Toyota Corolla Hatchback (97 - 04) Owner reviews

No longer on sale

VVTi GS 5dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG41.5 mpg

Bought this low mileage (27k) and 8 years old for Β£2900. It's the Calida special which i believe lay between GS and GLS. I've taken it for a 65000 mile test drive over 4 1/2 years. It has always used a little oil and has to be revved hard on hills as it is tuned for fuel economy not power but I have verified 45mpg at the pump which is more important to me. It has never let me down but a few little things have gone wrong - it needed a brake caliper, an oxygen sensor and twice brake discs & pads. The air con button retreated into the dash one day when I jabbed it too hard. Most annoyingly the engine fault light is itself faulty - spending so much time on that we now call it the "engine present light" and heartily ignore it. I actually wondered what was wrong a couple of weeks ago when it was off for about 5 miles! Neither dealership nor independent garage have been able to trace why it is on - the diagnostic program says there is no fault! I am currently anxiously waiting to see if the light will make it an MOT fail under the new rules though my reading of the AA advice on this suggests it is not one of the safety features. I shall miss having the choice of cassette or CD when I eventually replace it - and it has definitely skewed my thoughts in favour of a car from a Japanese manufacturer - Toyota or Honda featuring prominently due to their British built diesels...

Kevin Smith, Northumberland, November 25th 2013

VVT-i Colour Collection 5dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG35 mpg

Had a 1.4 Colour Collection for 30 months and not had any issues whatsoever. Extremely smooth drive wherever we go - cruising at 80mph on the motorway is 3500 revs and very quiet. In town it's surprisingly nippy for a 1.4 even with 4 in the car. Mine still looks fairly fresh for a 6 year old model - unlike a similarily aged Astra/Focus/Seat Leon which I think have dated fairly quickly. Only downside I can think of is the position of the cigarette lighter - it's right in front of the gearbox which may limit some accessories which require the socket. Trading it for an Auris...

Raymond Dormer, Perthshire, April 10th 2011

VVT-i T3 5dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG35 mpg

we,ve had our corolla 1.4 t3 since june 08,i,m an ardent toyota fan,i firmly believe "you get what you pay for" i like the fact that i know when i jump in our corolla turn the key it'll start no prob,the only annoyance is on very cold morn,s, it sometimes "reluctant"to engage reverse gear but after 2 or 3 try,s it,s ok!we own a static c/van 62miles from where we live most of it is motorway/d/cway,i,m getting about 39mpg @70mph the only other car i would change this one for would be another toyota!

glyn howells, mid-glam, December 27th 2008

D-4D Colour Collection 5dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG53 mpg

I have been driving this car for 2 years now. It puts a smile on my face every time I get into it, even for the trip to work in the morning! I have done 30000 miles and it is still as solid as the day I bought it. The 90bhp 1.4D4D engine is quiet and really nippy for the size car. I am currently getting 53mpg which is on country lane driving and stuck in traffic for at least 40 minutes a day. On a long motorway run, I can easily get 60mpg without trying.I get anywhere between 550 and 600 miles on a tank of fuel. As I am a Toyota Licensed Technician I can really recomend this car for it's reliability, I have basically only seen them for servicing. There were a few that had alternator bearing noise but this has been sorted. I have never seen one recovered in!I have seen some with well over 60000miles on the clock that are as smooth as a new one. I can highly recomend this car to anyone wanting a reliable economical car.

Brian Moores, Suffolk, October 19th 2008

VVTL-i T Sport 3dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I bought the T Sport in 2007 to exchange my 1.4 T3 which was on it's way out. It has been a joy to drive the T sport, but not without it's problems. The car has never given me any mechanical problems, apart from an over smelly AC which made my car smell quite a bit. I found that the car was not practical at all for motorway driving. The engine revved up to well over 4,000 going at 70mph and slowly I saw the fuel needle go further down. After a while, the seats became very uncomfortable to ride in. This car is ideal for short commutes as it does not handle well on the motorway. If you like the feeling of the road tarmac and feeling every bump, engine revving like mad, it's the car for you! My next car is the Lexus IS200... MPG varied, although the TRIP computer showed an average of 34mpg, in reality it was more 27.

Uzma Naz, Berkshire, September 10th 2008

VVTi GS 3dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

the corolla is a fine machine amazing on fuel and even better performance when you want it keeps up with bigger engined cars only the gray interior lets it down abit bit i have had this car for a year and a half and i have never broken down japanese cars are the ultimate

DAVID MONTGOMERY, April 24th 2008

D-4D T Spirit 5dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I posted a review before about my 1.4 T3 which was a fantastic car. I've now upgraded to a late 2002 top of the range 2.0 diesel and passed the 1.4 on to a friend. Its currently going very well at 47000 miles. It has all the fantastic features I mentioned before, as well as improved acceleration and much better fuel economy. Getting nearly 47mpg at the minute including a lot of city driving, but could do even better if I was a more economical driver. Also love the sunroof, climate control air con, and the chrome grill and alloys give it a bit of extra class.

Michael Burgess, March 14th 2008

VVTL-i T Sport Compressor 3dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I was looking for a hot hatch for a bit of fun and had never heard of the limited edition (250) Compressor - it's a supercharged T Sport with 219bhp - and then I drove past one at my local dealer. New (20K) it was totally overpriced compared to the Golf GTi & Focus ST but at Β£9K for 22mth old 06 plate it's an absolute bargain. This car is incredibly quick (my other car is a 4.2 XJ and I've owned Impreza's and M3's)and the power is smooth all the way to 8250rpm (no lag with a supercharger). Road holding pretty good, seats comfortable. Good size boot, rear seats fold down and Isofix seat fittings for the young ones. The only downside is the auto front wipers which are just too quick for any given amount of rain (a few spots and they go on constantly and there is no intermittent setting). I cannot believe I got so much car, in such a recent model for Β£9K. Total and utter bargain and that's why I give it 5* overall. You won't regret owning this car. Yor mates will take the mickey until they drive it.

David Burgess, February 23rd 2008

VVTL-i T Sport 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

great car to drive fast when you need it to be( over 6200 rpm), but you can just potter if you want to,had car for 2 years with no probs at all,would buy toyota any day of week the reliability of toyota is top class and i hope it stays that way ,would reccommend toyota to anyone that wants to just have the car in the garage once a year for a service and then drive as many miles a year as you like trouble free.

jason bennett, cambs, February 13th 2008

D-4D Colour Collection 5dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

We bought this car just over 2 years ago - having rejected a Honda jazz because of the driving position. As a colour collection this was a good value purchase also and the premium on the diesel was not excessive. Todate there have been no faults over 26000 miles some have said the 1.4 diesel is under powered and this might be true for a company car 25000 miles per year role. In every day shopping, child collection and shortish days out its fine, and pulls much better than any 1.4 petrol we have ever owned. Over 50 mpg real world consumption too! No real vices, though steering is not as sharp as some, and stereo is only average - but it has everything we need. Our 4th corolla - they are not that exciting but a great piece of kit all the same would we buy an Auris - definately

John oliver, January 29th 2008

D-4D T3 5dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Bought it in 2005 from a car supermarket. Apart from wear & tear items(tyres,brakes etc) I can honestly say that I've had almost two and a half years of trouble-free motoring until it got written off by a LHD lorry on the motorway. No complaints about it's safety. Me and my mum miraculously came out of this one virtually unscathed thanks to the car. Has been a decent car to drive with plenty of mid-range and enough go to keep up with most motorway traffic. The 2.0(114bhp)is pretty quiet, responsive and refined unless you're really giving it some. Handles pretty well too. Fuel economy questionable. Computer regularly reads mid 50s when mid to late 40s is a more realistic figure even on a run. I clock up a lot of miles and a 6th gear would be helpful on motorways especially. Build quality good, but not as classy inside as my previous VW Bora. Friends keep ribbing me about it being an old mans car. Not the most exciting, but once you own one it's easy to see why some folks swear by them. Would I have another? Probably not, but I can certainly recommend them. Going for something more sporty next time.

Sam Ford, Notts, December 11th 2007

VVT-i T Spirit 5dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Great to drive, good acceleration and feels sure footed. Slight niggles with interior. The internal door handles feel slightly loose as in they don't feel securely fitted. There is a gap between the stereo and the top of the dasboard especically in cold weather. The rear bumper is loose on one side. Not sure if Toyota's build quality is as good as it used to be. The mechanics of the car are great though. The engine and gearbox are very quiet and the gear change is very smooth (better than my old avensis) and the brakes are very good too.

Darren Graham, December 3rd 2007

VVTL-i T Sport 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Just drove a 54-plate T-Sport today, and first things first; it felt like a brand new car. Superb. It strikes an impressive balance between civility and madness, though it could use more grunt below 6000rpm. Yes, below 6000rpm. Above that it pulls like a train, but you won't find many Pendolinos that put out such an addictive howl. The chassis isn't uber-sharp but it rides very well according to my backside, feeling solid but never harsh. That's the ride, not my backside. Mid-30s mpg is the norm if you're not too heavy with the loud pedal, but I saw the instant consumption gauge fall to 5.3mpg when I was pushing past 7000rpm... Around town most will probably want more grunt, but you can stroke the T-Sport along with the flow of traffic. Its major failing comes to light here, though. The 189bhp engine is all or nothing and it's a challenge to change down and get the revs spot on for a quick take-off, meaning that if you want to nip into a gap or just put on a burst of speed you've either got to change down and floor it so that pedestrians scowl or you've just got to forget it altogether. If you drive mostly around town get something with a broader spread of torque. If, like me, you do a good mix of driving, want the screaming engine now and again and you're not too bothered about deliberately blocking Mr 50mph-in-a-30-limit-while-on-his-phone, then the T-Sport is a winner. Did I mention that the one I drove was 3 years old and it felt absolutely brand new?

Matthew Kimberley, Staffordshire, December 2nd 2007

VVT-i T3 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I drive an early 2002 model with 43000 miles. I've had the car since July this year and apart from getting Toyota to fix the cigarette lighter under their used car warranty there have been no problems. Very comfortable and smooth car. Great air conditioning and sound system. Lots of space for a 3 door hatch. The 1.4 makes it a bit slower than I'd like but then you expect this from this size of engine. I'm 19 so couldn't afford the insurance on a bigger engined version! Looks very smart too especially with the T3 alloy wheels.

Michael Burgess, November 21st 2007

VVT-i T3 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have previously written a report on this car but just want to write a quick update. Basically i heard like a very quiet humming like noise coming from my car and also there was a clicking noise when i parked up outside my house. I ignored it as it had only just passed its first MOT. Suddenly the car just swerved to the left and pulled really badly, and the wheels were locking up. I drove straight to a garage who diagnosed that my gearbox had gone! The final bill for a new box and clutch came to Β£1974!! The car has only 32,000 and a FTSH! Toyota aint interested, as the car is 2 weeks out of its warranty! If anyone has had similar experience and know how to get Toyota to help me please email me madbarber2004@hotmail.com

Martin Jones, October 28th 2007

VVT-i Colour Collection 5dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I bought this car new in October 2006. I have used on a daily basis for travel to/from work - although I have only covered 3900 miles to date. Absolutely no problems at all. Similar power to previous 1.6 Mazda 323 and similar drive. But the electric power steering is a bit vague.

MIKE FROST, WEST MIDLANDS, September 16th 2007

VVT-i T Spirit 5dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive1/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality2/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have owned this car for four years. It has 48,000 miles on the clock and has been completely reliable. Dealer service is second to none and the car is reasonably priced. The engine is under powered though and it's not fun to drive, almost boring. But if you want a reliable, stress-free car then you can't go far wrong with the Corolla.

tung chung, west midlands, August 27th 2007

D-4D T Spirit 5dr

  • Overall verdict2/5
  • What it's like to drive2/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality2/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have owned this car from new. Misting is a really big problem - you have to turn on the aircon to get clear view. The design isn't very good - if it's raining when you open the doors every time water comes in. My car is 06 plate and already bad sounds are coming from the engine. The engine is very loud and doing my head in. Would I buy another one? NO WAY

ali veli, derbyshire, July 10th 2007

VVT-i T Spirit 5dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

This car was bought new in 2002 and has only done 20,000 miles to date. It has always been very reliable, but has always had a few bad points. When the engine is started from cold it screams at over 2000rpm until it warms up. Toyota said they could do nothing about this because it would mean writing a whole new engine management programme. This cannot be good for engine wear. The alloy wheels were changed under warranty because they were badly corroded. The paintwork on Toyotas is not as hardy as it used to be and is prone to stone chipping. Misting has been a major problem from new. Whenever it rains, or the weather is cold and damp, you cannot see where you are going unless you switch both the heater and the aircon on together, which seems a bit stupid. Toyota have never been able to sort the misting problem out. The interior has a few niggling rattles but nothing too serious. We have owned Toyotas for 30 years, but the quality seems to have diminished greatly since the cars have been made in the UK.

S Wilson, June 14th 2007

VVTi GLS 5dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I bought this car secondhand from a main dealer in 2002, when it was a year old. The car has been reliable up to now but the engine does use quite a lot of oil. Front and rear brake discs, as well as pads, were changed under warranty before it was two years old, due to wear. Alloy wheels were changed twice under warranty before it was three years old due to corrosion, and they are very corroded again. Toyota seems to have a problem making alloy wheels. I get about 35 miles to the gallon running around the doors or about 47 to the gallon on longer runs.

S Wilson, June 14th 2007

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