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Toyota Corolla



  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Glad to hear you are enjoying your '01 Corolla. My wife and I absolutely love or '02 (which is identical to yours). We bought it new 18 months ago and it has been an excellent car. We have 20,000 km/12,500 miles on the odometer and on a recent highway trip got 49 mpg (imperial gallon)/40 mpg (US gallon). We have the auto tranny.

    We also have an '03 Civic (115 hp engine and 5 speed) which is not as fuel efficient on the highway but better in the city than the Corolla.

    Of course nothing beat my previous car, an '01 Saturn SL with 5-speed, which was capable of 56 mpg (imperial) and 46 mpg (US).
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    Although the NHTSA tests are very good for Elantra, I personally put more weight on the IIHS tests because they reflect the sort of impacts that are most common in real life. It is also much more difficult to do well in an offset test.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Wow, 46 mgp out of a Saturn! I thought about a Saturn but hubby said no. He was pretty stuck on the Corolla. I certainly don't regret buying it. He's buying another truck, so I will have a truck and the car. Kinda makes it nice. My Corolla is a manual trans, wouldn't have it any other way.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    akangl: The Corolla was a good choice versus the Saturn. The Saturn was more fuel efficient and larger but the Corolla is more refined, comfortable, powerful and better quality. Also the new Saturn called Ion is quite a controversial design versus the more elegant and conservative Corolla.

    I think the Corolla and Civic are two of the nicest small cars on the market , although I also like the Hyundai Elantra, Mitsu Lancer and Mazda Protege, Nissan Sentra as second choices.

    I would have preferred a 5-speed on the Corolla too but my wife can't drive manual and does not want to learn. Fortunately my Civic is manual.

    Question to owners of smelly Corollas. Does it go away if you start using exclusively high octane/low sulphur gas (like those from Shell and Sunoco).
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    I have used Sunoco (regular) almost exclusively for several years but when I got my 2003 Corolla the dealer advised me against Sunoco in particular and so it has turned out to be. Esso is much better than Sunoco and with Shell I have yet to notice any smell at all.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Is this Esso and Shell regular (87 Octane) or the higher?
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    It's regular, anything else is a waste of money. I imagine that Sunoco 94 octane which is guaranteed to be low sulphur would not smell much.
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    I have a question which is straying from the current conversations going on here. Can anyone who owns a Corolla tell me if it can really tow 1500lb.? Has anyone towed with this car? How did it do? I'm just curious. Thanks to all!
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    My guess is that regardless of rated capacity, towing with a fwd car as small as a Corolla with such a high-tech engine is a really bad idea, especially with an auto tranny.

    Most V6 powered minivans do not have much more towing capacity than 1500 lbs, and in some cases, that includes what is in the van itself.

    The Sienna in its previous incarnation occasionally had engine sludging and tranny problems no doubt because people are using them for hauling more than they were designed for (thus over taxing the engine, oil etc).

    I think an American vehicle is probably a safer bet for towing since they are typically a little heavier and many come with push-rod engines with lots of low end torque. I think that the Big 3 still understand that some people are going to be hard on their cars and design them with that in mind.

    Best to check with Toyota on towing with the Corolla or get a small pickup (Tacoma etc).
  • lap3lap3 Posts: 1
    We are seriously thinking of buying a Corolla for our son. I'm a bit concerned though, about a few posts I've seen on here from people who say that it's just not roomy enough. Our son is 6' tall. WOuld appreciate your comments (and hope they aren't too discouraging because we LOVE this car!)
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    My husband is 6' and we have an 01 Corolla, the legroom is tight in it, but he doesn't mind the car. We almost bought an 03, but went with a used Corolla because the driving position on the 03 was awkward for both him and me. I think it just boils down to each person has his/her preferences. Go drive the car and decide, that's the best way I think.
  • boilermanboilerman Posts: 35
    I have owned a 2003 Corolla for 9 months and I am 6 foot 2 . The driving position although not horrible , is uncomfortable for tall, long legged drivers, especially on long trips....
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Yeah, you really have to try the '03 for yourself before making a decision - absolute height is no indicator of whether or not you'll be comfortable. I'm 6' even with a 32" inseam, and I used a seat cushion to get a little more height in our LE, even with the seat set at its highest position. I had no trouble with the seat/wheel/pedal relationship, but the deadpedal on the left firewall was far, far too close for comfort on long trips - I had to rest my left foot to the left of the brake pedal in the main footwell. This was my only complaint - in the effort to maximize total room, and get more room in the back, the whole passenger compartment has been pushed closer to the front wheel wells, which in turn moves the left foot "rest" back too far.

    For shorter people, I can see that the steering wheel/pedal relationship might be a problem, but it was not for me.

    Anyway, I have to agree with the observation that only an extended test drive will tell you whether or not it will work for you - we rented a new LE from our local dealer and drove it for a couple of days before making our final decision. Many dealers who have rental fleets have lots of Corollas and Camrys available - this is a good approach if you have a dealer nearby with the right cars.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I don't think 1,500 lbs would be a problem at all for the Corolla to tow. The owners manual says it can, and they are usually very conservative about things like that. 1,500 lbs really isn't very much.

    BTW most v-6 minivans can tow 3,500 lbs.
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    Most V6 minivans with transmission coolers can tow 3500 lbs.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Yes good point "grandtotal", the tranny coolers are a must with any automatics. Unforetunaltey the rating drops to only about 1500 lb without the cooler. Most people who do ocassional towing did not go out to buy a vehicle with towing in mind until they actually have to two something.

    The Corolla is rated for towing 1500 lbs which may be OK with a good hitch and a manual tranny but I think you will have to be extra vigilant about maintenance on the engine and tranny if you tow a lot. I think it also depende on the terrain and climate in your area. Best to check with Toyota to be absolutely sure.

    With the recent sluding problem (which has affected a few of the last generation Corollas as well though it is not well publicized) I would be careful with towing, especially if the car is under warrantee.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Just curious what causes this? I've never had a problem with a vehicle doing anything like that before and I've owned some very high mileage american trucks. We plan on flushing the engine in our Corolla and changing to synthetic oil. The car currently has about 45k on it, would synthetic oil prevent this problem?
  • superman5superman5 Posts: 154
    I do amit, corolla's driver seat is very uncomfortable, it seems very high and akward.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    I have heard many explanations for the sludging in newer Toyotas (primarily the big I4 and V6 used in Camry/Sienna/Avalon etc). It was caused by a design flaw but I understand that there are almost no examples from well maintained (read dealer serviced)normally driven cars. The Corolla cases are extremely rare and only affected a few 1998 models from what I have heard.

    My family has owned all Toyota car models (Tercel, Corolla, Camry and Avalon)over a number of model years with no real problems. My brother's car did consume a lot of oil after 120,000 km but I think he did not baby the car either.

    Keep the oil changed at 3000miles/5000 km at a Toyota dealer, and check your oil levels regularly and you should not have any problems. Is there anyone on this board who works for Toyota that can shed some light on this subject?
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Our car had its oil changed at the selling dealership at 7.5k mile intervals as the manual stated. At 80k miles, a dealership closer to home told me I had sludge in the engine. I never understood why the dealership that did every oil change on the car failed to see or notify me of this problem. I dumped the car 2 weeks later because of the sludge issue, but I wish Toyota i.e., the 1st dealership, had been more honest with me. After all, I followed Toyota's manual and let their people do the work!

    The Sandman :-(
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    no corolla ever had sludge issues. The only engines affected were 2.2L 4-cyls and 3.0L 6-cyls.

    This sludge thing is part of the reason people think Toyota's 7500-mile, and now Honda's new 10,000-mile, oil change interval is way too long, and go with 5000 or less instead.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • boilermanboilerman Posts: 35
    Toyota also claimed not to have ANY issues with sludge with Camry's and Sienna's until the publicity was so OVERWHELMING that they had indeed had MAJOR problems that they decided to "FIX" the problems as a "courtesy" to the millions involved. They still deny ANY responsibility for those 2 vehicles being designed poorly and blame the car owner instead... This company may for the most build very high quality cars, but their service and denial of problems with their vehicles leave a LOT to be desired...If the 5000 and 7500 mile oil changes cause sludge, why doesn't Toyota change that in their owners manual to a more conservative and lower oil change interval?
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The 96 owners manual listed a 7500 mile oil change interval? I thought our 97 was the first that listed this.

  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    I have actually heard of someone who had a sludgy Corolla here in the Toronto area, a 1998 model actually (same generation as my 2002) and he was told by the mechanic that he is not the first. Toyota would not help him since it was just out of warrantee, he bought second hand and did not have maintenance records.

    The sludging in the Corolla is extremely rare unlike the one affecting the larger engines as nippononly said. Sludging happens on other cars (non Toyotas) as well but like the Corolla examples, it is rare.

    Sandman, shame about your sludging problems. Toyota should really not tell people to change their oil at 7500 mile intervals because most people do not check their oil between oil changes.

    Many years ago GM (I think)came out with oil consumption guidelines and 1 quart of oil usage per 1000 miles is within the range of what is normal. Unfortunately most of these smaller engines only take 4-5 quarts of oil so you could potentially use up all your oil between changes and not know.

    My brother's Tercel had major oil consumption problems after 120,000 km and Toyota could never find the problem. They re-did the valve stems and seals etc with no change. The car did run well however and compression was always good but he spent a fortune trying to get this fixed without resolution. He now drives something else.

    Nippononly are you a Toyota techy? - could you shed some more light on this.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    without actually seeing the car that the oil leakage is around the rings. I have seen other tercels with the same problem.

    Lots of oil loss would usually not be caused by bad valve seals or stems - I am surprised they did this expensive work, unless there was another reason for it. Plus, you would know about bad seals because of smoking at start-up.

    Basically, repairing the piston rings is not cost-effective usually for tercels, most of which are not worth very much, which may be why I have seen a few with this problem. Until you are blowing a big smoke cloud whenever the engine gets hot, I would just keep driving a car like this and remember to keep the oil topped up.

    boilerman: "Millions of engines" (2 million or so, actually) WERE affected by the sludge TSB, but Toyota never repaired more than several hundred under this program. The problem was probably one of design (although I do not know why the manufacturers recommend such long oil change intervals), yet relatively few actual repairs were required. It got slightly overblown, mainly because Toyota let the first few owners with this problem stew while it waited to see if there was a systemic problem.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    What you said makes sense about the Tercel. My brother's car always started and ran well and even gas mileage was OK. No smoke either.

    Actually the few people I know who have had problems with Toyotas, have mostly had Tercels. My guess is that the cars are generally so reliable, some Toyota techs may not see many of these often enough to really understand and recognize common problems with certain vehicles, especially outside of high-volume metro areas.

    In your opinion/experience which has the better/more durable motor the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic or something else?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Well, like I said I've never had a problem. The last vehicle I used synthetic in was my 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, got it at 49k, flushed the engine and changed to amsoil. Went 12,500 miles, changed the filter, topped the oil off and went another 12,500 before draining the oil. The truck burned 1/2 qt of oil in 25k, was a really good truck too, I miss it. Darn repo man anyway.

    I plan on doing the same with my Corolla, although I'm seeing already its using oil, have to keep an eye on it. Of course Toyota's dipstick leaves a lot to be desired, guess I'm just used to american cars.

    Only problem I've had with my Corolla in the 2 weeks and 1300 miles I've had it (it now has 45,350 miles on it) is the clutch is weird. Maybe its just a Toyota thing or maybe its just this car, but really have to push the clutch in all the way to get it to shift after its been driven for a while. It doesn't like 3rd gear very much.

    Ah well, I'll take the quirks, love the 40 mpg!!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Through the 80s and the early 90s, I would give the edge to corolla engines, which could take more abuse, although corolla and civic engines are both extremely durable.

    Since the late 90s, I think all engines are built to much tighter tolerances and therefore can stand less abuse in general, so that may have equalized the long-term reliability of this pair.

    One place there is more of a disparity is transmissions: corolla automatics are significantly more durable long-term than Civics' - some of the Honda ones fail in less than 100K miles (which I call inexcusable barring severe abuse). I think in general Honda has trouble building a really good auto trans, as the recent enormous auto trans recall (Accord, TL, Odyssey, 1.3 million in all I believe) may also indicate.

    However, for long-term durability in the manual trans, I would go the other way: Honda builds superb manual transmissions that last forever.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    I don't think Honda have issued a recall for 1.3 million auto transmissions. What they did do is offer extended warranty coverage on the transmission to owners of 1.3 million vehicles (or whatever the figure was).
  • gregoriusmgregoriusm Posts: 61
    Thanks to everyone for all of their comments.

    I have narrowed down my search to the 2004 Corolla LE, but am wondering weather to go with the extra "B" package up here in Canada, which has the following options: Front side airbags, leather seats, moonroof, leather wrapped steering wheel, chrome inner door handles, theft deterrent system, and fog lamps.

    I have never had leather seats and am wondering if anyone out there has a 2003 with leather seats and what they think of the seats, leather quality, etc.

    Also, the summers can be extremely hot and the winters very cold up here. What should I know about leather? Stick to the seats in summer while wearing shorts? Cracking in the winter when its -40? More comfortable or less comfortable for long drives than cloth?

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. - Greg
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