -Ride: 2002's ride is one of its good aspects. The new Corolla retains the smooth ride but its more solid body makes pumps reverberate less throughout the car's structure (more on that later), resulting in a more comfortable ride. There were no ill effects in the cars ride (or handling) that I could notice that would be attributed to changing the rear suspension's design to torsion beam as opposed to independent Mac struts in the 2002 model.

    -Body integrity: 2003 Corolla is one of the most solid and rattle-free cars that I've driven. The car seems hewn from a pellet of steel. I know this is a tired cliché, but it actually applies in this case. The doors close with a thud that imparts a feeling you only get in cars costing 2-3 times as much. Admirable! The 2002 Corolla, while solid in its own right and compared to the likes of Civic, Protégé etc., is a notch or two below in this regard.

    Interior/Exterior: Admittedly, this is a matter of taste, but I think few would argue that the interior of the new Corolla is in a league of its own in this segment. The only other car that's as impressive -IMO- is the VW Jetta, but it costs thousands more. Interestingly, the new Corolla's exterior has about the same stance and proportions as the Jetta, which is high praise since the Jetta is probably the most elegant design in the small car segment, again IMO. I still like 2002's exterior design (mine still looks sharp in black with alloy wheels), but it's soundly trounced in the interior department. Actually, if I were to pick a single aspect of the new car that's leaps and bounds ahead of the old one, it would be the interior.

    The only concern that I had during my long test drive is that the more noticeable engine drone may prove tiring in long trips. Now I should mention that I was driving at 140+ kmh (about 88 mph) most of the time where the engine is revving at about 3300 rpm. When I slowed down to 100 kmh (62 mph), noise was more tolerable. My 2002 Corolla revs at about 3000 rpm when I'm doing 140 kmh (due to its taller gearing) and that makes a difference in the decibel level that I noticed when I jumped into my car and drove back to work on the same roads I was test driving the new Corolla on and at the same speed. The difference wasn't huge, mind, since at high speeds, wind noise is more noticeable in my 2002 Corolla (moon roof equipped) than in the 2003 Corolla I drove (sans moon roof).

    So there you go. I hope this helps and sorry for the (very) long post :)
  • flootfloot Posts: 22
    Hi Larry -- I lurk over on the Protege5 board because I LOVE the way that car looks.

    Do Meade and all the folks over there know that you are sneaking out and flirting with Corollas?

    Last Sunday I had to walk onto the Toyota dealership lot and see a Matrix in person. (My first love will always be hatchbacks/small wagons for their utility). I also looked at the 2003 Corollas and was more impressed than I thought I would be. Nice interior improvements, especially the higher location of the climate and radio controls -- and thankfully, better cupholders.

    To those who end up getting the 2003 Corollas -- enjoy! It looks like a winner.
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    I will have to get over to the dealership and take a look at the '03 out of curiosity - I am not interested however it buying it or any other car right now - I've had my '01 LE for almost a year and I am quite pleased with it - but I've seen pics of the '03 and I especially admire the new exterior styling as well as the interior - the man who sold me my car last year said they only have 2 new Corollas right now - he too is very impressed with the car - thanks guys for your reviews -
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Susan, I love my pair of 2000 Protege ES's, however after 3 years it might be time to trade them in? Or we might hold on to them. NOTHING, is forever is it? My wife and I have narrowed our decision to a 2003 PRO-5, 2003 Toyota Matrix, 2003 Toyota Corolla or a 2003 Mazda MVP or a combo of two of them. Also, possible,... a Honda CRV? Nevertheless, the research starts, now.

  • protegextwo : The difference in MSRP and invoice is at least 1500. (based on invoice of increases once you add more options. Again, the invoice at seems pretty low. I hope edmunds has invoice of 03 corolla soon. So, $500 off MSRP, they still making lots of profit. But you can definitely get better deal.
    Good luck
  • flootfloot Posts: 22
    I think the ecology class lectures I took a few years ago came pretty close. :~)

    Sounds like you have some great vehicles to choose from -- best of luck with the quest.

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