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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 512 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

one owner one driver

By on Friday, February 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

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
10/10

Pros: "great car"

Cons: "everything you'll ever need in a car"

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

"serviced for oil change tire rotation and check up twice a year from the dealer purchased from, Dealer installed remote start and undercoating."

Solid, practical & economical car

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Traded for newer version

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
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Cheap to own & operate. Practical, & reliable"

Cons: "Possible finish issues, stereo glitches"

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

"I did nothing but change the oil and rotate the tires in the 60K miles I owned this car. It delivered good gas mileage (hand calculated)even if the computer was a little optimistic. Mid 30's were normal on road trips with the car dipping down to 30 or so in town. I once got 41mpg on a 200 mile run on the Natchez Trace Parkway between Tupelo & Nashville. (no stopping, steady 50mph, no wind, no air conditioning) The car did have two little problems. When the car was brand new I could see rust forming behind the chrome plastic trim on the trunk. I assume one of the clips that hold the trim had not been properly coated. After two salty Ohio winters this caused rust to form UNDER the paint in the area. any rust in two years is unacceptable. The stereo started acting wonky. the funny thing is it seems like the simplest part. From time to time I would hear a loud buzzing while listening to FM. Sometimes the radio would cut off after the buzzing and would not recover until I turned off the car. The car did get lots of paint chips in 60K, but I am sure it is mostly due to the water based paint. The car had great resale value (perfectly in line with KBB) and I was not upside down even with 60K miles. I did not put down a down payment because I qualified for 0% I would have kept this car, but the incentives for the newer version were just to great to pass up & I am sure I was getting close to needing wear items like brakes & tires (yes, even the OE tires went for 60K)"

After three hondas, I hope to go back to a honda

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This car has been reliable for the most part. I hated the very tight steering. Having it aligned helped however. Ok now. Complaints--Cruse button had to be replaced. Water pump went out at about 65000. Later learned that this model had a recall for water pump. Overall--a very good reliable. It does not match up to a honda civic in my estimation after owning three of them and switching to the corola."

Nice vehicle for single person, not for a family.

By on Monday, February 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, good gas mileage."

Cons: "Size inside, not many bells and whistles."

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

"I like the Corolla. I am a single senior citizen and have never liked small vehicles. I consider this vehicle one of the best small sedans. It is built to be a safe car and I love the gas mileage. I do not have it serviced at a toyota dealership any longer, I use a ford dealership. Toyota is too expensive for regular maintenance."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

great commuter and travel car

By on Sunday, February 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"35-40 mpg, handles great in traffic but a little noisy at highway speeds, only preventive maintenance required, over all an excellent value"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

would never buy another one

By on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,650

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

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

"not comfortable to drive or maneuver. clunky feeling/handling. looking to trade in after 2 years. no get up and go if you need to get out of somebody's way or merge onto freeway. no mechanical issues in 2 years."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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