Review of used Toyota Corolla
Local car production was completely changed when the 1990s began. So strong that Toyota has expanded its local production capacity with a new factory in Altona, southwest of Melbourne.
The new Corolla AE101 / AE102 becomes the first Toyota model to be produced at the Altona facility after being opened in 1994.
It was one of the most popular cars sold in Australia, a leader fleeing in small car class, and the new model continues that success.
The Australian market has yet to undergo a major transformation taking place in the next decade.
Small cars were then still considered a second family car, or one for young, or poor drivers. They are much more basic than today’s small cars.
The new Australian-made Corolla, with a range of four-door cars (AE101) and five-door hatchbacks (AE102), later distinguished by the addition of the SECA badge, is a small conventional front-wheel drive car .
In addition to choosing the body design, there are a range of variations to fit most budgets.
First in the line is the CSi, powered by a 1.6-liter engine. From there, the range has climbed past the CS-X, with 1.6-liter or 1.8-liter engines, to 1.8-liter Conquest, 1.8-liter RV sports and finally 1.8-liter Ultima.
CSi, CS-X and Conquest are available in hatch and hatch versions, but RVs are only available in hatch form, and Ultima is only offered as a sedan.
You get a lot when you buy entry level CSi models. There’s an adjustable tilt steering column, center lock (but that’s not a remote control), intermittent wipers and radio-cassette audio.
Windows must be rotated by hand, mirrors must be adjusted manually, without cup holders and air conditioning is an additional option.
It’s a similar story to Conquest, but you’ve got an anti-glare rearview mirror and a tachometer.
Step onto the more well-equipped CS-X and you have air conditioning, but it’s not climate control, you also have velvet trim, remote central locking, interrupt wipers, cup holders at the front, power front and rear windows, power mirrors, and high-end four-speaker audio.
If you’ve gone all the way and bought Ultima, you have a CD player, intermittent wipers, and Driver belts with electric lumbar adjustment.
Well built before the digital age, Corolla doesn’t have features like MP3 or Bluetooth, so Don tries to sync your iPhone or Android device.
Likewise, it has no sat navigation, touch screen, parking sensor or reversing camera and no sunroof option.
Toyota has advertised the new Corolla as a really spacious company, and while it boasts a bit more cabin space than its predecessor, it’s only average for the class.
The front and rear spaces are pleasant, but the leg room for the rear seats is tightened if the front seats are adjusted to the rear on the right.
It’s also tight in width at the back, and three adults will find it a bit tight. It is rated as a five-seater, and it can be accepted with children in the back, but not for three adults.
Boot space is not too generous, but the rear seats can be folded 60/40 to allow more space when needed.
The 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter twin-cam engines are well proven. Both are gasoline; No diesel engine is provided.
With new cylinder heads, new pistons, new intake systems and new management electronics, the 1.6-liter engine is quieter and has better performance at low revs.
But even with extra torque at low revs, it’s still negligible in terms of overall power.
The more powerful 1.8-liter engine is a much better proposition. It was a smooth performer, ready to spin freely and drive nicely.
Corolla is not the most lively small car on the market, but it makes sense, especially with the 1.8 liter engine.
The four-speed auto has reduced performance and makes it feel a bit sluggish when accelerating. It’s a problem with smaller 1.6-liter engines compared to more powerful 1.8-liter engines.
It is a sports car by all means, but it is guaranteed and sure on the road.
The power steering is very light and reassuring, and the mix of front disc brakes and rear drum brakes is likely to make it stop safely.
Road noise has improved compared to the previous model mainly thanks to the stiffer bodywork, but it’s still higher than most owners want.
While safety was an important concern for buyers in the early 1990s, the cars they bought did not have much of the safety equipment we currently use.
No model in the Corolla range, not even the top-class Ultima, prides itself on the basic safety of ABS brakes.
But Ultima had an airbag. It’s the only model that offers airbags as a standard device, but it’s only one for the driver. Forget about airbags for front-seat passengers, or head or side airbags, they are simply available.
You can have the safety of ABS brakes and driver airbags if you’re prepared to pay extra for the options.
This Corolla model appeared well before the introduction of many popular safety systems today, including electronic stability control (ESC).
Similarly, it is still too early for ISOFIX child-restricted placement points, which did not become legal in Australia until 2014.
There is no ANCAP safety rating for this model.
Any common problems?
With the earliest examples of this 23-year-old Corolla, you can expect them to average 250,000 to 400,000 km, or even more, on watches.
That’s a lot of kilometers in anyone’s language, and while the Corolla is a durable car, you can expect it to be worn.
The best car to buy is the one with the lowest odometer that seems to have been well taken care of by the previous owners.
Engine wear will likely deprive engines of some of their performance, and fuel savings may also be expected to increase.
Check for black oil smoke from the exhaust pipe when driving, which is a sure sign of engine wear.
When driving, make sure the gearbox changes smoothly and engages in gears without hesitation.
Automatic transmissions are often considered to require no maintenance, but they do their best when the oil is kept fresh.
Check a service to confirm a regular service routine. Corolla’s recommendation is that the Corolla should be serviced every 10,000 km or six months; Orange timing belt should be changed every 150,000 km or seven years.
The cracking price service was thought of when the new Corolla came on the market, but it was not expensive for the service and any local authorized mechanic could do it.
The original warranty was three years / 100,000km, but that expired long ago.
Now, it’s so old that even used car dealers don’t need warranty.
There are no recalls that affect this Corolla, but if anything grows, you can find it on our Toyota Corolla problem page.