Used 1997 Toyota Corolla Review

what's new

For the 1997 Toyota Corolla, the Classic Edition (CE) debuts and the slow-selling DX Wagon gets the ax.

vehicle overview

Toyota has a winner with the Corolla; after 30 years of production it has become the second best-selling car in automotive history. We feel that this is due to its solid engineering, available safety features, and fun-to-drive attributes when equipped with a five-speed manual transmisson.

The Corolla is a fine car with good handling characteristics, a well-designed interior, and attractive, if not earth-shattering, looks. Additionally, the optional antilock brakes, better than average crash test scores and integrated child seat on DX models go a long way toward making the Corolla a reasonably affordable, safe, compact family-sedan.

The wagon variant disappears for 1997, and Toyota introduces a new CE trim level that stands for Classic Edition. The CE is essentially a Standard model with a package of upgrades not normally found on the lower level Corolla. Corollas get revised door trim this year, and side impact beams that meet 1997 federal standards. Nothing else new here, as Toyota prepares to retire the current edition and introduce a new, improved Corolla for 1998.

Unfortunately for Toyota, there is a good reason to skip the Corolla when shopping for a new car; the Geo Prizm. Built on the same assembly line as the Corolla, out of the same parts and by the same workers, the Prizm is everything that the Corolla is and more. Most importantly the Prizm is significantly cheaper than the Corolla and comes with a roadside assistance warranty that the Corolla lacks. We like the Corolla, but we would buy the Prizm.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.