2009 Toyota Corolla
2009 Toyota Corolla
2009 Toyota Corolla
Toyota Corolla, 2009–2013. Click image to enlarge

Review by Justin Pritchard

Vehicle Type: Compact Sedan

History/Description: There’s an all-new Toyota Corolla hitting the market for the 2014 model year – which means the last generation, sold from 2009 to 2013, has transitioned fully into used-car territory.

That last-generation model represented the Corolla’s tenth generation, and it was sold to us Canucks in a largely unsurprising number of configurations: all models were four-cylinder powered, fitted with a manual or automatic transmission, and were front-wheel drive.

Feature content, depending on the model you’re considering, included alloy wheels, fog lamps, power accessories, remote access, air conditioning, cruise control and a sunroof. Bluetooth, USB audio connectivity and a large audio display screen were available too. Other features included telescopic steering, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, leather, a moonroof and split-folding seats – depending on the model and year selected.
Note that from 2011 and on, the ‘STAR’ safety system was included as standard equipment on all Corolla models, which saw a network of safety implements including brake assist, stability control, traction control and more.

Also notable are Corolla’s resale values. Depreciation is important to many new car shoppers, and Corolla seems to resist it better than virtually all of its competitors. In fact, the Canadian Black Book (CBB) recognized Corolla with a place on their annual “Best Retained Value” winners list – which covers passenger car and light truck models under $70,000. The award is based on data gathered from four-year-old vehicles and identifies a vehicle’s ability to retain value from its original price.

Engines / Trim: Look for a 1.8L, 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine on most models, and a 2.4L mill with 158 horses on the top-end XRS model. Nomenclature sees the CE designation worn by basic models, with S and LE models populating the range in order of ascending levels of feature content.

What Owners Like: Commonly praised in this generation Corolla are things like seat comfort, upscale interior trimmings, ride comfort and spaciousness – including within the trunk. Many owners say they appreciate the abundant range of storage spaces, as well as excellent fuel efficiency. In all, this appears a comfortable, nicely equipped and easy-to-drive machine.

What Owners Dislike: Common complaints include barely adequate power output, a lazy and numb steering feel, and the likelihood of losing your Corolla in the Costco parking lot with the large number of other Corollas parked there. Especially if you have a beige one. On a test drive of a Corolla CE from this generation, your writer’s test notes indicate some displeasure at the dull orange instrument cluster lighting on late-night road trips, too.

Toyota Corolla Owner Reviews (Trader.ca)

2009 Toyota Corolla2009 Toyota Corolla2009 Toyota Corolla
Toyota Corolla, 2009–2013. Click image to enlarge

Common Issues: Many owners have reported faster-than-expected wear of the factory tires on newer Corolla models, so be sure to have these inspected for signs of excessive wear. A tire tread depth gauge or even a good visual inspection with a trained eye can help. While you’re inspecting the tires, look for signs of uneven wear across the treads, or heavy wear at the edges of the tires, which could indicate an alignment problem.

An ABS light illuminated in the instrument cluster may be caused by a bad electrical connector within the braking system. This problem can be easily identified on a test drive and easily repaired by a Toyota mechanic. Here’s a read.

Obtain both remote key fobs from the seller, and ensure both work properly to lock and unlock all doors. Confirm proper operation of interior locking switches, and manual door locks on all doors, too. Further, be sure all door handles, inside and out, work properly – just to be safe.

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