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2009 Toyota Corolla

Overview
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2009 Toyota Corolla Review

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The original Toyota Corolla, a small rear-drive subcompact, arrived in the United States in the late 1960s; by the 1970s the second-generation version was the best-selling import in the country and new Corollas have followed every four or five years since. This stylish tenth-generation Corolla arrives for 2009 as slightly longer, lower and wider and with significant engineering improvements. The Corolla has grown over time, both in size and in features, with each generation being better than the one that went before, and the 2009 model certainly maintains that standard. But it's in a market segment with some very tough, excellent competition, from Japan, Korea and the United States, and smart buyers have lots of choices for their automotive dollars. As with many Toyota products, expected strengths of the Corolla should be long-term reliability, great fuel economy, a pleasant ownership experience and excellent resale value.

You'll Like This Car If...

If your vehicular preference is for a modest but fuel-efficient and (presumably) reliable compact sedan from a trusted Japanese brand, this may be an excellent choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you want efficiency and practicality combined with a touch more style and driving excitement, you may prefer a somewhat livelier competitor such as Honda's Civic, Nissan's Sentra, Chevrolet's Cobalt or Ford's new Focus. There are also less expensive compacts available, especially from Korean makers Hyundai and Kia.

What's New for 2009

This new Corolla sedan, available in five "grades" from base to sporty and the more powerful XRS, is a better-looking car than the plain-Jane previous generation. It's also quieter and slightly roomier, achieves better fuel economy with its standard 1.8-liter engine and offers better performance and handling in 2.4-liter XRS trim.

Driving the Corolla

Driving Impressions We found the lesser Corolla models to be perfectly acceptable if not outstanding. Their performance is adequate with the five-speed manual, less so with the automatic. Their brakes are strong...

and fade-free, their ride is good and their handling better than previous Corollas but not up to some of the best of the competition. We would prefer more feel than is transmitted through the electric power steering, and a higher level of interior materials. The top-of-the-line XRS has much more in the way of sporty looks, handling dynamics and get-up-and-go performance. With larger tires and wheels, structural enhancements and more tightly-tuned steering, it gets around corners more smartly without much sacrifice in ride and will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just less than nine seconds. It's sprightly, but not as quick as some of the higher-performing small cars, such as the Honda Civic Si or Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel
This much-appreciated standard feature, rare in this class, helps drivers of all sizes find a comfortable position.

XRS Model
This better-looking, better-performing handling-oriented sport model is the highest-priced and least fuel-efficient Corolla but provides a substantial boost in driving enjoyment over the other four, including the semi-sporty S.

2009 Toyota Corolla Details
2009 Toyota Corolla photo Interior

The inside objectives were perceived roominess and improved comfort. The added width provides more shoulder and hip room in front, and leg room is increased a half-inch in front and nearly an inch in back, though front head room is down a half-inch due to the lower roofline. Much emphasis was put on seat comfort for occupants of almost any height, and the steering column tilts and telescopes to optimize driver comfort. The instrument panel offers speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant-temperature gauges and an optional multi-information display that offers a clock, outside temperature, fuel economy, range, average speed and elapsed time.

Exterior

The Corolla exterior designers' objectives were a lower, wider, sportier look to compete with Honda's Civic and others in this increasingly popular class, plus increased interior room and improved aerodynamic smoothness for enhanced fuel efficiency and interior quietness. Those objectives were met with a lower roofline with sleeker windshield and rear glass and careful attention to detail, especially at the corners. A trio of character lines run along the door handles to the rear fenders, from the hood to the front pillars and from the front bumpers to the front fender flares, while a low front air intake adds visual width below the Toyota signature mesh grille.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Corolla comes with 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, power steering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seat, power mirrors, AM/FM/CD (XM satellite-ready) radio, outside temperature gauge, a driver's-seat height adjuster and driver and passenger front, seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags. The LE adds power windows, locks and color-keyed mirrors; the XLE 16-inch tires and wheels, variable intermittent wipers, a sliding center console with card holder, remote keyless entry and wood-grain trim; and the S has fog lamps, front and rear spoilers, sport seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Only the XRS gets the 2.4-liter engine, rear disc brakes and standard cruise control.

Optional Equipment

The base Corolla's option list offers just cruise control, stability control, a six-disc CD changer and an All-Weather Guard Package (heavy-duty heater, rear heating duct and heated outside mirrors), while the LE adds available remote keyless entry (RKE) and larger tires on 16-inch alloy wheels. XLE buyers can specify JBL audio and navigation, and the S offers an available Power Package (power windows, locks and remote keyless entry) and leather-trimmed seats and shifter. The well-equipped XRS is available with the All-Weather and Power Packages, JBL audio, navigation and leather. All Corollas except the base model are available with the optional moonroof.

Under the Hood

Four of the five 2009 Corolla models offer only the base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine; it's great for reliability and economy, but, as would be expected, only so-so for performance. Driving through a choice of either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, it delivers an excellent 27 city, 35 highway and 30 combined EPA-rated miles per gallon. The larger, more powerful 2.4-liter four, with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic, is available in only the sportiest, top-of-the-line Corolla XRS.

1.8-liter in-line 4
132 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35

2.4-liter four-cylinder
158 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 22/30 (automatic)

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2009 Toyota Corolla Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 480 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

I enjoy driving this car.

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliable and efficient. Low gas consumption."

Cons: "None."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought my 2010 Corolla in 2009 and have had one problem with the car. I have a moon roof and it started to rust in 2013. The dealer said it was not covered under warranty but the area representative agreed to replace the moon roof door without charge. This is my third Corolla and I love it."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

2009 Corolla LE: A car to remember

By on Thursday, September 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought several months ago used from small local dealership that had it priced right! Mine is dark gray metallic and other than a few surfact scratches it looks great. It is very different car than my Chevy Cavalier in many ways. Restyled for '09 with nice profile from every angle. Ride is smooth, interior very quiet, good stereo system, quiet but cold A/C. Its in the same class as the Cavalier but much more room inside and the styling/finish is refined, crisp, clean lines. The nicest car I've ever had. Some complain about the electronic assisted steering, I find it better/easier than the Cavalier, brakes take getting used to, a tab bit softer than Cavaler's. It is peppy for a 1.8L and the MPG's city and highway are fantastic. I hope it has the great reliability I've read about for Toyotas. Don't knock it till you've driven one."

My Prelude was better but it beat my Camry.

By on Saturday, August 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,900

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "i enjoyed driving it and it looked really sharp."

Cons: "The value decreased too much in just 31/2 mos."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This is my second Toyota. I started out with a beautiful 2011 Camry with great handling , comfortable seating. There was. nothing bad to say about it but unfortunately it was totalled in an accident but I walked away without a scrape, so it was also a very safe car. I got great value out of it. Not so much with my second one, the 2011 Corolla LE. I enjoyed driving the Corolla more than I did the Camry, it seems sportier. When I sell this Corolla I am pretty certain that my next car will be a Toyota too. They handle very well and get good gas mileage besides being quality automobiles."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

So much better than the 07 Civic I had before this

By on Thursday, August 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Build Quality, Reliability, Resale and Gas Mileage"

Cons: "road noise from cheap tires"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My only complaint and it is minor is road noise from the tires. Bought the car new and have had zero problems, I have owned it for a year now and love it average mpg has been 34.7 with about 60% of that is city. Bought my Civic new in 07 and in 2 years had 3 recalls and two other problems including a leaking water pump 2 days after I bought it, Civic had more road noise than my Corolla but as with Corolla I think it was mostly tires, Civic did average 36.4 mpg which is slightly better than my Corolla, but if I had to buy a new one today it would be a Corolla for sure"

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Thursday, August 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great handling, good pick-up"

Cons: "NA"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great automobile, my Wife drives this vehicle every day, excellent gas mileage, her round trip to and from work is about 90 miles a day, she loves the pick up, very stylish vehicle, maintenance is not expensive. Keep the regular scheduled maintenance and I know this Toyota will last a long time."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great vehicle, great mileage

By on Monday, August 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value, great mileage, easy to drive"

Cons: "front seats a little uncomfortable on lower back"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very happy with my 2010 Corolla LE. Brakes did make grounding noise sometimes when purchased new, but after time doesn't happen. After 5 years it is running very smoothly. Get up to 36mpg around town and long distance up to 40mpg (a little less in winter months. It's a great value in a car. Would like the seats a little more comfortable for the lower back, but a small micro cushion takes care of that. Would definitely recommend this car."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?