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1997 Toyota Corolla Sedan

4dr Sdn DX Manual

Starting at | Starting at 29 MPG City - 35 MPG Highway

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  • $14,188 original MSRP
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Printable Version

1997 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Printable Version

1997 Toyota Corolla Sedan

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Road Test: 1997 Toyota Corolla

Source: New Car Test Drive

Reliability. Dependability. Simplicity. These are the characteristics that Maytag hopes to convey with its stark advertising. Back in the mid-80s, Draper Hall, at Western Michigan University, had rows of Maytag washers in the basement designed to accommodate the weekly laundry needs of hundreds of college freshman and sophomores. After trudging down four flights of steps with a hamper full of nasty boy-on-his-own-for-the-first-time soiled clothing, never did I find one of those Maytags on the fritz. Similarly, the apartment complex in which I lived on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona, featured Maytag washers. The non-Maytag dryers were always broken, but those Maytag washers worked right every time for three long, hot years. Maytags are reliable, dependable, and simple to operate -- so much so that they're pretty darn boring.

Toyota is building a Maytag of its own, and they call it the Corolla. We rented one in Portland, Oregon, recently, and spent a couple hundred miles evaluating it. Our overall impressions were quite favorable, but then we got home and totaled up the sticker price of the maroon base model we drove. Listing for nearly $16,500 without hubcaps, a clock, cruise control, or a cassette player, we can't figure out why people are buying these rather small sedans in rather large numbers.

In 1995, Toyota moved 213,640 Corollas off dealer lots. Chevrolet dealers sell a Corolla clone called the Geo Prizm. Both cars are built in Fremont, California, and they feature the same engines, transmissions, assorted parts, and quality construction. In our opinion, the Geo is better looking, and Chevrolet has been offering hefty incentives on the Prizm for nearly a year. Moreover, the Geo comes with a roadside assistance program, while the Toyota does not. Yet, only 87,295 Prizms were sold during 1995. Equipped like our test car, a Prizm would go out the door for more than $700 less than the Corolla we drove, and that doesn't take into consideration the $750 rebate that is in place at this writing. Does this make sense? No it doesn't. Anybody investigating the Corolla should also test drive the Geo Prizm, but we digress. The Corolla is what we drove, and the Corolla is what we shall review.

Portland, Oregon, has a reputation for rainy weather and excellent microbreweries. Despite the insistence by locals that Portland suffers only a 33% chance of rain on any given day, it was gloomy, misty, and rainy the entire time we were visiting, and due to the rather inclement weather, we never did get downtown to sample any microbrews. We did however, get a chance to scoot over to the coast, and test the Corolla on a variety of roads.

Road and wind noise is excessively bothersome in the base Corolla. At speed, an odd whistle that was especially irritating developed near the rear window. Punch the throttle, and the gutsy 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine revs hard, adding to the interior din. Unfortunately, the four-speaker AM/FM stereo wasn't able to drown out the noise. Reception proved to be terrible, but we acknowledge that the lousy weather, combined with Portland's rolling topography, likely caused some of our stereo problems.

Base Corollas are motivated by a 105-horsepower 1.6-liter engine. We found it surprisingly spunky, even when mated to an automatic transmission. On wet roadways, we could even get the inside front wheel to spin a bit. Our car was geared to take full advantage of whatever power and torque was available when zipping around town, but at legal highway speeds, the 3-speed unit simply wouldn't downshift, making passing a very tedious, drawn-out process.

Minimally isolated from the mechanicals, passengers hear every thump and whack from the suspension as it handles impacts that sound more harsh than they are. Handling is predictably limited by skinny Goodyear Invicta GS tires, but the car is easy to control in panic situations and feels well balanced. We drove through a blinding mountain rainstorm several miles east of Tillamook, and were impressed by the Corolla's ability to shrug off the torrents that poured upon the car. Standing water in the road caused some hydroplaning, but the little Toyota handled much better than anticipated during the deluge.

Roadwork on Highway 101 slowed us up as we traveled north along the foggy coast. Manuevering through cone zones, we discovered steering, braking, and visibility to be unobtrusively good. The driver's seat is comfortable enough, and didn't fatigue this editor during a four-hour jaunt through the rain. The steering wheel, as on most Toyotas, is perfectly sized, but we wished for a tilt mechanism. Interior materials look and feel much richer than they can possibly be, and our test car's interior was colored a wonderfully muted shade of charcoal gray. All controls are well marked and easy to see, though we'd like to recommend a switch to rotary climate controls during the next redesign. The current slide lever setup isn't particularly easy to use, and visually dates the otherwise contemporary interior. Thanks to a firm, supportive bench seat, rear passengers will find themselves quite comfortable once they fold up their legs and stuff them into the meager space between the front and rear seats. One interior decor item we could live without is the economy-sized lettering on the passenger airbag panel that screams SRS AIRBAG. Also, why does an optional radio that runs nearly $300 fail to provide a digital clock? I didn't wear a watch to Oregon, and had no idea what time it was for most of the time I spent there. Not good when you've got to schedule enough time to get from the Pacific to Portland, gas up the car, return it, walk to the terminal, check in, and get on the plane. It's not like you can judge the time by the sun. There isn't any.

Like a good washing machine, there isn't much to say about the exterior of the base Corolla. The styled steel wheels featured black center caps, and not much else in the way of decoration. The car was devoid of moldings, and everything was painted a dark shade of maroon except the mirrors, door handles, and a big, ugly slab of gray plastic located between the taillights. At least ours wasn't painted Appliance White. But maybe it should have been, because after being uncomfortably seated next to a window in a stretched Boeing 727, jet engine whining in my left ear and faced with a heavily sauced unidentified part of a chicken, I decided that the Corolla was a very basic automotive appliance designed for Point A to Point B types with little spare cash to blow at repair shops. The Toyota Corolla is the Maytag of automobiles.

 

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Printable Version

1997 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Printable Version

1997 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles Service adjustment 12 months/12,500 miles (24 months/18,000 miles in New York)
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

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12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*

7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**

1-year of Roadside Assistance***

160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection

CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportTM****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportsTM are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1997 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Data on this page may have come in part, or entirely, from one or more of the following providers.

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