The Toyota Corolla first arrived on our shores in the 1970s and its various versions stayed with us for almost 40 years, asserting it as a brilliantly reliable and practical car. The fact that this model survived the test of time coupled with selling over 30 million cars is a testament to its quality and popularity.
The Corolla is not best known for its speed or its street cred, but this only goes to show how well its other attributes have proven themselves. Over the years it was developed and improved upon in each generation, finally reaching the 9th generation in August 2000. This version was designed to be as versatile as possible, and meet the needs of many different markets, resulting in a range to choose from. It was offered as a 5 or 3 door hatchback, a saloon, an MPV and an estate, and you could choose from a variety of engines as well, ranging from a 1.4 diesel or petrol, up to a 1.8 16-valve DOHC supercharged power plant with 215 bhp.
The 9th generation has much less conventional styling than the previous version and is larger both outside and in, resulting in a spacious and comfy interior. Whilst the handling won’t set the world alight, being fairly soft and susceptible to some body-roll, the ride and the option for a fairly beefy engine result in a car that is more than a match for a relaxed motorway drive, or just pootling around town.
Not only is the Corolla a well-designed car, it was, and still is, a very reliable one. In research conducted in May this year, the 9th generation Corolla was shown to be the most dependable family used car, with a breakdown chance of only 7% a year. Not only is it unlikely to break down, it is also an easy car to work on, with a simple design and cheap and easily available components. Further to this, the Corolla has service intervals of 10,000 miles, meaning maintenance is cheap in this respect too. The petrol versions can typically be expected to return around 40mpg and the diesels return around 60mpg, further protecting your wallet from damage.
In addition to being kind to your finances, the Corolla has a few other features making it stand out from the crowd, such as a 4 star EuroNCAP rating and some useful equipment. All the body types come with driver and passenger airbags, along with side and curtain airbags, and the front passengers also get seats especially designed to safely hold occupants if involved in an accident. The hatchback version comes with the most goodies, including power steering, electric windows, air conditioning, remote central locking and electric mirrors. The higher specification models also include climate control, alloy wheels and electric sunroofs, making them even nicer places to be than the standard models.
All in all, the latest Toyota Corolla sums up everything that made it, and still makes it, such a popular car: its ability to combine cheap and hassle-free motoring with practical and comfortable use.
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