I would like to preface this article by saying, I miss my Corolla. It was about as cookie-cutter as they come, being a silver 2013 LE with an automatic. I was 16 when my parents bought the car for my brother and me to share. It was the classic owned by a little old lady story, with a measly 78,000 on the clock. My brother drove the car for a year before he went off to college, then it was my turn. The car’s previous life of two hands on the wheel, barely looking over the dashboard highway driving and obnoxiously slow turns into the grocery store were being left behind for a life of tasteless modifications, abuse, and more abuse.
New England Back Road Burner
To the car’s credit, it took everything I threw at it and seemingly begged for more. Living in New England, winter weather called for countless burnouts and handbrake skids. From a stop, the front tires would churn relentlessly as the little 1.8 liter bounced off the rev limiter. I loved it. As a kid who believed he was the reincarnation of Ken Miles, every curvy back road was Le Mans, and every straightaway the Mulsanne.
I drove the car like I stole it; with my foot to the floor manually shifting the four-speed automatic and holding gears much longer than necessary, as well as periodically yanking the handbrake and sending the poor car sideways. A jerry-rigged cold air intake was constructed with silicone, zip ties, and a hose clamp found on the floor of my father’s shop. This helped the little four-banger roar at wide-open throttle and make oh-so-sweet “woosh” noises at high RPM. It was everything a wannabe racecar driver could ask for.
As a result of my barbaric driving habits, the transmission began to slip. Reluctant to tell my father I nearly broke the car, I simply didn’t. Some time passed, about two weeks give or take, and the transmission miraculously shifted as it did once before. In laymen’s terms, the car fixed itself. “Okay, show me.”
It had gotten to the point where my front tires were bald, and my rear tires were polygonal. Alas, the Corolla chugged on. In fact, the car was able to evade law enforcement in this state, but that’s another story for another time.
Case in point, under treacherous driving conditions, the Corolla held its own. It performed admirably. It was the least problematic car in the driveway despite being thrashed about. Although not every Corolla has been run through like the village common woman. I have seen these cars with upwards of 200,000 miles on them in perfect running condition, and I am confident they did not undergo the same abuse I put mine through.
When driven normally, your Corolla will do anything and everything you ask it to do (minus going fast) so long as basic maintenance is kept up with. Not only are they among the most dependable vehicles money can buy, but they are also affordable in today’s used car market. Regardless of whether you have a lead foot or use the car for its intended purpose, they are very fuel-efficient.
If you or someone you know is in the market for a used car, the Toyota Corolla is a sound choice.
This is in no way an encouragement of unsafe or unlawful driving. Any automotive chicanery is done at the driver’s own risk of jail time, personal injury, or worse. I am not sponsored by Toyota, nor am I an expert on Corollas. This article was based solely on personal experience.
Photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.