The Corolla, like all Toyotas, has been built with precision to be reliable and practical. I got the S model so I could look good at the same time. The car is fairly fun to drive too, thanks to a smooth and peppey engine and a precise 5 spd manual. I was looking at a Mazda 3, which I still think is more fun and better looking, but the price was right on the Toyota (probably because they're revamping this model for 2008)with 0.9% interest and $750 cash back on a lease. It's built for smaller drivers (I'm 6') as evidenced by the steering wheel being close to the dash and high seat height. After about a week I found an acceptable driving position, but still no thigh support.
Great powertrain, well built, comfortable seat cushions (a little small though), classic good looks, reliable, amazing resale value, high quality interior materials, excellent fit and finish, fun to drive, good gas mileage to power ratio(you won't get the 32/41 MPG stated though. Plan on 25/35.
If we wanted a ton more features, power, etc. we'd be buying a more expensive car. Having this kind of build quality for less than $16k is remarkable, I think. The stereo could have a little more power and better speakers with an aux in, I suppose.
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