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2009 Toyota Corolla

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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 539 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
    8.5/10

Disappointed as this is a Toyota

By on Friday, December 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good gas mileage . Rides well"

Cons: "Transmission constantly shifting , lacks options"

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

"Not what I expected from a Toyota . Dash has rattles,some other plastic interior parts make noise when driving. Vehicle does not run steady on a flat road learches back and forth most all the time . And it has a lack of interior options, the vehicle should have from the factory."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Good Quality Ride

By on Sunday, November 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great Quality"

Cons: "S-Model. Seats too firm. Sound system not great."

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

Diggin' My Ride EH!!!!!

"I love driving this car. It was a big change for me after having larger vehicles for the last 25 years. After getting used to the smaller ride, I had the not so great sound system changed to an awesome one. The gas mileage is great, as I drive 500km or 300 miles each week to work. I purchased the S-Model, which has very firm seats, which come up higher on the sides. The CE-Model My Wife has, the seats are softer & don't rise too high on the sides. I am thinking about having them redone with softer foam. this may be expensive with all the sensors in the seats, they need to work properly for seatbelt warnings & air bag operations. Still the car is a great value for the price. I am vey pleased I purchased this car. I did a lot of research before deciding on this model. Toyota had the highest reliability than any other car in Consumer Reports magazine."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Diggin' My Ride EH!!!!!

Good gas mileage

By on Sunday, November 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Gas mileage"

Cons: "wheel spin on wet pavement, reliability, lacks pwr"

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

"Over the past 7 years this has been a good car with me only having to replace one battery and have a few recalls done with no major repairs under warranty. After warranty I had the alternator and starter replaced. Mileage was 32-33 combined and up to 40 mpg at a steady 55 mph. Average highway mileage was around 37. Handling is acceptable, but acceleration is lacking with a tendency for wheel slip at minimum throttle acceleration from a dead stop on wet pavement (only one wheel has power), braking is excellent. I purchased the warranty that took it to 100,000 miles and did not use it. At 95,000 miles and one month after the warranty went out, the alternator gave out, followed shortly by the starter. I was surprised by this and it lowered my view of Toyota. But overall, it's been a good car for basic transportation. I used to believe it was a great car until I almost got stuck when the alternator died. Cheers!"

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Best handling Corolla ever

By on Saturday, October 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,572

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great to drive people want to buy it"

Cons: "Should have variable intermittent wipers"

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

"Car is comfortable handles like a sport car no leaning going around turns sure footed steering is right on no play in it gets up to 60 miles an hour in a flash"

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

I still like the corolla!

By on Saturday, September 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "cost, fuel efficiency, reliabilty still good"

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

"Toyota corollas are highly rated and deservedly so. I've noticed a few subtle differences between my 2010 corolla and the 2004 corolla I had before. The 'o4 I would rate a 10, but not the '10 corolla because of sound system, handling, and braking, which is a lttle rough even with new brake pads."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Small but very reliable.

By on Sunday, August 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very fuel efficient and reliable."

Cons: "Too small.Needs to be a bit bigger."

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

"A very reliable and gas efficient vehicle. I drive 300 miles a week to work and spend only $30 on gas.That is filling up once a week. Sometimes,less than that. Very pleased,overall.Just needs to be a bit bigger."

13 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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