I'm a college student with a very limited budget so I needed something reliable and at a good price. Since my summer job requires about 800 miles of driving a month in my own car and I drive the 200 miles to see my fiance as much as possible fuel economy was important. Therefore I went with the Corolla. It has been a GREAT decision. With about 28 mpg in the city I was making a decent amount on my gas check. Have had no mechanical problems and previous owner showed me his maintenance record with no abnormal maintenance. It only has a 4 cylinder engine but because of its small size it picks up great. Granted I was used to driving a 97 Chevy Astro and a 92 Pontiac transport but this is sweet!
MPG, turning radius, reliability, easiness of doing my own oil changes.
Being 6'6" this is not the ideal fit for me, but the MPG, make up for that. Burns about a quart of oil between changes.