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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 498 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

Average compact car when working. Averages 33mpg.

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Good MPG easy to drive/park commuter car."

Cons: "Mechanical issue from date of purchase."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Purchased new from dealer, Having owned multiple Toyota products in the past without issues, i returned a loyal customer. This product is a LEMON! In and out of Toyota dealer for break issues (3x) in first two yrs. without satisfaction to include emergency brake sensor. Ended up rebuilding front brakes at commercial mechanic, no issues since. Had to replace alternator twice, radio 3x (warranty covered the radio) and now the AC compressor has failed. Again, when working car is a good runabout commuter, city car, easy to drive/park good MPG. This car is not comfortable to drive over 2 hrs. Wind/road/engine noise very noticeable. Interior finish is typical of Toyota, nothing special. I am really disappointed in this product and no longer have trust with it nor Toyota! Hope this helps others in the future."

Love it!! Great car!

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 190,000

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

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

"Everyone that has driven my car really likes it. Easy steering/maneuvering, back seat is comfortable, and the car has great power even in the mountains. 190K miles and no complaints!!"

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

great value ,very reliable car always starts

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"overall this great vehicle.Powerful engine.The interior is really basic.But the value of the car is awesome.I drove to Atlanta from NY and it only took two and a half tanks of gas.Great gas mileage."

Practical and Reliable

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "MPG, Practicality, Safety, Reliability"

Cons: "Somewhat lacking in acceleration"

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

"I traded in my Silverado for a 2010 Corolla. I felt as though I made a great decision after doing so. It has proved nothing but reliable and practical. I replaced the original battery just this summer (the car was built in late 2009; the battery was almost 5 years old) simply because I felt as though I should, not because it was giving me problems - it never gave me problems. My tires had to be replaced because of age - not because of poor tread. I do a lot of in-city driving, and I feel as though the MPG ratings are accurate. The car is spacious. Yes, the seats could be a little better for longer road-trips, but can Toyota be faulted for this? It is a compact, inexpensive sedan after all. I will keep this car until the wheels fall off; when it finally dies, I will buy another Corolla (or at least, a Toyota product). I love my car, and I feel very safe in it."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great car for me

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nice ride. Love the tilt wheel. Great on gas."

Cons: "Wish it would have had better window tinting."

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

"Just recently bought the '13 Corolla LE. Very nice interior, nice smooth ride. Great on gas. Could not be happier about my choice."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Perfect Mid Size Car

By on Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Bluetooth, good on gas, decent exterior/interior"

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

my car

"I recently traded in my 2003 Audi A4 (that I had for almost 3 years) for this car and have zero regrets! well my only regret is not doing it sooner! If you are in the car market for a mid size, reliable, decent quality car, excellent on gas, with low maintenance, then the 2013 Corolla is perfect for you!"

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

my car

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