Terribly uncommunicative steering, disconnected driving experience, cheap-feeling interior switchgear, no standard cruise control on XLE.
More Toyota Corollas have been sold on this planet than any other car. Thirty million since 1966 to be approximate, which equates to one Corolla leaving a dealership every 40 seconds (it's about 23 seconds today). With so many of Toyota's compact car running around, it's almost mathematically assured that you know someone who owns one or at least used to own one. And considering Toyota's fierce brand loyalty, there's probably a good chance you already own one.
Yet despite this popularity, the Toyota Corolla has become a punching bag in certain circles. Car enthusiasts and therefore automotive reviewers tend to deride the Corolla as a refrigerator on wheels, a reliable transportation appliance that conjures up all the emotional response of a good Maytag washing machine. While "car guys" see this as a slashing personal remark, many consumers and a vast majority of Corolla buyers probably see this "appliance" label as a welcome and apt descriptor. For them (and possibly you), a car is just an appliance to get from Point A to Point B safely and comfortably. Nothing more, nothing less.
Acknowledging this reality, we decided to see how the all-new 2009 Toyota Corolla fares when viewed from both perspectives. It was driven by our car-loving automotive editors as well as by a group of six everyday citizens in our economy sedan consumer comparison test. This "fair-and-balanced" approach yielded an interesting result. Both the editors and the consumers were fairly unanimous in their distaste for the Corolla, although that distaste certainly ranged from "Just not for me" to "Never, no, no, no. Oh goodness, no."
Either way, the Corolla is either not as good as it once was, or a wide array of superior-quality competitors have surpassed it. The Honda Civic is certainly a more well-rounded sedan, with a compliant ride and good handling, along with a much more interesting design. The Hyundai Elantra is another compelling choice, as it actually feels more like previous Corollas than the new Corolla does, delivering a comfy ride and well-crafted interior at a low price. Our top choice in this class is the sporty, well-rounded Mazda Mazda3.
There's a good chance this 2009 Corolla will continue to fly out of Toyota dealers every 23 seconds. However, savvy car buyers should recognize that there are better options available — whether you view cars as something special or just a glorified appliance.
Our test car belonged to the XLE trim level, meaning it came with the smaller of the two four-cylinder engines offered on the 2009 Corolla — only the "sporty" XRS comes with the 2.4-liter engine. This 1.8-liter mill is rated at 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Saddled to a four-speed automatic transmission (the only one available on the XLE), the Corolla accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds. This is consistent for base engines in this class and like many economy cars, the Corolla struggled most on the highway where full-throttle on-ramp runs and mid-road hills caused lots of gear-hunting and unpleasant engine screaming. Having cruise control would help on those mid-road hills, but alas, our test car did not have it — an omission that did not go unnoticed among our "civilian" testers.
Around town, though, the Corolla's power was certainly adequate, and it's hard to imagine why you'd opt for the bigger engine's 26-hp boost when it comes with a subsequent 5 mpg drop in fuel economy. As such, the Corolla XLE returns an impressive EPA-estimated 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined.
When it comes to handling, all are in agreement that the Corolla is not up to the task — especially its lifeless electric steering. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton put it best when he wrote, "To say the Corolla's steering feel is vague would be to credit it with any feel, of which it has none." Practically no information is transmitted from the tires to the driver's hands, leaving you to guess and approximate how much turning is needed — it can feel like a video game, and that's not a good thing. A spongy suspension doesn't help either, although its marshmallow ride was welcome on pockmarked roads.
Like the rest of the car, the nice-and-easy steering weighting and comfort-first ride should be appreciated by older drivers who are looking for a budget-priced Buick. This was a sentiment shared by our real-world consumer testers (from a variety of age demographics), who were nevertheless universally unimpressed by the Corolla's dynamic abilities. They felt less in control than in the other cars in the test (Civic, Mazda Mazda3), with noticeable body roll and unresponsive steering being frequently mentioned detractors.
This is clearly the area in which Toyota intended the Corolla to excel. The suspension sops up bumps and road imperfections well for a small car, with less of the flaccid body shudders its big brother Camry exhibits when striking particularly gnarly pavement. Wind and road noise are also nicely quelled, particularly on the highway, although the engine certainly does its fair share of growling.
Like most Toyotas, the Corolla's seats are soft and comfy, with the words "recliner" and "La-Z-Boy" thrown about liberally by our consumer testers. They lack support, however, so some may find long-distance comfort troublesome. The front seats offer a decent amount of space (a revelation for a small Toyota), and our tallest driver was just as comfortable in the Corolla as in the bigger Camry. That's not to say the driving position is great, but the range of travel for the seat and tilt-telescoping steering wheel is better than many small cars.
The backseat was a similar story, with a cushy seat bottom and decent room. In terms of legroom, our tallest driver (6-foot-3) was able to fit behind "himself," while headroom was on par with the competition. Sadly, there's no rear center armrest.
It doesn't get much simpler than the Toyota Corolla's control layout. The stereo is clearly marked with large buttons kept to the absolute minimum. The placement of the auxiliary audio jack could be better, though, as it requires draping a cord clumsily across the shifter. The climate controls consist of three large knobs that control airflow direction, fan speed and temperature — if you can't figure them out in a matter of seconds, you probably haven't been in a car built after 1990.
Storage space in the Corolla is quite good, with a pair of spacious gloveboxes, well-sized door pockets and a useful center console bin. The 12.3-cubic-foot trunk easily swallowed two sets of golf clubs and a large suitcase, all of which dropped easily into the wide trunk opening.
A rear-facing child safety seat fit well in the center position even with the driver seat at its rearmost position. Move the seat directly behind that driver seat, though, and it won't fit. There's also not quite enough room in that scenario with the seat facing forward. A shorter driver shouldn't have a problem, though. Our mother-of-four consumer tester declared the Corolla to be the best choice (among the Civic and Mazda Mazda3) for installing a child seat.
Design/Fit and Finish
We wouldn't be surprised if Toyota had plugged an image of a Camry and a Yaris into a computer and out popped the Corolla's styling. Nothing memorable, nothing that'll offend. It's much of the same story inside, with a straightforward appearance that looks lifted from Kia's no-nonsense school of cabin design.
The quality of materials is OK, but hardly class-leading as the Corolla once was — midpack is an apt descriptor. Although general plastic quality is OK, the tactile feel of the various buttons, knobs and stalks feels particularly cheap. The XLE's standard faux wood trim drew mixed reactions that seemed to fall along generational lines: older testers liked it; younger ones loathed it.
Who should consider this vehicle
Older drivers who are looking for a budget Buick (and the subsequent soft ride, loose steering, cushy seats and wood trim). Everyone else should take a long look elsewhere.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2009 Toyota Corolla listings and inventory: Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Toyota Corollas for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 2,131 used and CPO 2009 Corollas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 3,900 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the used 2009 Toyota Corolla. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a used or CPO 2009 Corolla available from one of 2,634 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2009 Toyota Corolla ?
Save up to $274.9 on one of 71 used 2009 Toyota Corollas for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $6000 as of Apr 19, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 147 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2009 Toyota Corolla trim styles:
The used 2009 Toyota Corolla XLE is priced around $8500 with average odometer reading of 75687 miles.
The used 2009 Toyota Corolla S is priced around $7402 with average odometer reading of 90872 miles.
The used 2009 Toyota Corolla Base is priced around $7811 with average odometer reading of 103224 miles.
The used 2009 Toyota Corolla LE is priced around $8746 with average odometer reading of 86724 miles.
The used 2009 Toyota Corolla XRS is priced around $7995 with average odometer reading of 100300 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
What options are available on the 2009 Toyota Corolla?
Available Toyota Corolla 2009 Submodel Types: Sedan
Available Toyota Corolla 2009 Trims: SE, S Plus, L, LE Plus, XSE, CE, S Premium, LE Eco, LE, S, LE Premium, Base, Special Edition, 50th Anniversary Special Edition, DX, LE Eco Plus, VE, XLE, LE Special Edition, S Special Edition, LE Eco Premium, LE Eco w/Premium Package, XRS
Exterior Colors: Slate Metallic, Falcon Gray Metallic, Galactic Aqua Mica, Blue Crush Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, Brown Sugar Metallic, 4Evergreen Mica, Nautical Blue Metallic, Silver Streak Mica, Indigo Ink Pearl, Barcelona Red Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Lunar Mist Metallic, Phantom Gray Pearl, Sandy Beach Metallic, Tropical Sea Metallic, Black Cherry Pearl, Desert Sand Mica, Impulse Red, Impulse Red Pearl, Super White, Black Sand Pearl, Blue Streak Metallic, Black, Sandrift Metallic, Black Currant Metallic, Capri Sea Metallic, Hot Lava, Moonshadow Gray Metallic, Cactus Mica, Cashmere Beige Metallic, Charcoal Gray Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl, Dark Emerald Pearl, Pebble Beige Metallic, Sandrift Pearl Metallic, Venetian Red Pearl, Woodland Pearl
Interior Colors: Ash/Dark Gray Fabric premium cloth, Black/Brown Fabric premium cloth, Ash Fabric cloth, Black Mixed Media Fabric leatherette/cloth, Black Softex/Black Fabric leatherette/cloth, Black Softex leatherette, Almond Fabric premium cloth, Ivory Fabric cloth, Vivid Blue Mixed Fabric leatherette/cloth, Steel Grey Fabric cloth, Dark Charcoal premium cloth, Black Softex/Steel Blue Fabric leatherette/cloth, Orangezest Mixed Media Fabric leatherette/cloth, Amber Fabric cloth, Light Gray, Ash cloth, Stone cloth, Beige cloth, Pebble Beige, Bisque cloth, Black, Dark Charcoal cloth, Black Softex/Black Amber Fabric leatherette/cloth, Bisque leather, Black Mixed Media Fabric w/Black Cherry Stitching leatherette/cloth, Dark Charcoal/Orange cloth, Light Charcoal
Popular Features: Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Upgraded Headlights, Back-up camera, Auto Climate Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, Sunroof/Moonroof, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Heated seats, Power Driver Seat, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Alarm, Leather Seats, Remote Start, Stability Control
Engine/Mechanics: 4 cylinders
Transmission: AUTOMATIC, MANUAL
Fuel Types: regular unleaded
Drivetrains: front wheel drive
Used 2009 Toyota Corolla Overview
The used 2009 Toyota Corolla is offered in the following submodels: Sedan. Available styles include LE 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), and S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A). Pre-owned Corolla models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2009 Corolla comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.