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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • I saw the new Corolla preview at a few websites and I'm not too impressed. Personally I think it looks like a mini Camry...which I guess is not bad but it's not very original. It's not even being sold yet and it already looks dated. The thing I really didn't like is that they have a "sport" model that is purely cosmetic. The engine sounds weak's already at the bottom of the pack as far as power goes. Nothing ground breaking here, it just looks like toyota is trying to keep up. They did make it more roomy though which is something the Corolla needed.
  • Don't forget what most people buy Corollas for - exceptional build quality and anticipated reliability. I doubt those qualities will change in the new model. I had a 1997 base model Corolla, with the 100hp 1.6 liter and a manual trans. That car was quiet, comfortable and if it hadn't been totaled by a full-size GMC, would likely have been reliable as well.

    As for the accident, it was a head-on, the p/u crossing the center divider into my lane, with our combined speed roughly 100 mph. My car was destroyed, the truck had some minor cosmetic damage, however I walked away from the wreck, the truck's driver had a broken wrist, two broken ribs and had to be taken away in an ambulance.

    I think that the new Corolla will continue the 30+ year trend of its name and be a tremendous success. It is a very high-quality car that mortals can actually afford.
  • Doesn't it have more power than the Civic EX?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    Yes, 130 hp to 127 in the EX. Not bad for an under-$14,000 car. Equal to or more than most of the competition, except Neon, Elantra, and the high-zoot Sentra and Golfetta models.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I bought my Protege for many reasons (it's my third), but one because it looks sharp and original. Now, I understand your opinion may vary, and you may think it's ugly. No matter your feelings, good or bad, though, when you see one on the road, there's no mistaking that it's a Protege. Same thing with other cars in this class: you'll never mistake a Focus for a Sentra or an Elantra for a Civic. The manufacturers put their own touches on each car to distinguish them from competitors and from other cars in their own lines. (Therefore an Elantra doesn't look like a Sonata; a Sentra doesn't look like an Altima; a Protege doesn't look like a 626.)

    Now enter the Corolla. It has no personality that makes its own statement! It's a mini-Camry, and nothing more! I hear they're even offering leather, LOL! In an economy car!

    To me, the car screams "I can't afford a Camry or Avalon, but I wanna look like one!" Ten years from now, no one will remember what this car looked like. It has absolutely NO features that distinguish it from other cars in the line. At least the old model had its own unique appearance.

    Wake up, Toyota! Why can't we have the European body? Must all Toyota enthusiasts have to accept the vanilla (my opinion) Camry styling? I agree with that earlier post -- I miss the mid- to late-80s Toyotas. Remember the FX-16 "pocket rocket?" Or the supercharged first-generation MR2?

    Heck, even their first two minivans were unique in appearance. Now you can't tell a Sienna from a Chevy Venture. Think that's stretching it? Check out:,


    And to think I'm bashing Toyota's new Corolla, when my first car was a 1978 Corolla Deluxe. Oh well.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    For helping me prove my point!

  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    There really isn't much that you can do with a minivan. There were some experiments (see link) that failed and I think they have just come to the conclusion that this is the best way of handing the problems involved with designing what is essentially a box on wheels. Personally I'm a station wagon kind of guy. They handle so much better. If you need to haul something regularly then by a van. Although you can get a 4x8 sheet of plywood in an Acura MDX. Now that i could driver over a minivan. (chuckle)

  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    The 2003 Corolla has 90.3 cu. ft. of passenger space listed, which still puts it behind the Elantra (94), Focus (93.8), Protege (92.6), and Civic (91.4). The Echo has 87.4 cu. ft. of passenger space, which is not too far different, which brings up the question why they chose this amount. Is this so that they can remain competitive and yet remain within CAFE so that they can sell more trucks?
  • The Jetta has leather. I'd say that Toyota did this to interest Jetta buyers. The standard features on the CE will draw customers interested in cars in the class. As for styling, it has that unique tall look with those last generation Corolla tail lights. No mistaking that for anything but a Corolla.

    And...this is the European Corolla aka Corolla Altis.
  • I don't think very many Jetta buyers will be drawn to the Corolla because of leather. Sorry, I just don't see it. The new Corolla is not unique at all.

    Meade... I think it is nice they are offering leather though. Don't be surprised when the next generation Protege comes out with a leather option. I know you have seen the new Mazda 6 and that car makes it clear they are targeting European makes. It will all be interesting to see.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    Toyota must figure there is a big market for small cars that have the smoothness and quality of a larger car, like the Camry. And they've sold lots of Corollas over the years, so they know their market. Look at their main Japanese competitors (according to Civic and Sentra. Both have the same kind of nondescript styling as the Corolla, but the Corolla offers exceptional reliability (even the Civic is just "average" now), an ultra-smooth powertrain, and a handsome interior. What's curious is that I saw where Toyota is trying to attract younger buyers to the Corolla, as the average age of Corolla buyers is 44 now. I don't think the tack-on ground effects and leather will do much towards that goal. Not when there are much "cooler" small cars out there, like (IMO) the Protege, Focus, and Elantra GT. Think of it: you can buy an Elantra GT with leather and tons of other features standard, plus hatchback versatility, for just a few dollars more than the Corolla CE, which doesn't even have A/C! Maybe Toyota made the Corolla's styling so bland because they can last 10-15 years, and they figure owners won't want trendy styling that could go out of fashion in a few years.
  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    I don't see what's so surprising about leather being an option on a economy sedan, it's already an option on the Focus, but then again I don't see the need for econo sedan spoilers either.
  • Corolla CE now has CD, air, digital clock and (big deal I know) color keyed door handles. (I think the older CEs were ugly with all that black plastic on the door handles, mirrors and side moulding.
  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    Toyota site lists 3 competitors individually, the Civic, Sentra, and the Focus, so they have moved ahead of only one them in passenger space. So the question still remains on their sizing strategy. I agree with you on their reliability reputation.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    The Chicago Tribune today reported that the Corolla will base at $13.3 while the Matrix will base at $14.6. Will those of you in the market for a Corolla consider a Matrix as well? Why or why not?
  • I wouldn't consider a Matrix because I despise SUVs. The only thing worse than SUVs (well, actually lots of things are worse, like minivans) are cars or vans PRETENDING to be hideous SUVs.
  • ...Of their market share. The Ford Focus has been very sucessful...selling way more than the escort did. Hyundai as well has been seelling alot more along with VW. Mazda's have increased sales as well but I don't know how much of a dent they have made.

    Anyways, I think most young internet savy buyers that want a nice set of wheels will pass up the Corolla. It is quite bland and anyone who wants a sporty ride will know that the body add ons are for show once they drive it. The Leather will only get buyers that want the feel of a mini luxury car. Personally I like leather...I wish my Protege had leather seats? Why? Becuase leather usually doesn't have any stupid patterns like cloth seats do. I'll have to admit the my Protege cloth seats look OK.

    On another note, the Mitsubishi EVO VII is coming to North America next year! Not excactly an economy or low end car but for a fraction of the price of a Porsche, you can have superior performance. I hope they sell it in Canada, there are no Mitsu dealers here.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    Here are the MSRPs (US $) for the '03 Corolla according to

    CE manual - 13,855

    CE auto - 14,655

    S manual - 15,000

    S auto - 15,800

    LE manual - 15,165

    LE auto - 15,965

    These prices include the "Delivery, Processing, and Handling" fee, which is $40 more in some states. Considering that well-equipped Sentra GXE 5-speeds sell for under $13k and Elantra GLSs for under $11k, Toyota is banking a lot on their quality reputation to sell the new Corolla. But sell they will--just like all the Civics that are snapped up at a premium price.

  • spiritzspiritz Posts: 21
    Can't find him anywhere.
    I guess he's gone out for mission at Afgan.
    Or Maybe promoted(ColonelTomEcho whatever) and replace his Echo with new Camry(ColonelTomCamry).
    Anyway, I miss him a lot.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    I think the Toyota Corolla is very good at doing exactly what it is designed for. Rides quietly and compliantly, and the engine & tranny are very smooth and super reliable. Front seats are comfortable, however the rear passenger space is very tight for larger adults. The Corolla is extremely safe and fuel economy is excellent. The perfect vehicle for a single or small family to get from point "A" to point "B". I won't buy new Corolla in the near future, however; I would recommend one in a heart beat. BTW, the Toyota Corolla's resale value is truly top box in this segment. The Honda Civic is the only low end sedan with less depreciation. Just my opinion, these cars sell because many, many people desire the above suggested characteristics.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    I purchased a 1994 Toyota Corolla DX for my wife and payed $16,703 for this excellent 4 door sedan. We owned the car for almost 6 years. I replaced this 1994 Corolla DX with a 2000 Mazda Protege ES. In the almost 6 years my wife drove this wonderful small sedan, we needed only regularly scheduled maintenance & one repair, a 4 wheel alignment. Never a squeak, buzz, shimmy or rattle or any problem in the six years. My wife worked only part-time during this time and the mileage (57,525) was below normal when, I sold this car to a local college professor for $7,000. Put a 5 line add in our local paper and sold the car in less than a week. Very easy.


    Purchased in late spring of 1994 for $16,703.
    Sold in early spring of 2000 for $7,000.

    *Difference of $9,703 or aprox. ownership cost of $139 a month. That was pretty cool. Used the $7,000 as a down payment on the 2000 Mazda Protege. To me,very verrry low depreciation and top box reliability of the Toyota Corolla increase the value of this car well above the extra couple thousands of dollars you pay over the domestic and Korean small sedans. Just my opinion.

    *excludes finance interest and yearly maintenance & repair costs.

  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    I take that on the history on the Corolla, still we'll still have to see if they have first year problems. But other companies may not follow their historical trend. Take for example the 2000 Mazda Protege ES and the 2000 Ford Focus ZTS sedans, base.

    (MSRP + dest) - Trade In Value(per Edmunds) = Loss in value

    15490 - 8654 = 6836 Protege
    15605 - 8909 = 6696 Focus

    Per Edmunds, at least for now the Focus lost less value than the Protege.
  • lleroilleroi Posts: 112
  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    BTW could you please include the Sentra?

    I'll bet when you factor in the discounting from MSRP the figures get closer in most instances.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    Interesting figures. I am a bit surprised the Civic comes out that much better than the Corolla, given its bulletproof reputation. But then, 2001 was the start of an all-new model for the Civic and year 4 for the Corolla.
    The figures also show that the trick to making out OK on depreciation on a Korean car is to pay as little as possible. For example, let's compare the 2001 Corolla LE to the 2001 Elantra GLS. I'll use Edmund's TMV figures for similarly-equipped 5-speeds (Corolla with Extra Value Pkg 2 and side air bags), similar colors, and my local zip code.

    Corolla TMV $13,596
    Elantra TMV $12,202

    2-year Depreciation:
    Corolla $6254
    Elantra $6711

    4-year Depreciation:
    Corolla $8022
    Elantra $8541

    5-year Depreciation:
    Corolla $8701
    Elantra $9273

    So using TMV numbers, the advantage is to the Corolla. But I know that 2001 GLSs, and in fact 2002 GLSs, could be had for under $11,000 in my area based on regularly advertised prices--no haggling needed. (Also, TMV does not take into account the rebates that Hyundai frequently offers on Elantras.) In some areas of the country such as California, prices are even lower. Assuming one pays just $11,000 for the Elantra, the picture changes:

    2-year Depreciation: $6050
    4-year Depreciation: $7700
    5-year Depreciation: $8360

    One could argue that if the Elantra could be had for less than TMV, then it's possible that the Corolla could be bought for under TMV also. And that could be true. The point is that the strategy followed by some low-end car buyers (like me) to buy a car with a higher depreciation rate is not as bad economically as many posters in these forums would lead you to believe--as long as you can get a super-low price for the car compared to the cars with lower depreciation rates.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    ALG(Auto Leasing Guide) is the number one company, leading institutions use to calulate lease depreciation. Their site provides residual value data for new automobiles.

    Here is how they rate:
    24 months-
    2001 Honda Civic ES retains 61% of it's value.
    2001 Volks Jetta GLS retains 61% of it's value.
    2001 Toyota ECHO retains 56% of it's value.
    2001 Nissan Sentra SE retains 55% of it's value.
    2001 Saturn SL2 retains 55% of it's value.
    2001 Toyota Corolla LE retains 54% of it's value.
    2001 Ford Focus ZTS retains 54% of it's value.
    2001 Mazda Protege ES retains 53% of it's value.
    2001 Subaru Impreza AWD retains 52% of it's value.
    2001 Hyundai Elantra GLS retains 45% of it's value
    2001 Chevy Cavalier LS retains 44% of it's value.
    2001 Suzuki Esteem GLX+ retains 43% of it's value.
    2001 Daewoo Nubira CDX retains 43% of it's value.
    2001 Dodge Neon ES retains 40% of it's value.
    2001 KIA Spectra GSX retains 37% of it's value.

    48 months-
    2001 Honda Civic ES retains 46% of it's value.
    2001 Volks Jetta GLS retains 46% of it's value.
    2001 Toyota ECHO retains 39% of it's value.
    2001 Nissan Sentra SE retains 41% of it's value.
    2001 Saturn SL2 retains 39% of it's value.
    2001 Toyota Corolla LE retains 41% of it's value.
    2001 Ford Focus ZTS retains 38% of it's value.
    2001 Mazda Protege ES retains 38% of it's value.
    2001 Subaru Impreza AWD retains 39% of it's value.
    2001 Hyundai Elantra GLS retains 30% of it's value
    2001 Chevy Cavalier LS retains 32% of it's value.
    2001 Suzuki Esteem GLX+ retains 30% of it's value.
    2001 Daewoo Nubira CDX retains 29% of it's value.
    2001 Dodge Neon ES retains 28% of it's value.
    2001 KIA Spectra GSX retains 25% of it's value

    60 months-
    2001 Honda Civic ES retains 41% of it's value.
    2001 Volks Jetta GLS retains 40% of it's value.
    2001 Toyota ECHO retains 33% of it's value.
    2001 Nissan Sentra SE retains 35% of it's value.
    2001 Saturn SL2 retains 33% of it's value.
    2001 Toyota Corolla LE retains 36% of it's value.
    2001 Ford Focus ZTS retains 32% of it's value.
    2001 Mazda Protege ES retains 32% of it's value.
    2001 Subaru Impreza AWD retains 34% of it's value.
    2001 Hyundai Elantra GLS retains 24% of it's value
    2001 Chevy Cavalier LS retains 27% of it's value.
    2001 Suzuki Esteem GLX+ retains 26% of it's value.
    2001 Daewoo Nubira CDX retains %24 of it's value.
    2001 Dodge Neon ES retains 24% of it's value.
    2001 KIA Spectra GSX retains 20% of it's value.

    Pretty interesting?

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    How did you decide to buy the Mazda Protege when Honda Civic and VW Jetta retain their value more than the other brands?
    Why do you desire a Mazda MPV when the Honda Odyssey retains value the best?
    Do you feel as many people that "fun to drive", "just feels nicer", dealership has nicer sales department/service department, etc. may be more important than to consider depreciation only?
  • and saw a Rio Cinco in gold. It looked cool from the front and back ends. Cool, though, is not always sporty or fun. It just had a pleasant look.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I'll tell you why I bought a Protege instead of a Jetta or Civic or Corrolla. #1 The Jetta: They are really, really nice cars, but the less than stellar reliability history, cheesy rear suspension, and price kept me away. #2 The Civic: Excellent car but the re-design doesn't do it for me, they are spendy, and you don't get much. #3 Corolla: Legendary reliabilty that cannot make up for the fact that this car is a BORING appliance!! I bought a 2001 Protege ES with 16 inch rims, performance oriented all season tires, power windows, locks, mirrors, keyless entry, top of it's class handling, true japanese reliability, tasteful good looks (IMO) among other things for $15,400 and 0% financing for 48 months. I think that represents an excellent bargain. It would be nice if it held it's value a little better, but on the other hand, it's such a good car that I'm not even thinking about selling it anytime soon. Seriously, I'd rather have a blast driving my car, than worry about a couple percentage points of resale value.
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