Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize Sedan Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Compact Car Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $35,000
Go

2009 Toyota Corolla

Overview
Share this page
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?

2009 Toyota Corolla Review

By

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)

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?

2009 Toyota Corolla Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 530 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

Very economic but too narrow for tall people

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Overall, it's a good car that's worth the money but I don't recommend it to people who like wide legroom."

I wanted to love this car! BUT too many re calls,

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "cute, fun to drive"

Cons: "too many recalls, bad alternator, terrible service"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I wanted to love my car, but at 3 years and 55k miles alternator went on a road trip to Delaware. Almost exactly another 3 years and at 83K miles alternator went again.. I purchased the extended 6 year 75K mile warranty and while I was on my road trip the service department at the purchasing dealership said that they had no record of my extended warranty, I was forced to buy parts at Pep Boys.. Toyota did reimburse me for that bill, HOWEVER they will not take any responsibility or even consider that the car may have a defect causing this problem again...And have refused to help me, only quoted me a non negotiable price of $1076.00 to install new alternator and battery."

10/10- if you know what you're getting

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

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
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Economy, low maintenance costs, comfort"

Cons: "None, if you know what you're getting"

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

"I love my Toyota Corolla. It has been perfect for our needs; it has excellent fuel economy, low maintenance costs, and low initial investment costs. In the four years and 70,000 miles that we have owned the car, we have had zero mechanical issues- the only trips to the mechanic have been for scheduled, routine maintenance. This is a great car, if you know what you're buying. If you want low cost of ownership, this car is amazing. As mentioned before, we have had minimal maintenance expenses, and we are currently averaging 38 miles per gallon. If you want comfort, this car is great, too. For being a compact sedan, it has a deceptively spacious interior. As a 230 lb adult male, I've been completely comfortable sitting in the driver's seat, passenger seat, or in the back passenger seats. The real comfort comes from the driving. The car has comfortably loose suspension and steering and gradual acceleration. It drives in such a way that you're not concerned with waking a sleeping child or spilling a crock pot full of chili while you're driving. Some might view these points as cons, but, again, know what you're buying. If you want a sporty looking or driving car, this is not your car. As I mentioned before, I love it's driveability because I appreciate its gradual acceleration and braking, and its gentle, smooth handling. If you want tight handling, fast acceleration, and highly responsive driving, don't buy a Toyota Corolla. You will not be pleased. In conclusion, before buying a Toyota Corolla, evaluate your needs and preferences. If you're looking for reliability, low ownership costs, high quality to cost ratio, and comfort, this is the car for you."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

love my little car

By on Tuesday, June 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 127,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive..easy"

Cons: "passenger seat could be more comfortable,backseat"

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

"This has been the best car I have ever owned...I do a lot of traveling back and forth to north Carolina and I usually get 38 miles to the gallon...I change my oil every 5000 miles..rotate my tires...finally had to change my battery..only real problem I have ever had...only complaint is passengers could use more room..but driver is comfy"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

2013 Corolla Totaled

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Value. Tough car Low Cost to maintain."

Cons: "No real fancy inside yet."

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

"Purchased this vehicle for my daughter when she graduate college. Great car. Great gas mileage. Nice options, Cheap to maintain. Toyota Care program excellent. I purchased the extended warranty also. Car was rolled in an accident and she was hurt but did not die. Purchased the car in Maryland and we live in South Carolina. Cars in SC are much higher than Maryland. Went to dealership today to price a 2013 model with 30000 miles or close to it. Cars in SC still more than what I paid in early 2014 for it. Several thousand dollars higher. So a good value for us. Might have to go to Maryland again to get a replacement vehicle."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Saturday, May 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable and great on gas."

Cons: "Headlights don't automatically go on and off."

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

"Bought a 2013 Corolla le with 9000 miles on it. A beautiful car, just perfect for me! Comfort and safety are important to me and I feel pretty about driving this car. Great on gas too."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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?