I just purchased the 08 Corolla; traded in an 07 Mustang GT. I couldn't be happier with this decision. The Corolla is peppy, smooth, and handles well. Plenty of horsepower for commuting to and from work in a combination of city/highway driving. When you shut the doors, it sounds as solid as my wife's Volvo. No chance to check on fuel economy, so my rating there is based upon what I've read; I hope to get in the mid to high 30's, however. The halogen headlights are very bright. The four speaker, base stereo sounds fine. I love the simplicity of the design. This car just makes good sense. The more gas prices rise, the more money I save.
1.8 liter VVI engine, very quite for a four cylinder. The manual transmission; gives the driver better control over the available horsepower. Also, it is very easy to shift. I really like the conservative styling (this is the last year for this style).
As everyone has said, side-curtain airbags and ABS brakes should be standard. Needs a telescoping steering wheel. I find myself leaning forward to reach the radio controls.