Best Bet
  • (4.1) 47 reviews
  • Available Prices: $3,327–$9,835
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 32
  • Engine: 126-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic w/OD
2008 Toyota Corolla

Our Take on the Latest Model 2008 Toyota Corolla

What We Don't Like

  • Comfortable but shabby-looking cloth seats (LE)
  • Noisy interior at high speeds
  • Choppy ride on highway

Notable Features

  • 126-hp four-cylinder
  • Manual or automatic
  • Available electronic stability system
  • Body kit for S model

2008 Toyota Corolla Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in October 2006 about the LE version of the 2007 Toyota Corolla. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what details are different this year, check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

Though it hasn't undergone a significant redesign since the 2003 model year, the Corolla remains one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. What's so appealing about this compact? For starters, the Corolla gets exceptional gas mileage. It's also agile. Perhaps more important to buyers looking for inexpensive transportation is the Corolla's outstanding reliability. The Corolla's interior, however, is beginning to show its age.

Exterior & Styling
In the world of compact cars, styling is increasingly becoming more daring. Witness the futuristic front end of the Honda Civic and the brutish appearance of Dodge's Caliber. With its unmemorable looks, the Corolla has neither of these cars' bravado, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your tastes. (The Corolla is due for a redesign in the next few years, and — if the redesign of Toyota's 2007 Camry is anything to go by — may get a more distinctive exterior then.) Regardless, closing the Corolla's doors yields a reassuring "thunk" that suggests a luxury — as opposed to an economy — car.

All models have standard 15-inch steel wheels, though LE models can have 15-inch alloy wheels and the Corolla S can have 15- or 16-inch alloy wheels. A spoiler is optional for the S.

Ride & Handling
Most of my time behind the wheel of the Corolla was spent on Chicago's streets and highways. With these roads' perpetual congestion, it didn't take long to discover how accomplished this car is in heavy traffic.

Though the taut suspension does little to filter out bumps and potholes, the Corolla is very maneuverable. The ride gets a bit choppy on the highway, with a lot of up and down suspension motions, but body roll is effectively controlled when cornering. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard.

Going & Stopping
With the discontinuation of the high-output XRS, the sole engine for the 2007 Corolla is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 126 horsepower and 122 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional. EPA gas mileage estimates are 32/41 mpg (city/highway) for manual models; estimates drop to 30/38 with the automatic transmission.

While the Corolla's engine has significantly lower output when compared with much of the competition, it provides entirely acceptable performance on city and suburban roads. It's only on the highway that the engine's modest power ratings limit the Corolla's performance; the automatic-transmission Corolla I tested only had a minimal amount of power for quick passing. The smooth-shifting automatic kicks down quickly when called upon, but the act brings on a significant amount of engine noise as the four-cylinder ramps up the rpms.

Corollas have front-disc and rear-drum brakes that provide linear stopping performance. Antilock brakes are optional.

The Inside
The driving position is a bit cramped for drivers more than 6 feet tall, but this is due more to lack of rearward adjustability in the driver's seat than to the cabin being excessively small. With the driver's seat adjusted as best as possible for someone tall, the steering wheel is a bit of a reach, and it doesn't telescope to make driving easier. The dashboard stereo controls are rather far away. While shorter drivers likely won't experience these issues, if you're taller you'll want to pay special attention to the cabin's ergonomics during your test drive.

The Corolla's dashboard plastic has nice-looking graining, and the controls are logically arranged. Most panels fit tightly together, and the top-level LE model has decent-looking imitation wood trim. The LE's cloth seats and cloth door-panel inserts look and feel dated when compared to newer competitors, and that's before you consider the Corolla's premium pricing in its segment.

Even though it would be nice if the front seats went back farther, their limited travel preserves some space for rear passengers, where legroom for the tall is limited but overall comfort is passable. I wouldn't want to be stuck back there for more than a few hours, though. Again, occupant size can largely influence comfort, and shorter passengers may find it entirely acceptable, even for long trips.

Safety
The Corolla received a Good overall rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset crash test. It earned an Acceptable overall rating in the IIHS' side-impact test when equipped with the optional side-impact airbags for the front seats and front and rear side curtain airbags. Without those $655 airbags, the Corolla's overall side-impact score drops to Poor, so you should consider them a necessity.

Other optional safety features include antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and an electronic stability system that's available for automatic-transmission S and LE models.

Cargo & Towing
The Corolla's 13.6-cubic-foot trunk is relatively large for a compact sedan, and it has a wide opening to ease access. Folding the standard 60/40-split rear seats is accomplished by using two smartly positioned knobs near the top of the trunk. The extended load floor isn't completely flat, however; there's a ledge between the folded seatbacks and the trunk floor.

Toyota says the Corolla can tow up to 1,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Features
Air conditioning, a CD stereo, power-adjustable side mirrors and a temperature gauge are standard. The S models add rocker panels and front and rear underbody spoilers to the exterior and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, different gauges, power door locks and interior chrome trim. The top-level LE adds power windows, keyless entry and vibrant electroluminescent gauges that are easy to read. Cruise control, a moonroof and a JBL audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer are optional.

Corolla in the Market
The Corolla is evidence that — as long as the basics are there — strong sales aren't contingent on having the newest, snazziest model. Though its interior is behind the times even for an economy car, it's hard to argue with the Corolla's sales: More than 200,000 have been sold through September of 2006, and that's in the face of fresh competition in the form of the redesigned Honda Civic. That's an impressive accomplishment for an aging model, even one with the Corolla's exemplary reliability history.

Send Mike an email 


Consumer Reviews

(4.1)

Average based on 47 reviews

Write a Review

Got a Prius instead.

by Big Jim from Syracuse, NY on December 1, 2017

Not as good a value as the Prius. The Prius is a larger car but still gets better gas mileage, a nicer ride, and worth the extra cost.

Read All Consumer Reviews

3 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2008 Toyota Corolla trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Toyota Corolla Articles

2008 Toyota Corolla Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Toyota Corolla CE

Head Restraints and Seats
P
Moderate overlap front
G
Side
P

IIHS Ratings

Based on Toyota Corolla CE

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
P
Overall Rear
P
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
A

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
P
Driver Head and Neck
P
Driver Pelvis/Leg
A
Driver Torso
M
Overall Side
P
Rear Passenger Head Protection
A
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
M
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Toyota Corolla CE

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Toyota Corolla CE

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Front Seat
Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 4 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

36mo/36,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years