I currently drive a 2003 Toyota Corolla and I have not been disappointed. I drive the 1.6 T Spirit 5 door version and the space inside the car is brilliant there is adequate leg room whether you are sitting in the front or in the back and even when the car is full. The boot space is fantastic too you would have no problems fitting all of your shopping in there even if you have a buggy to cart around as well! I used to own a Toyota Yaris 1.0 and compared to that the fuel economy is awful but I really dont think I spend that much in fuel in my Corolla. I do approximately 130 miles a week and it costs me £40 to fill my car up weekly. It has been a very reliable car so far and I have not had any problems with it. I would definitely recommend it if you have a small family or if you just want a car with a bit more space!
This review is based on the US Version ( Pictured here ) as I live and work in the US.
One of our vehicles is a 2004 Toyota Corolla S, my wife primarily uses it and has owned it from new, people say you buy Toyota if you don't really see cars as anything more than an appliance and don't necessarily want something exciting, but you want something reliable, well that is true in some respect, yes my wife isn't a confessed "petrolhead" like me but she did buy the "S" trim with the spoilers, side skirts etc ( like you see in the picture ) and she made an incredible choice.
The vehicle is equipped with the 1.8 4cyl 1ZZ-FE engine with 130HP, MPG is excellent with around a combined 32 ( which equates to around 38 MPG combined on the UK Cycle ) with plenty of power available as well, of course its not a ferrari but it does have nice acceleration ( official figures quote around 9.5 secs to 60 with the automatic transmission but it does feel around half a second quicker than that to be honest ).
Interior room is good, I can sit in the back seat in relative comfort and im 6'2 inches, which I think is one of the best in its class and space in the boot is also ample, equipment is pretty good for a vehicle that came out around that year, ABS, Electric windows, Cruise Control, 6 Disc in dash CD Changer, Remote Entry and of course the styling of the vehicle is still good looking even today with the newer version ( 10th generation ) now available in the US.
But the absolute best part of our ownership experience is the reliability, its OUTSTANDING, we've had the car for 5 years now and it has around 44,000 miles on it and its never been back to the dealership for ANYTHING other than routing maintenance, let me repeat that ANYTHING !!!! there was one recall on the car with the passenger side window where they changed a regulator while we were having the oil changed and a service, and the window worked fine, it was an open recall so they did it before any issue arose, i've owned Alfa Romeo's, Ive owned peugeot's ive owned Citroen's and all good cars but with issues, I currently drive a brand new VW Golf that has less than 10,000 miles on it, no issues yet with the car and I can only pray that it will be even nearly as reliable as the Corolla we own.
I normally get itchy for a new car in the family every 3 years or so, but see no reason to sell this car anytime soon. Believe me everything you've heard about Toyota's legendary reliability is true, it may not be the most exciting car in the world, but if you want something that won't break with very little maintenance then the Corolla should be at the top of your list