Purchased my Corolla in March 2002.
At this time (June 2011) there are 49800 miles on it.
Here is every problem I've ever had with it over 9 years in chronological order:
- steering wheel was slightly out of alignment, tilting to the left a bit; Toyota straightened it under warranty
- AC cut out while I took a 600 mile road trip; only happened once, didn't need to fix it
- squealing started off and on from the engine/belt; had belt replaced but squealing continued; sources online say it's a belt tensioner problem; happens inconsistently; haven't fixed it yet
- crackling distortion began from rear speakers
- rear wheel bearings needed replacing, $1260 for parts + labor
My brother talked me into buying a Toyota and I do love it. However, I had to replace the drivers side wheel bearing in July of last year, no problem - I expect to have to pay for this type of maintenance. I had about 110,000 miles on it. A year later and 25,000 miles later - the same wheel bearing goes. I explain to the dealer that it doesn't make sense that I have to replace it yet again. The other one has never been replaced. They simply said its normal wear and tear because of the amount of miles I have put on it. We even called Toyota directly and we are waiting for some answers. Hopefully they will make it right. I was sold on Toyota, but may not be now. Will depend on how they respond.
I bought the car new in 2002 and now have 98,000 miles on it. It required front brake pads due to squealing brakes at 25,000 miles and was done free. Have performed routine maintenance - battery 60,000 miles, tires 60,000 miles, brakes 85,000 miles. After the brakes at 85,000 there was a persistent squeal and the car needed 2 more trips back to the dealer. Was given a free loaner car for the 2 returns and it was handled very professionally. Other than that I routinely get 34-35 mpg with about 65% highway driving. The car is actually fun to drive and I am always the first "out of the blocks". Minimal road noise at cruising speed and very smooth highway manners.
Had my car for almost 7 years now and I can say it has been great. Yeah, it's not a BMW, but its a easy drive, fuel efficient and has good room for the size. I recently upgraded to a high end VW Passat wagon, and even though it is classier I miss my Toyotas efficiency (wife drives it now).
Efficiency. I get 29 MPG average driving city and highway. We took a 2500 mile road trip 2 years ago and averaged 35 MPG going 75 MPH on average. It seems to only get more efficient as time goes on.
I would say styling, but I think Toyota really ramped up the corolla after 2006. The current version looks a lot cooler.