The best-selling model in the world, Toyota Corolla was introduced in Japan in 1966 and more than 30 million Corollas have been sold worldwide by 2007. The Corolla is a very simple, reliable and easy to maintain vehicle with one of the best fuel economy ratings in its class. As it’s very popular, the Corolla holds value well and is easy to sell. Available in North America only as a front-wheel drive 4-door sedan, the 1998-2002 Corolla was offered with only one engine: the 125-hp 1.8L 4-cylinder DOHC, model 1ZZ-FE. This engine doesn’t have a timing belt; a timing chain is used instead. This engine is proven to be reliable if properly cared for. Transmission choices included a five-speed manual as well as a three- or four-speed automatic. The Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and side airbags were available as an option but are rare to find.
Inside the Corolla offers simple but practical design with basic instruments and easy to use controls. It’s a small car but with 6’2″” I had no problems to fit into the driver’s seat with enough head and legroom. The interior quality is good for an inexpensive car.
On the road, the Corolla has easy handling with comfortable and quiet ride, except for some engine noise on acceleration. The soft suspension absorbs road bumps well but some body roll is noticeable in turns; of course, this is not a sports car. The 1998-2002 Corolla received four stars in the frontal crash tests and three stars in the side-impact crash tests performed by the NHTSA. Models with side airbags received four stars for the front seat protection in the side-impact crash tests.
The EPA rates the 2001 Corolla with a 4-speed automatic transmission at 26/36 mpg or 9.0/6.5 liters per hundred kilometers. This means that you can travel approximately 344 miles on one 13.2-gallon (50L) tank of gas. The 3-speed automatic model is rated at 25/30 mpg or 9.4/7.8 L/100 km.
Overall, Toyota Corolla is a perfect choice if you need a small reliable and fuel-efficient transportation. The Corolla won’t cost you much in maintenance and if one day you decide to sell it, it won’t be difficult. If you find a used Toyota Corolla in good condition, it can last for a long time without major problems if maintained well. Two of my friends had this model Corolla for many years and both were very happy with the vehicle. One thing to watch out is the engine oil consumption. Before buying a used Corolla, have it checked out by a knowledgeable mechanic.