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Toyota Corolla (2001-2006) Buying Guide

Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)
Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

It's the car that had a charisma bypass while it was on the drawing board, but with one of the highest levels of reliability around, you could be forgiven for overlooking the Corolla's unexciting design. After more than three decades the Corolla is an icon - just a rather less exciting one than the 911. Don't let that put you off though - if economy and reliability are your key requirements, you won't go far wrong with a Corolla. It's also better to drive than you might think - but it's no Focus.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Reliability
Practicality
Affordability
Dull design inside and out
Smaller engines struggle
Key Dates 
12/01New Corolla hatch and Corolla Verso (estate) on sale.
9/02Unloved saloon is introduced.
6/04Facelifted car available, with revised nose and tail plus better equipment levels. At the same time, 1.4 D-4D replaces previous 2.0 D-4D turbodiesel.
11/05Supercharged Corolla goes on sale.
Checklist 
  • Electrical faults aren't common, but have been known - so check everything works as it should.
  • Petrol engines can use oil at an alarming rate once they've covered 40,000 miles - as much as a litre every 600 miles.
  • If you're buying a Verso, check its luggage cover is intact. It's fiddly and can get broken through ham-fisted use.
  • Brake pedal sinks to the floor on 1.4 D-4D cars with the MMT gearbox, if engine is running but car is stationary.
  • Faulty fuel cut-off switch leads to car cutting out intermittently; diagnostics won't show this though.
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