I bought my '96 Corolla in May of 2012 from a Porsche dealership. It was used with 106k miles on it, and I probably overpaid for it at $4k. I
haven't put more than 5k miles on it since my purchase, but it has been a great car to me! I never worry about it not starting and it has never had any major problems - all I've really put into it is routine maintenance.
For a car that is nearing twenty years old, it's got surprisingly good gas mileage. I get 30 hw and 25 city, give or take. My car is also an automatic, which would explain the mpg being a little lower than that of the standard manual models.
Being a college student, it's cheap to maintain and perfect for me.
I love that it's so tiny! This car can fit anywhere. The A/C blow ice cold and there is a surprising amount of room in the backseat and trunk for a car this size. Everything is well-positioned and simple - it's not super fancy and every button has a purpose to me.
This car is basic. It gives you what you need to get from point A to point B.
That's what I wanted and it's what I got.
I would love cruise control - although that's probably just an issue with my particular car.
It's also pretty low to the ground, so if you're a tall person some find it cramped. I'm 5'8" and fit in it comfortably, but my 5'7" mother hates it.
It doesn't speed up very fast either... but since I'm no speeder, this is fine for me.
If you want something glamorous, this is not the car for you. It doesn't stand out and has been accused of being a "granny" car, although I personally think it's super cute!