I purchased my Corolla BOCH in May 2008 because my Escort died on me. As far as I can see the Corolla was the best all around car ever made. I've put about 4000 miles on it and all I've had to do was put an O2 sensor on. I painted the drums and calipers, put a cold air intake on it, tinted the windows, nice system and alloy wheels. I've only owned 2 cars but this one blows the escort out of the water. It looks really modern for its time and has not failed me yet. There is 144000 miles on it now and I'm hoping to get upwards of 200,000. I know that it will surpass my expectations for it is known for its reliability. I'm getting a (1995) Maxima soon so we'll see how it compares.
Peppiness in 1st and 2nd gears while still maintaining its fuel economy. Passenger side air bags. Clean sound even with a stock muffler
Different cup holders. They get in the way of the ashtray :P And a clock on the base model. That should come standard on any car. My deck has one, but it should still be standard.