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Toyota Corolla



  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    After reading all the positive comments about the quality and refinement of the new Corolla, I have been tempted to test drive one, but hesitant, for fear that I might love it, and have to trade my 2001 Civic EX sedan. I have always liked the ride and refinement of Toyotas over the Hondas, but the 2002 generation Corolla was just too small in the back seat for me. Now that the Corolla has been redesigned, I finally broke down, and drove one.

    The 2003 is a VERY nice car, quiet, seemingly high quality, and yes, certainly much larger in the back seat area. Good looking car, peppy, good MPG, (didn't notice any steering problems)and decent handling for an entry level car (well...maybe the Echo is entry level?). My biggest problem (maybe a blessing as I am really not ready to trade cars..yet) is the seating position of the driver's seat. I must say that the pedals seem too close, even with the seat in the farthest back position, yet the steering wheel would seem too far, if the seat DID go back further. Has anyone esle noticed this? The car I drove was LE, and I tried adjusting the seat in all its obvious ways. I have not noticed that in my Civic, or the Protege.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    We've discussed in earlier posts the fact that the seating position in the new Corolla is not set up for people with long legs. There are certain body types that are not going to get comfortable without some work. I've documented before how we made this better for me [setting seat at the highest position and using a cushion to make it even higher, effectively increasing the leg room for me], and the car works for me even on long trips and extended periods behind the wheel. But you are certainly not alone in observing that there are definite, somewhat even oddball, limits to who can comfortably work in the new if they moved the floorboard back an inch further than was necessary or desirable in front. And yes, it is more noticeable than in the Civic, Protege, or previous Corolla.

    I am helping a friend's daughter shop for a new car; she is nearly 5'11", or almost as tall as I am, and also long in the legs, and decided to focus on the Protege precisely because of this's a case where they should have given the seat more travel, at the expense of max leg room in back. I can comfortably sit behind the driver's seat with it all the way back in our new Corolla, which I could not do in the old car, and I am sure this is what the designers were aiming for. In doing so, they have eliminated a certain number of buyers who need another notch of rearward seat travel.
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    How do you compare the steering feedback and road feel provided by the Corolla to the Civic? I too think that Toyota gives you more refinement than Honda, but have always heard people (and magazines like CR) complaining about the numb steering in Corollas.

    In other words, does the new Corolla have that fun to drive feeling which is usually there in most Hondas?
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Well...The Civic has more steering feel and road feedback than the Corolla, but there is a definate difference in feel. Comparing the Corolla to my wife's 2000 Camry LE 4 cyl..I think the Corolla has less numb steering than Camry. I would call the Corolla steering "borderline numb," if that makes any sense. I have stock tires on the civic, 185X65X15 Firestones, and I can't wait to have them wear out a little more so I can justify replacing them with some "better" performance biased tires 205X55X15 (not high performance, but more biased toward handling than soft ride)...Overall, I think the Corolla feels much more isolated from the road than the Civic. To perhaps give you a reference point to my likes, I would not have owned a pre 2001 Civic because of the much harsher/noiser ride. However, the Corolla is well dampned for noise/steering wheel jolt, but is on the numb side of steering feel.

    When I drive our Camry right after driving the Civic, my first realction is "wow! this car is quiet and smooth", but after a few minutes, it does feel quite numb, and I am earger to get back in the Civic. The Corolla feels somewhere in between the two. The Civic is definately more "fun to drive." I hope I haven't been too confusing.
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    You made that very confusing!:)

    Seriously, that really was an excellent explanation about the difference between the Civic and Corolla. I know exactly what you are saying, having myself driven a Civic for many years. I guess it comes down to a question of giving up that connected feel to the road in favor of more quiet and smooth. So, were it not for the seating position problem with the new Corolla, would you be inclined to trade in your Civic?
  • jcobyjcoby Posts: 140
    After my extended test drive/rental with the 2003 Corolla, I was certainly very, very impressed overall with the car - but I must admit that I was dismayed about the driving position. After trying to adjust the seat and steering wheel, I could never find an ideal position; the dead pedal is very poorly placed. I was at first disappointed that I would not be able to "buy" me a new Corolla later this year because of this. However, I began to reason like 'jrct9454' did that I could just use a pillow or a back support (you can find many for $15 or less) to make the seating position closer to ideal. I hate to pass up on such an outstanding automobile just because of something that can be so easily corrected. Just as 'jrct9454' wisely suggested, one's best bet would be to try out a few cushions to see if an ideal driving position can be found. If it is still uncomfortable, then it might be time to look elsewhere.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    My roommate and I took a test drive of the 2003 Corolla the other day and I had no problems with the seating position AND I am VERY long legged.

    VERY, VERY nice car.
  • is300tm7is300tm7 Posts: 20
    Is Chrome-accented door handles, shift lever and shifter surround standard on LE ? I believe brochue says it but says only S .

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 the places you describe on an LE. Which is just as well, I can tell you I would not like the look that would give...all matters of taste, of course...
  • mpynempyne Posts: 120
    Ive seen that 2003 corolla claim to have chip resisitant paint
    anyone have one long enough to confirm this is true?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I haven't seen such a claim, but I will observe that after 1300+ miles, we have had only one nick that needed touching up, which is pretty unusual for us based on the last few cars. Saying this 'out loud' seems to be tempting fate, and I have gone to some lengths to avoid the trucks [dirt and gravel haulers, concrete mixers] that are the primary source of this problem, but still...
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    How would your rank the Corolla as being "fun to drive?" I'm just wondering. If you are able to compare it to previous Corollas, please do!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I wouldn't call it "fun" to drive. Satisfying to drive, yes (assuming the driving position suits you better than it did me), in the same sense that a Camry or even a Lexus ES300 satisfies, at 4/5 scale. For fun to drive under $18k, see the likes of Protege, Focus SVT, or Mini Cooper.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    What cars would you not consider "satisfying?"
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...and it is CERTAINLY more responsive and "fun to drive" than its predecessor. I'm not at all sure the current Civic is superior in this respect, and I have a lot of seat time in '01 Civics [I know the '02s are tighter, but I'm not sure the suspension changes are all to the good]. Yes, a Protege and Focus are more rewarding on a twisty road, at the expense of a stiffer ride and more road noise.

    This is a touring car, and as such is the best in class. If you want more handling than this car offers, you need to buy the Mazda or Ford and be happy with the difference. The Civic probably splits the difference, but I'm just not willing to give up the extra room that the Corolla offers vs the Civic to achieve that small difference.

    Yes, all of this assumes you fit in the driver's seat. At 6', 175lbs, and a 32" inseam, I do. You may not...
  • Hey,
    Im 6'2 and find the new Corolla's seating to be perfectly comfortable. It has the most comfortable seats in the class and the legroom is fine for me. Im surpised people have a problem with that.

    I bought a 2003 LE in Indigo Ink (blue) with the luxury package (leather + sunroof), made in the Canada plant. Right now at 1300km I have had no problems at all, Im really enjoying it. I found the new Corolla beat all the other cars I tested in most respects (Protege, Civic, Sentra, Elantra, Focus). I highly reccomend this car.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    If I were to buy a Corolla, I'd buy one in that trim, color and with the leather and sunroof!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    What cars are NOT satisfying to me? Here's a few from the compact class: Honda Civic (uncomfortable driving position, too much road noise, slipping quality and reliability); Nissan Sentra (cramped back seat, lousy stick shift, ugly rear end); Chevy Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire (do I really need to elaborate?); Dodge Neon (lack of quality feel); Saturn SL (cheap and uncomfortable interior, poor ride and handling).

    Whistler2, why does it surprise you that some people, like me, don't find the Corolla's driving position to be comfortable? Are you assuming that everyone has the same body measurements that you do? I'm 5'10", 170 lbs., and a 32" inseam, and I'm sorry to say, the LE 5-speed's driving position just didn't cut it for me. That doesn't make the Corolla a bad car. I think it's a great compact, maybe the best out there in its price range. It just isn't the right car for me. It just proves again that no one should buy a car without driving it first.
  • Its just that some people were saying that the car is uncomfortable for tall people, I just wanted to add that I am 6'2 with pretty long legs and had no problems with seating.
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    My gripe about the '03 Corolla is not about seat comfort but is about driving position, specifically relationship between pedals and the steering wheel. Others have reflected this problem also.

    When the seat is moved to the backmost or nearly backmost position, the steering wheel is farther away than I would like.

    Ever notice NASCAR cockpits where the steering wheel is right up on the driver? Well, that's because their arms are less tired from having to reach out for 3-4 hours of driving. Same principal applies, at least for me. I finding myself having to place my arms on the center and door arm rest respectively once I settle in on steady hwy driving. Luckily, the arm rests are positioned well.

    jrct9454 suggests raising the seat and adding seat cushions. Unfortunately that does not work for me because as the one raises the seat, it also tilts forward, a disadvantage of not having cushion front and back adjustors. I like to have a more settled in feeling; sitting in the seat rather than on it and spilling forward.

    A telescoping wheel would solve the problem for me. But I think in this class, only the Jetta/Golf has this feature.

    Well in the long run, I will adjust to this. As I mentioned a while back, I think the Corolla's driving position would be ideal for small drivers. The steering wheel's position would be an advantage for those that move the seat way up, safety and comfort wise.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    I saw a red 2003 LE. It was sharp!
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    The indigo ink color is just as nice as the red also. Haven't seen a white one as of yet, a little bland for me.
  • I saw a white 2003 S and and the body kit looked terrible. Apologies to any owners of this model.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 matter what color you pick. It makes the tall car look ridiculous; the same problem exists in the Matrix. The base Matrix without the so-called sport packages is not a bad-looking piece of work, but by the time you tack on all of the spoilers and ground-effects nonsense, it manages to mostly look silly. This effect is even more pronounced when you do this to the sedan.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    The Focus' wheel telescopes too.
  • ata3001ata3001 Posts: 30
    I too have to agree about the looks of the 2003 S ground effects. To me it looks like it is just stuck on. reminesent of General Motors way of adding sport to its cars. I own a 2001 Corolla S (impulse red) and the rocker panel treatment is handled so much nicer. The 2003 is simply over done. The rest of the car is fine, but those ground effects, ugh! My opinion only, not necessarily yours. :-)
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    If Toyota is listening, they'll make those ground effects TRULY optional on the Matrix. At least on the Corolla, one can get the LE and avoid looking silly, as jrct said. Unfortunately, on the mid-level Matrix XR, those busy looking spoilers and ground effects are a mandatory "option".

    I think Toyota is trying too hard to appeal to the younger generation. I'm not sure that even half of their target market for the Matrix cares for those ground effects.
  • I have a '01 Corolla and have about 26,000 miles. The other day while I was driving to work, the malfunction indicator light came on. I took it to the dealer and the outcome was that I needed a new charcoal canister. It was still under warranty. Just wondering if anyone else had this problem. Any thoughts or suggestions? I would like to know if this is going to be a constant problem in the future. Thank you!
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    Whew! I am glad to hear about the "silly" side skirts and spoilers on my Corolla S.

    I was wondering why all the smiles and smirks on fellow drivers when I drive in my Corolla S. I was beginning to get self conscious ;)
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...these things are all a matter of taste. But I have to agree with the observation above that they may be turning off more buyers than they realize with this stuff.

    I am helping the daughter of a friend buy her first car, and she rejected the Matrix precisely because of all of the tacked on body pieces that were essentially "mandatory options" during the early production runs of the car. She is in her mid-20s and presumably the demographic "target" for the Matrix.

    She is very outdoorsy, an enthusiastic bike rider, and exactly the kind of buyer that was supposed to snap up the Matrix/Vibe. She is finalizing the deal on a Protege 5 wagon, instead.
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