Up Close With the 2009 Toyota Corolla

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  • The latest Corolla improves in some areas but disappoints in others. The dashboard has lots of hard, cheap plastic — like the last Corolla did — but it manages to look respectable and well-fitted.

    Kudos to Toyota for including a two-tier glove compartment. It offers plenty of space and, in combination with the decent-sized center console, makes the Corolla one of the more storage-friendly compact cars out there. The A/C controls, in contrast, are a step down. I thought the previous Corolla had high-quality knobs and dials for a compact car, but Toyota seems to have ditched them for the cheaper controls from the Yaris.

    The cloth seats and faux wood trim in a XLE model on the show floor were inviting enough, but the leather seats in a nearby XRS model seemed to be too big for the Corolla’s britches — it’s an economy car, and the cheapish leather won’t fool anyone into thinking it’s something pricier. With managing editor Patrick Olsen (6-foot-1) up front, I (6-foot) had limited rear-seat legroom but enough headroom to sit up straight without scraping my noggin above. — Kelsey Mays, 1:05 p.m.

More on the 2007 LA Auto Show
2009 Toyota Corolla

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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