KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Looking for an inexpensive car that offers a lot for the money? Consider the 2008 Toyota Corolla Sedan. While it may be a bit more expensive than some competitors, the Corolla has an exemplary history (38 years to be exact) of quality, longevity and reliability, not to mention a minimal appetite for fuel. Still, some shoppers will inevitably turn to the less-expensive and better-equipped models from Hyundai, Kia and Suzuki. But, buyer beware; for as these cars appear to offer more features and better styling for less money up front, when it comes trade-in time the Corolla owner will be laughing all the way to the bank.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a compact sedan with a reputation for reliability, great resale value and good fuel economy, the 2008 Toyota Corolla tops a very short list.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a small sedan with cutting-edge styling and a long list of standard features, the Corolla may not be your cup of tea. Those looking for a more stylish interior and the latest high-end options might want to check out the Mazda Mazda3 or Volkswagen Rabbit.
What's New for 2008
No major changes for 2008.
No matter which trim level you choose, you'll get the same peppy 1.8-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission. Rated at 126 horsepower, the Corolla's engine uses a number of high-tech features to help it move quickly while sipping fuel at a miserly pace. Even with the optional four-speed automatic, the Corolla feels relatively quick on level surfaces, though it does struggle a bit in high elevations or with a carload of people onboard. On the road, you'll find the 2008 Toyota Corolla a joy to drive. Its stable suspension returns a smooth ride, yet it's able to negotiate quick maneuvers without any loss of composure. Keep in mind the Corolla is not a sports car, but driven within reason the Corolla will always go where you point it and stop when you tell it to stop.
Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
The auto-dimming rearview mirror, optional on the LE grade, includes a built-in compass.
Optional Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
Perhaps the most important safety feature since the invention of the airbag, VSC can help avoid accidents by keeping the car traveling in its intended direction.
The 2008 Toyota Corolla touts a beautifully-detailed cabin with firm, supportive seats, grade-A quality plastics and a rear seat that can actually accommodate two adults in relative comfort. As with most cars in this class, the radio and heating controls are placed in the center section for ease of operation, though with the Corolla you may find that operating the radio requires a bit of a reach. There are bins and storage compartments galore, including four separate cup holders.
The Corolla features a tall body that raises the bumper height a few inches, a feature that comes in handy when tapping bumpers with today's monster SUVs. The styling is subtle but pleasant. The sporty S model looks the best of the three trims, but offers no additional horsepower or performance enhancements.
Notable Standard Equipment
The Corolla CE features a 1.8-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, rear defroster, digital clock, automatic headlamp control, power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, tilt wheel, tachometer and full wheel covers. The S trim adds ground effects, fog lights, six-speaker stereo, red illuminated instruments and chrome accents. The LE adds wood trim, power windows, Optitron instrumentation and remote keyless entry.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim and include power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, four-speed automatic transmission, rear spoiler, alloy wheels, power moonroof, auto-dimming inside mirror, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), audio upgrades, front side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags and cruise control. There are also a number of dealer and port-installed options that vary in price depending on region.
Under the Hood
The Corolla's 1.8-liter engine remains one of the best in the industry. Though it's no hot rod, there is enough pep under the hood to move the Corolla briskly and the engine's miserly fuel consumption is among the best in this class.
1.8-liter in-line 4
126 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
122 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37 (manual), 26/35 (automatic)
The entry-level CE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $15,000, the sportier S and more luxurious LE each are slightly over $16,000 and the automatic transmission adds about $800 to each trim's bottom line. Despite its outstanding resale value, Toyota dealers are more than willing to haggle over the Corolla's price. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows that the Corolla is selling for a few hundred over dealer invoice. That's right in line with the asking price of some less-established competitors, making the Corolla an even better value. In the all-important world of resale values, the Corolla is at the top of its game. We would reasonably expect the Corolla to outperform the Chevrolet Cobalt, Kia Spectra and Suzuki Reno, remain slightly higher than the Mazda3 and be on par with the Volkswagen Rabbit and Honda Civic.