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Toyota Corolla



  • I called around this weekend ( Dallas ) but none of the dealerships had one yet. I hope they give the civic a run for the money
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    Hmmm, based on coolguyky7's excerpt from Toyota HQ, I would stick with my guestimate that North American production limit for Corollas slated for US is pegged at ~250,000 units. Other than ship parts to other assembly plants, the long term solution to increase production is of course opening new assembly plants like Honda is doing with their new Alabama Plant. Has anyone heard that Toyota is planning any new plants for the Corolla/Matrix/Vibe line of cars?

    BTW coolguyky7, I think you will be impressed with the 2003 Corolla. Unfortunately the cost will understandably be closer to MSRP than any of us would like since the cars are just starting to trickle in. Even the dealer where I negotiated a price for my 2003 Corolla S mid last week has raised their posted prices from $500 to $1000 over invoice on Friday.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    ON the selling price for the new 2003 Corolla is under MSRP (barely) and quite a distance from invoice.
  • Ifan: Looks like you are the only one here who has seen the car in the dealer lot. Would you mind telling us what state you are in? Also, if you could share with us the experience of dealing with the dealer and how much you pay for, I will be greatly appreciated. So that I know how I should be dealing with the dealer once the car is here(Raleigh NC).

    Thank you.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    If you absolutely must be the first on your block to own the '03 Corolla, expect to pay top dollar for it. It's the law of supply and demand; for a while the demand will far outstrip the supply, and dealers can command near-sticker prices. If you wait a few months until production and shipments to dealers ramp up, prices will drop because there are competitive models like Civic, Elantra, Focus, and Protege available at big discounts.
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    digiturbo, I am in Virginia but the dealer I am purchasing from is in MD at

    I am paying $400 over invoice for my 5spd S. However, looking at their web site, the price is now $1000 over invoice. Backy is correct to wait when the price will likely drop. For example, the 2002 Camry was initially about $1000 over invoice until Mid-Dec. Nowadays they go for $100 to $600 over invoice at Fitzgeralds, depending on the model. To be honest, I would have waited for price drop if I had to buy the Corolla at $1000 over invoice.

  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Rich Toyota in Huntington, WV took delivery of a 2003 LE Corolla last Friday. I have driven it and am much impressed, but waiting to compare the Matrix/Vibe...
  • Has anyone changed a tail light in their '99 (late model) Corolla before? Is it easy to do?

  • Thank you, Ifan
    What a good deal you got. Yes, you all are right about not buying it now. However, if the dealer here has not realized about this great car, hopefully I can get away with a fair deal. Otherwise I will wait.
  • As long as people line up to buy the new Corolla, dealers will get MSRP for them. Wait it out a couple of months, and the price will drop. This summer should be an interesting time to shop Civic and Protege if Corolla sales are as big as expected.
  • Does anyone know if Toyota is planning to offer a Sequential Manual Transmission in the Corolla?

    The transmission does NOT have a clutch pedal or torque convertor. It would be a nice alternative from auto trannies for those of us who would like to remain "clutch pedal-free".

    Here's some info on the tranny, taken from the following website:


    "Sequential Manual Transmission has been introduced for the (MR2) model year 2001. The system, which uses an electrically-actuated clutch, is designed to be an active system. The driver, instead of just putting the lever in D for Drive and sitting back while the transmission does the shifting, will actually have to shift through the gears while accelerating. On deceleration, the driver has a choice of downshifting, or letting the transmission default to 1st gear. This allows the driver to be an active participant in the driving experience and only adds to the imense driving enjoyment this car provides.

    The driver can either use the buttons located on the steering wheel, or may choose instead to use the shifter lever on the floor. Only in the anals of F1 racing would you find this setup. There are reports that the 0-60 time may slightly increase due to the speed of the electronic clutch.

    A display in the

    tachometer face

    indicates the gear


    Testimony of an SMT Driver

    "How does the SMT handle city driving?"

    Perfectly! Like I said earlier, it's great for cruising. I can't imagine it being any better for normal driving. Well, maybe a switch for auto, when I feel really lazy, but the system itself is perfect if you're not (street)racing.

    "Will it blip the throttle to match rev for smooth shifts?"

    Yes. But since you have a wireless gas pedal, you won't feel a thing on the pedal. You can keep it in same position while shifting, and you can hardly tell the shift happened.

    "How about take-offs from a dead stop"

    Under normal driving it's just perfect. The car starts rolling the second you press the pedal, and there's no jumping or anything else. Just the smoothest acceleration ever. Take-off is pretty much like with normal auto-tranny, except SMT doesn't crawl.

    "I'd expect the the Spyder's system should be tuned as a more comfortable transmission rather than full performance."

    That seems to be the case. There's at least one (propably more I don't know about) shop working on making the shift faster. They managed in that..the shift came faster, but more "jerky". The client didn't like that, and now they are trying to make it fast&smooth. I asked if they could make a system that would shift smooth&slow or jerky&fast when I wanted. Having a switch for that selection somewhere..possibly the left buttons on steering wheel. But they didn't wanna say anything before their first system was done.."

  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    I am picking up my 2003 S 5spd tomorrow; $400 over invoice. My dealer still added two costs I wasn't crazy about: 1) Mid-Atlantic Toyota distribution fee - $267 and 2) Wholesale reserve fee - $145. I guess they are charging me the $145 to pay their interest to their lender though the car will be on the lot for merely 48 hours until pick-up. I wasn't going to nickel and dime given $400 over invoice was not too bad for a brand spanking new model. The total came out to be $15732 before tax and tags.

    I ordered the Sport plus package: spoiler + Aluminum wheels. Unfortunately, Toyota low on supply for the wheels so the car arrived with with steel wheels/hub caps. I get a "warranty" order raincheck for AL wheels and the wheels will arrive after a few weeks. I will try to keep the hub caps clean and avoid scraping the curb too hard when I park ;-)

    I will provide an in-depth description later once I get some miles in.
  • Yes, finally they are here in Raleigh,NC. I just got back from the dealer and would like to share my experience. What a car! Exterior is awesome and interior (Corolla S) is much better than others in its class. Handling is good.

    The guy helping me was very helpful and he showed me the invoice right away. It was not the same one at though, however this invoice includes Dest. Fee(525) and South Eastern fee($565).

    MSRP of Corolla S(-power packages, alloy wheels, Automatic transmission and something installed by South eastern distributor(like ashtray))

    MSRP 17,280.15
    Invoice 16,073.42 (included fee 565+525)

    He quotes me for $500 over this invoice, but he does not have the car with 5 speed yet. So, he could not really do anything and I have to wait till they get it in the inventory.

    Based on
    invoice= 12,700 + 484(pw package) +700(Auto)+ wheel + 525(destination fee) =15,069 + wheel

    Let's say wheels cost about $400. Still, I would be paying 900 over invoice of
    So, no matter what car it is, I will be paying more than I should because the differences in invoices.
    What do you all think? How should I deal with this?
    Any input about this, I will be appreciated.

    ps. Ifan: In virginia, Tax is 6% or 3%?
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61

    I believe the southeast fee (or Mid-Atlantic fee is my case) is not a part of the invoice. It is a fee that goes to the regional distributor. Toyota does not do its own distribution apparently. Instead each region has its own Toyota distributor. Why, this is so, I have no idea.

    $565 seems high compared to the $267 I am paying. Maybe it includes the wholesale reserve fee, $145. Nonetheless, if your bottom line totals $900 over invoice, it's not too bad. I am paying $812 over. Unfortunately, I do not think these fees are negotiable. Only the MSRP cost is.

    Anyhow, if you are set on getting the next S Auto, then see if you can put a refundable deposit down. Otherwise see if you can get something down in writing to lock in on the $500 over invoice deal. I seriously doubt the cost will go down for the next couple months. Just look at Carmax Toyota dealers; Corollas are going for $1000 over invoice, if even in stock.

    Let me suggest you look into the sport-plus package if you are considering alloy wheels. You do get the spoiler for an extra $304 and it's covered under the factory warranty. I think accessories are only covered for a year. Not that wheels are at risk of breaking under warranty, IMO I think the spoiler compliments the ground effects on the "S" quite well.

    Virginia tax is only 3%. Whoo Hoo!
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Virginia tax may be only 3%, but you pay it every year (personal property tax). Maryland only charges tax once - when you buy the car.
  • hhmahhma Posts: 6
    I have a 1999 Prizm, the warranty will expire this June. Recently, we heard some "hissing noise" when we turn out the heater/defogger or defogger by itself. It happens when we turn the heater/defogger on initially, then it disappears after a short while. We went to the dealer who claimed that they inspected it thoroughly and found nothing wrong. The noise is sporadic so it is hard to pin it down. Does anyone experience it as well and could kindly point out the problem? Is it a major thing that we have to fix it before the warranty expires? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • gman40gman40 Posts: 15
    There is something wrong with the pricing of
    '03 corolla's on Check out, they will give you a much better
    idea, since they ask your zip code they may include any fees unique to your region.
    Good Luck!!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You might also want to check out's figures by clicking here. If that does not ask for your zip code, go to, then New Vehicles - at that point you are able to identify your region.

    Sedans Message Board
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    This is not a forum on taxes but I like to set the record straight.

    Virgina does have personal property tax. It is about 3% of the value of your property (vehicles and boats) per year. Compared to Maryland, VA's personally property tax replaces Maryland's county income tax. The county tax is between 50-60% of one's state income tax.

    Bottom line is VA tax system is generally easier on the pocket unless you spend a disproportionate amount of money on cars, boats, and trucks; for instance, make $45K a year but buy a $30K vehicle every 3 years.

    BTW, I did pick up my Corolla S tonight. Unfortunately my driving experience was limited to DC rush hour traffic for 1 hr. The car is smooth, quiet and peppy despite not revving over 3500rpm. The low end torque on the Corolla is much better than any Civic I tried. I am very impressed with the effortless shifting of the 5 spd. With the drizzle tonight, I do miss not having variable intermittent wipers though. Finally, the overall workmanship/quality was impressive.
    I compared it to an 02 Corolla and an 01 Civic at the dealership tonight. All I have to say is you gotta see it for yourself.
  • If you're going to configure a Corolla on Edmunds as Pat suggests, please be aware that Edmunds will allow you to combine any option with any other option as far as I can tell. In other words, you are quite possibly creating a fantasy car on Edmunds and on and and the like.

    If you use, you will see that, depending on your zip code, certain options are not available on certain models or in combination with certain other options. For example, will not allow someone from my zip code to configure a 5 speed LE with ABS.

    My question to Mack or any other Toyota salesperson or corporate type, which went unanswered a week ago, remains the same: Can I special order a Corolla exactly the way I want it, or am I stuck choosing between a 5 speed and ABS?

  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    Please keep us updated on your '03 Corolla - I have a '01 which I've had for almost a year now and I am very happy with it - but I'd be interested to know how those who own '03's like it.
  • I test drove the Corolla LE auto, did not like the way the auto drove, kind of sluggish but I am going to try the 5 sp tomorrow Dallas,TX
  • I took a 2003 Corolla out for a test drive today. The dealer had 2 available, a loaded LE auto and a base CE with 5 spd. I took the CE 5 spd. for a spin to compare it to my 2001 Civic (although no frills on the car, the engine and trans. are the same as the uplevel models and I really wanted to try out a 5 spd). Although full of hope I must say I was a little disappointed. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get the driving position right. There doesn't seem to be much leg room for the driver and if I pushed the seat back far enough I had a long arm stretch to the steering wheel...something seems wrong with the proportions here. Another problem was the typical Toyota vagueness in the on-center steering feel. The steering always seems to need minor corrections to keep the car in a straight line. To it's credit the seats were very comfortable (if somewhat softer than those in my Honda) and the elevated seating position is great (although this may have contributed a little to the difficulty in finding a comfortable driving position-the CE doesn't have a seat height adjustment) the interior layout and materials were very upscale and seemed of good quality (better than my Honda) and the ride was well-damped and smooth. Other comparisons noted include:

    1. Engine...pretty much a toss-up. The Toyota and Honda feel comparable in power and smoothness (even though my Honda Civic Sedan LX is a little behind in HP and torque...the EX is closer to the Toyota) Both are peppy and reasonably quiet with the 5 spd.

    2. Shift contest here. Honda still makes the slickest, smoothest shifting manuals on the planet. The Toyota was noticeably notchier and required more effort to shift than my Honda (although the Toyota may smooth out with a few Honda has 15,000 miles on it). Downshifting from 5th to 4th was noticeably less precise on the Toyota. Clutch takeup on the Toyota seemed a little smoother than my Honda though.
    3. Interior noise. I'm sure the Toyota is quieter than a stock Civic (Toyota is noted for their quiet cars) but I've added quite a bit of sound insulation to the floor pan, trunk, door pillars and rocker panel cavities of my Civic. The Toyota is quieter than my Civic was before but a little noisier than after my sound-deadening project.
    4. Build quality. The Toyota seems to have it here. The Corolla seems rock solid and fit, finish and execution are first-rate. My Honda has a few quality issues from bubbling door panel upholstery to more rattles than should be found in a car with 15,000 miles on it.

    5. Suspension...Toyota wins here. Honda blew it on the Civic suspension...too soft and way too bouncy in the rear. Ride quality deteriorates quickly on anything but smooth roads. The Toyota definitely rides better.
    Overall, I find my Civic more fun to drive but a little behind the Toyota in some quality areas. I'm not so sure Toyota will necessarily steal Civic sales with the new Corolla but it will definitely give it a run for it's money. Let's hope Toyota did their homework and avoids the teething problems the new Civic has been experiencing.
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    Here goes.

    - The ride is very smooth. Operation of controls and switchgear is very fluid. Overall, a feeling of comfort and isolation (in a good way) prevails. Compared to Hondas which feels more connected with less filtering of the road, noise, etc.

    - This seems to be the highest sitting sedan on the road, with the possible exception of the Echo, Camry and the Avalon (notice a pattern here?). The commanding view is nice. Not so good side effect of narrow, tall car is susceptibility to high crosswinds, like today in DC.

    - Engine, 5 spd transmission works very well. Adequate engine pull from as low as 1600rpm or thereabouts, the tach is too small. The transmission throws are short. Clutch pickup is smooth. I can shift from gear to gear much more smoothly than my old Civic since the Corolla has much better torque.

    - main gripe; The driver side sun visor design is dumb. You can't lower the visor all the way to the windshield without striking the rear view mirror. What's up with that? I am reporting this to the dealer and maybe they will have a fix in the near future.

    Finally, I can't wait to get the aluminum wheels that were missing as delivered from the factory. The dealer even will allow me to keep the hub caps. Maybe I will sell them on e-bay.
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    Thanks for your in-depth observations, tlindeman.

    Let me add some addition comments on the seating position:
    I agree with tlindeman on the somewhat awkward seating, particularly in the CE. With seat height adjustment in my S (also found on LE's), I can get a more comfortable leg room vs. arm position than in the CE I originally test drove. Not perfect still as the reach to the wheel is still longer than I'd like.

    I think each car make has its own seating seating idiosyncrasies. Being acclimated to Hondas and their driving positions for past 12 years myself, it may take a while to adjust to the Corolla's arrangement.

    However, it passed the litmus test for me today. I felt no discomfort that after one hour commutes to and from work.
  • Somehow, the dealers here in Raleigh are bringing 30 of LE and CE corollas. Most of them will come with automatic transmission. I check their inventory and no Corolla S coming in during the Feb month. Does anyone know any dealer in virginia area(near D.C or virginia beaches) having some Corolla S (5sp).

    Pat: You are right about the invoice on They bring the price closer to the invoice claimed by the dealer. But also sells cars. Is that probably why the invoice quite higher than
  • tlindeman and others, I was wondering whether you guys know of an explanation for why Toyota engineers would intentionally keep the steering feel the way they do. I had a '91 Camry and test drove a '01 Corolla and they both had this numbness on-center that must be intentional, otherwise they would change it. I find that it makes the cars more difficult to control at highway speeds. It bothered me enough that I stopped considering the Corolla. Otherwise, I have to admit that Toyota makes some solid cars...
  • My `90 Corolla has a curious problem. It stutters while accelerating (e.g., entering the freeway onramp), but it only happens when the fuel level is less than half full. It gets worse when the the fuel level continues to drop. I'm getting poor gas mileage, too. Does anyone have any ideas about why this is happening?


  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    My first guess would be a fuel pressure problem. A possiblity is a venting problem with your gas tank. Next time when your tank is low open the gas cap and put it back on and see if the problem goes away.
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