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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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 523 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

Decent

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fuel economy, Reliability"

Cons: "Design, Boring"

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

"It is basically a really nice car to get to and from work. Not a whole lot of special things going on in this vehicle. Very reliable, even in winters. Drives pretty well in the snow although I did need to push it out once. If you are looking for a car to just commute with, it will get the job done."

One of the best vehicles I have ever owned 65 yrs.

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Only routine maintenance in 115,000 miles!"

Cons: "No sunglass holder (as many cars do!)"

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

"I have owned this vehicle since July 2008, when they first arrived on the market. The vehicle is a 2009 model. I have always had the routine maintenance done at my local dealership, and the vehicle has never let me down. No repairs and continues to drive like a new car. Last check up..no leaks of any kind. I plan to drive this baby to the grave. Low to no maintenance. (No timing belts to replace) Excellent vehicle. Would highly recommend Toyota of any kind...but most especially a Corolla. We also own a Camry and Tundra. Love, Love, Love these vehicles!"

Get what you pay for

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,805

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price, reliable, cheap to fix yourself"

Cons: "uncomfortable seats (front)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"If do not like to spend much on a car but what a reliable car at the same time, this is the car to get. I had a toyota corolla previously and had to let it go because the previous owner neglected it. This led a large amount of moeny to repair it if I wanted to. Instead, I purchased the 2013 corolla. It is not much different that the early 2000's other than electronic power steering and oil filter (It now uses 0W-20 oil). The rest is almost exactly the same. Same engine size and build. Just a different body. The electronic power steering was a bit weird at first but I got used to it after a while. I have had no problems mechanically with this car. However, I do wish they would have improved something other than aesthetics over those years. The interior looks nice and the sport version (Just a spoiler and different interior) has nice looking seats that are even water/stain repellant. The seat is a little bit uncomfortable however, at least for me. I have back problems anyways. It is a reliable, cheap car and it was meant to be that. If you want speed and luxury, this is not what you will get. You also get ample trunk space. Really, I was surprised at the trunk size with this car. It is also good to note that it comes with an emergency spare tire. Something that more and more cars seem to lack nowadays. I have driven the new corolla that came out, it feels like a ford focus and is smaller. Although I believe they come with CVT transmissions now but the interior has been improved in that one in my opinion."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Good car, handles well, gas mileage not as high as

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "handles well"

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

"Good car, handles well, gas mileage not as good as I thought it would be, looks good and I like how it looks better than the new Corolla"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Reliable. Service kept up during ownership.

By on Saturday, April 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Must have body repaired."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Good Gas mileage. Dog Ruined upholstery in back seat. Accident took out front driver side. Driver seemed to have blacked out. Head scan showed a small stroke. Some small scratches or dents on sides. Two hub caps missing."

1 person out of 6 found this review helpful

Decent vehicle

By on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,975

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great price, fun to drive"

Cons: "interior could use a little work in their material"

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

"It is a decent car, especially for someone who is starting out to drive. Its a fun car to drive! Exterior is good looking and I love the sporty look and the body kit in the front and the rear deck spoiler. All in all the car was a good buy just wish the inside had better materials such as the dash and seats. The interior looks a little cheap and plastic looking. But other than that comfortable to drive and a good size trunk."

4 people out of 4 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?