I purchased a pre-owned 2002 Corolla when my 1994 Tercel final gave up the ghost. This is perhaps the ultimate commuter car - reliable, steady, easy to drive, fuel efficient, and unnoticed by speed traps. The five-speed instead of automatic transmission makes a big difference in traffic and bad weather. BTW - I'm 5'6" and find the cabin very comfortable!
Reliability and gas mileage. I run synthetic oil and average 36-40 MPG overall.
The Corolla is essentially a commuter's car for one or two passengers. Commuters want reliability, economy and a comfortable ride. The Corolla delivers in spades. Looks and rear seat knee room are not as important to us commuters. The only weakness is roominess for drivers who are taller that 5'10". Otherwise, you can't go wrong with a Corolla. The ride and handling dramatically improved when I installed Yokohama TRZ tires.
Automatic head lights. This is why I won't buy a Honda. Great brakes.
A compass. The steering wheel rim is too thick. The steering is a little heavy for one handed driving although the road feel is very good.
What I love about my Corolla: Great gas mileage; cheap car payment; minimal repairs; she always starts; Toyota service has been mostly great What I don't love about my Corolla: She's hopeless going up hills on the highway; merging on the highway can be scary b/c her pickup is slow; I've had problems turning the key in the ignition (just turn harder); my check engine light came on after a couple years (carbon filter replaced under warrantee); not enough leg room in the backseat (I am 5'11'')
The dashboard outside temperature gauge is awesome.
I think it's a great value for its cost. For my next car, I'll upgrade to a Camry to get more leg room and a peppier engine.
Owned the LE three years now, and just
change oil and add gas occasionally!
My roads are secondary, usually, so I
can normally get 40 to 44 MPG (55
MPH). I researched before buying, and
know I made the right choice. The
ONLY complaint is that the car needs
either a six-speed, or more HP. Even
a seasoned manual transmission driver
(all my life) can still kill the
engine at times. It just does not
have a low enough first gear! I am 55
years old and this will be my last
commuter, it is built that well. Just
keep clean oil in it, and pay
attention to coolant change-outs. You
will not be disappointed.