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2004 Toyota Corolla Sedan

4dr Sdn LE Auto (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 29 MPG City - 38 MPG Highway

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  • $15,580 original MSRP
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2004 Toyota Corolla Sedan

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2004 Toyota Corolla Sedan

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2004 Toyota Corolla

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Toyota Corolla is among the best of the compact sedans. It's reliable and thrifty, but it's also refined and comfortable. Some have described it as a baby Camry or a baby Lexus, the latter particularly true with a Corolla LE equipped with the optional leather interior. Cloth or leather, the seats are comfortable and supportive. Big heating and air conditioning controls, simple, straightforward radio controls, well-designed cup holders, and plenty of cubbies for storing stuff make for a convenient interior. Getting in and out of this four-door sedan is easy and the back seat is surprisingly roomy and comfortable.

The four-cylinder engine revs smoothly and delivers good acceleration performance. Corolla earns an EPA-estimated 32/40 mpg City/Highway when equipped with a manual transmission. Both the manual and the automatic transmissions offer smooth shifting, and the manual is very easy to operate. All models have a smooth, comfortable ride and offer response handling. Corolla earned the New Car Test Drive editor's choice for best compact sedan for 2003 and is likely to retain that title for 2004.

Redesigned and re-engineered for 2003, the Toyota Corolla is relatively unchanged for 2004.

2004 Toyota Corolla

Model Lineup

Toyota Corolla comes in one body style, a four-door sedan (not counting the Matrix, which is reviewed separately). All Corollas come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder 16-valve engine and a choice of a manual or automatic transmission Three trim levels are available: the base CE, the S, and the luxurious LE.

CE ($13,570 or 14,370 with automatic) comes standard with air conditioning (with an air filter), AM/FM/CD stereo system, power steering, tilt steering column, tachometer, intermittent wipers, digital clock, outside temperature gauge, trunk lamp, and a dome light with delay. S ($14,515 with manual gearbox, $15,315 with automatic transmission) features sporty styling cues such as smoked headlight lens extenders, integrated fog lamps, and an aerodynamic body package with color-keyed front and rear underbody spoilers, rocker panel extensions, and rear mud guards. It also gets wider 195/65R15 tires. Inside, the S gets a unique cloth interior, a sporty tachometer, chrome accents, and a nice leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The S model gets a vertical seat-height, power door locks, power mirrors, and mirror-mounted map lights. Power windows with keyless entry are available as an optional package.

LE ($14,780 manual; $15,580 automatic) adds remote keyless entry, power windows, halogen headlamps, and variable intermittent wipers. The LE gets body-colored door handles, lacks the sporty body cladding of the S and looks the better for it. In place of the S model's sporty interior finish, the LE gets wood-like trim and upgraded cloth seating surfaces. An optional leather package ($900) is available for the LE that gives the car a luxurious feel and includes cruise control. Aluminum wheels ($390) are available, which improve the appearance of the LE and may improve its handling slightly. Options you should be sure to get are the anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution ($300) and side-impact airbags ($250), both of which can save lives and reduce injuries in an accident. Other options include cruise control ($250) and a sunroof ($750).

Walkaround

The Toyota Corolla looks like a small Camry. Its ovoid headlights are similar and its rakish yet curved shape is in keeping with the newest Camry and Lexus ES 300. Thick A-pillars at the front and thick C-pillars at the rear give the Corolla a solid look and hefty bumpers add to its substantial appearance.

Corolla comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, but looks like it could do with larger wheels and tires that would fill out the wheel wells more effectively. Aluminum 15-inch wheels ($390) are an option for LE models.

At the rear, the Corolla has a high trunk line in keeping with the car's high belt line. The taillights match the shape of the headlights nicely. Part of the taillight module is actually mounted in the trunk lid. This is fine except that the design causes the trunk lid to be narrower than it might be.

The doors have reasonably wide openings, which makes getting in and out easier. That's a benefit of the long wheelbase, which also means that the rear wheel wells do not protrude into the rear door as much as they do on some cars. Another benefit of a longer wheelbase is shorter overhangs at the front and rear (the distance from the wheels to the ends of the car). Short overhangs improve the car's looks, and the handling.

Redesigned for 2003, Toyota Corolla is longer and taller than previous models. (It is four inches longer and has a 102-inch wheelbase that is more than five inches longer than pre-2003 models. It's more than three inches taller while having the same width as the old model.)

Exterior trim sets the S apart as the sporty model, with body-colored side rocker panels, rear skirt, and front spoiler with integrated fog lights. These aerodynamic aids suggest added downforce for improved cornering, but they look tacked on and we think they degrade the appearance of the Corolla S.

2004 Toyota Corolla
2004 Toyota Corolla
Interior Features

The interior is where the Corolla really shines. Inside, it doesn't feel like a small car, and it doesn't feel cheap, like many compacts feel. Big and/or tall people will find the accommodations somewhat cramped, but shorter people may find the Corolla fits them perfectly.

There's plenty of front legroom and headroom and there's a decent amount of room in the back for two average-size adults. Although there are seat belts for a third rear-seat passenger, there's definitely a shortage of space for that person.

Materials used in the seats appear classy with nice fit and finish. The driver's seat has a much more substantial feel than in many cars in this price range, which makes it more comfortable for long journeys. Even the doors shut with a pleasant thud thanks to sound deadening felt mounted inside the door panels. Take a look inside a Corolla LE with optional leather seating and you could easily imagine you're looking inside a luxury car instead of a $17,000 compact. The leather seats have a luxurious soft pleated finish, while the center console and door panels have a wood-like veneer trim. Okay it's fake but it's so well made that it looks more realistic than some real wood found in luxury cars. Both the LE and S models get a sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel that adds to the enjoyment of driving the Corolla. The dashboard layout is the same on all models. It is nicely laid out with exemplary ergonomics and a finish comparable to that of more expensive cars. Its top surface sweeps across the width of the car in a slight S-curve and wraps into the door trim. Each side of the center console seamlessly blends up to the lower portion of the dash. Four small vents are nicely inlaid into the upper part of the dash.

The radio is located high up so it is easy to reach while the three large round knobs for the heating and air conditioning system are located below. The handle for the parking brake is located on the left of the center console so there's room for a small storage cubbyhole on the right. Storage spaces are quite generous with small pockets in each door and the glove box is large. Map lights on Corolla S and LE are mounted on the rearview mirror, not the ideal location.

Three overlapping round gauges in the instrument pod contain a large speedometer, a smaller tachometer to the left and a water temperature gauge and fuel gauge mounted in a matching circle to the right. They incorporate red lettering on a plain white background and are easy to read at night. There's also an outside temperature readout on all models.

The rear seats split 60/40 to allow access from the trunk, though the opening is not that large, limiting pass-through with large cargo. The trunk is one of the biggest in this class. The gooseneck hinges intrude into the cargo space and can crush fragile items if they are in the way. Many auto manufacturers have switched to the scissor-type hinges that are located outside the storage space, though this design often results in a smaller trunk opening.

All in all, the interior has a high level of refinement beyond what one expects in a low cost sub-compact.

On the safety side all Corollas come with multi-stage front airbags, while side-impact airbags ($250) are offered as an option on all models. All seat belts are not created equal, and those in the Corolla are equipped with pretensioners and force limiters, which can help further reduce injuries in an accident.

Driving Impressions

The Toyota Corolla is smooth, convenient, and easy to drive. For many owners, this car quickly fades into the background, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their lives. It's hard to find faults with this car.

Okay, it's only got a 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine so its acceleration performance is not scintillating. But it accelerates briskly onto freeways and we never found ourselves beating on the steering wheel, wishing for more power. The engine is quiet, however, and feels smooth and refined. It has a fairly broad power band, making for nice, linear acceleration. There is no difference in engine, transmission or suspension between the three trim levels; despite the S model being designated a sporty trim level.

The electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission is nicely matched with the engine. It includes a shift logic system that helps hold a gear longer than it might otherwise if it senses the car is going up an incline or the driver wants plenty of power while passing. For those who enjoy doing their own shifting, the five-speed manual allows for more performance as the engine's power can be better utilized. It shifts easily via a relatively tall shifter. Both the gearbox and clutch are smooth and easy to operate. The manual transmission earns an EPA-estimated 32/40 mpg City/Highway, while the automatic gets 30/38 mpg.

The power steering is just right, providing a nice feel without being too stiff or sloppy. The suspension has been tuned to give a smooth ride, which is helped by a relatively long wheelbase. Body roll (lean) is minimal and the car feels secure and stable at all speeds. The suspension is soft and does a good job of soaking up bumps and road vibration, giving the Corolla a nice, smooth ride that we really liked. The Corolla handles well, though those who enjoy the crisp handling of a sports sedan may want to opt for the Matrix, which has a stiffer suspension.

Summary

Toyota Corolla is the car to consider if you're looking for a sophisticated and utterly reliable sub-compact sedan that blends in so well it's almost non-existent. It's not too much of a stretch to say the Corolla is a baby Lexus, it certainly has the same DNA.

The Corolla boasts a high-quality, ergonomically excellent interior with comfortable, supportive seats. The interior is particularly well suited for shorter drivers. The rear seats are roomy and relatively comfortable and the trunk is big for this class.

The Corolla rides and handles well with a relatively soft suspension. It isn't a sports sedan, but the engine is smooth and sophisticated and delivers good acceleration performance. In short, the Corolla is arguably the best compact sedan for non-enthusiasts.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: CE ($13,570); S ($14,515); LE ($14,780)
Engines: 130-hp 1.8-liter dohc 16v inline-4
Transmissions: 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual front airbags
Safety equipment (optional): side-impact airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Fremont, California; Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Toyota Corolla S ($14,515)
Standard equipment: air conditioning, AM/FM/CD system, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, power steering, power door locks, mirrors, windows, intermittent wipers, remote trunk/fuel door release, wood-like trim, 60/40 split rear seats
Options as tested (MSRP): ABS ($300); side airbags ($250); cruise control ($250); power windows and keyless entry ($605); four-piece carpeted floor mats ($87); six-speaker audio upgrade ($40)
Destination charge: ($485)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $ 16,532
Layout: front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: 1.8-liter dohc 16v inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 130 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 125 @ 4200
Transmission: 5-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 32/40 mpg
Wheelbase: 102.4 in.
Length/width/height: 178.3/66.9/57.7 in.
Track, f/r: 58.3/57.5 in.
Turning circle: 35.2 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.1/51.9/41.3 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.1/46.2/35.4 in.
Cargo volume: 13.6 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 1500 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: independent
Ground clearance: 6.0 in.
Curb weight: 2524 lbs.
Tires: P195/65R15
Brakes, f/r: disc/drum w ABS, EBD
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of May 05, 2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.
N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-GO TOYOTA - www.toyota.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2004 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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Rollover Resistance
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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
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std
Printable Version

2004 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.

Miles

Months

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.

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 Report"****

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 Reports" 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

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2004 Toyota Corolla Sedan

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