Following a face-lift for 2001, Toyotas front-drive subcompact sedan sees no changes for 2002. A near-twin of the Chevrolet Prizm, which will be dropped after the 2002 model year, the Corolla has been Toyotas second-best seller behind the midsize Camry. According to Automotive News, Toyota dealers sold 230,156 Corollas during 2000.
A sporty S model slots between the base CE and upscale LE trims. Chevrolets Prizm has different styling but uses the same front-drive platform and mechanical components as the Corolla. Both are built at a California plant that the two companies share, but some Corollas are produced in Ontario, Canada. A redesigned 2003 Corolla goes on sale in January 2002 and is likely to have a more youthful appearance.
Equipped with multireflector halogen headlights, the Corollas styling is clean but conventional. The S model has color-keyed side moldings, grille and rear mudguards. The Corolla rides a 97-inch wheelbase and measures 174 inches long just slightly shorter than the Ford Focus and Honda Civic. Four-door sedans are 66.7 inches wide and 53.7 inches tall.
The Corolla seats five occupants on cloth-upholstered seats. Compared to some rivals, the Corollas standard-equipment list is on the meager side. Even on the top-of-the-line LE, such items as air conditioning and power windows, locks and mirrors are optional rather than standard. In fact, the LE is the only Corolla model that comes with a standard cassette player, as well as a split-folding rear seat, rear-window defogger and tilt steering wheel. None of this seems to deter buyers, who simply check off desired items that are offered in special packages.
Under the Hood
A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 125 horsepower works with a standard five-speed-manual gearbox or a three- or four-speed-automatic transmission. The three-speed unit is optional on the Corolla CE, while the others can opt for the four-speed automatic.
Side-impact airbags are optional on all models, and an antilock brake option is available for only the LE and S editions. Toyota says the Corollas bumpers can withstand a 5-mph collision without damage, a claim that some larger cars cannot match.
Despite conservative styling and prices that are higher than those of many competitors, the Corolla is one of the best subcompacts on the market. Toyotas long-lived sedan delivers an impressive blend of frugal fuel economy, refinement, reliability and durability.
Performance wont stir emotions, but its wholly adequate for ordinary driving, whether the Corolla is equipped with the manual shift or the automatic transmission. Corolla owners can expect easy driving, capable maneuvering and a smooth ride in a sedan thats quieter than some larger automobiles.