Used Toyota Corolla Saloon 2002 - 2007 review

Category: Family car

This is the best Corolla ever, but not the best version of it

Toyota Corolla Saloon (01 - 07)
  • Toyota Corolla Saloon (01 - 07)
  • Toyota Corolla Saloon (01 - 07)
Used Toyota Corolla Saloon 2002 - 2007 review
Star rating

What's the used Toyota Corolla saloon like?

While all previous versions of the Toyota Corollas may have enjoyed an enviable reputation for reliability, they also suffered from something of a white good's feel. Yes, they did the job that was required of them, but like a fridge or washing machine, you didn't particularly care for them.

This one is different. For a start, it looks more solid and expensive than previous models, something that's reflected in the smartly designed, roomy, high-quality interior. And, unlike in previous versions there's decent room for adults in the back seats.


This is the best Corolla ever, but not the best version of it

  • Decent room, a solid interior and a good drive
  • It's reliable, too
  • Gutless base diesel engine
  • It's rarer than the hatchback and expensive

Toyota also significantly improved the way the car drove with this model. It's pretty much as good to drive as a Ford Focus, even though its handling may not be quite as involving. Comfort and composure are excellent in all conditions.

Last, but not least, safety and equipment levels are reasonable.

Ownership cost

What used Toyota Corolla saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Toyota Corolla saloon?

Even if you find the Corolla you're after, don't expect to pick it up for next to nothing. This version holds on to a higher proportion of its value than previous models and you'll be able to pick up rivals like the Vauxhall Astra and the Renault Megane for less cash. Diesel Corollas hold their value better than petrols, making the 1.6 an even more appealing buy.

Running costs shouldn't be a problem, though. Insurance begins as low as group 3, and fuel economy is good right across the range. Of the two mainstream petrol engines the 1.4-litre is marginally the more economical. And, while the 2.0-litre turbodiesel returns decent economy, the 1.4 is even better.

Our recommendations

Which used Toyota Corolla saloon should I buy?

It's not just for practical reasons that we prefer the hatchback over this saloon. Firstly, the four-door is far rarer on the used market and, secondly, its engine range is more limited.

As in the hatch, though, steer clear of the early, less powerful, 89bhp 2.0-litre D-4D engine which struggles when the car is fully laden. Its replacement, from May 2003, was only a 1.4-litre, but does a better job. Best of all is the eager-revving 109bhp 1.6 petrol, while the 95bhp 1.4 petrol puts in a reasonable, if less swift, performance.

Trim-wise, look for a T3 model, as air-con was only standard on T2 models following the facelift in July 2004. Our recommended model features climate control, alloy wheels and rear electric windows over the already generous spec of the base T2.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Toyota Corolla saloon?