2008 Toyota Corolla

Change Year or Vehicle
$1,474–$11,926 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2008 Toyota Corolla. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    32 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    126-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Agile handling
  • Automatic transmission well-matched to engine
  • Proven reliability
  • Fuel economy

The Bad

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

Notable Features of the 2008 Toyota Corolla

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

2008 Toyota Corolla Road Test

Mike Hanley
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 ...

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 



Latest 2008 Corolla Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.1)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(3.9)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Most reliable car, I have owned.

by CorollaFan_Adnan from Chicago, IL on July 23, 2018

Small car, but three people can easily sit in the back. Excellent gas mileage. Good heat and air conditioning system. Reliable car. Smooth running on the expressway. Read full review

(5.0)

Most reliable car I've ever owned.

by Ryanodom8 from Eagan,MN on July 15, 2018

I'm a Volkswagen guy, but when I got this car I never knew they were this reliable. But since I've owned it, it has been extremely satisfying knowing that it wasn't going to break down on me. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Toyota Corolla currently has 4 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2008 Toyota Corolla CE

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
poor
Overall Rear
poor
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
acceptable

Moderate overlap front

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

Side

Driver Head Protection
poor
Driver Head and Neck
poor
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
marginal
Overall Side
poor
Rear Passenger Head Protection
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Corolla received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

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.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

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.

What is included in 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).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

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.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker