For the basic car driver: I was not joking in the title. I push this car harder than it was ever designed to be pushed. The gas pedal is more of an On/Off switch against the floor than something you step on lightly to get up to speed. To account for this, I do early oil changes and transmission services. The car has absolutely no fluid leakage whatsoever and the motor has never once missed on regular gas. Do NOT use premium fuel unless you install an aftermarket turbo and need the additional octane to eliminate detonation. The car hates High Octane fuel, especially on cold starts. For the Home Mechanic: This car is designed for simplicity of operation and service. To swap out the rear suspension, you literally pull 2 large bolts and the whole rear end is able to swing down to replace any component. Little things like this make me love it more. I have also installed 14,000 Lumens of off-road light bars and a 75 watt shortwave HAM radio in it. It took both and the alternator keeps up like a champ. I have modded, manipulated, and punished this car on 1000's of miles of logging roads and mountain passes and it keeps running. Best investment ever!
I bought this car brand new in January 2009 and traveled a lot for work. I now have 200K miles and use this as my second car for short trips. So far everything still works and no major mechanical issues or rusts. As long as you are changing the oil every 4K miles and tune up every 75K miles you should be good. Just be easy on the gas pedal since it doesn't have a lot of power.
I wanted a car that was very reliable and practical, but also had personality and caught the eye. When you say Corolla, you don't think about the XRS model, but this model is great. The 2.4-liter engine has great pickup with the manual transmission, and climbing grades is a lot better than with the 1.8 liter, with extra power on tap for passing. The interior is cheap, like others say, but it's a Toyota and 7 years old at that, so I am not expecting much. For a guy in his twenties that wanted something awesome but still practical and reliable, I have to say I am in love with my XRS Corolla. I just bought the car yesterday, but I will update this review when I have had it for some more time.
I researched before I bought the Corolla - I needed good gas mileage, enough room for the grandkids, and a comfortable ride. The Corolla has surprised me with its comfort, 27 mpg mixed hiway/street, and how well it has retained its good looks. The car is clean and functional with everything I need to comfortably get from A to Z. My only disappointment is that the car doesn't have Bluetooth or USB ports. It does have an auxiliary port that connects to the radio, so I am able to listen to books, music, news - whatever. I would highly recommend the Corolla as a sharp little vehicle with good response on the road.