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What’s the Best Toyota Corolla You Can Get for $10,000?

The Toyota Corolla is one of the most trusted vehicles on the market. Throughout its years on sale, the Corolla has offered buyers great reliability, safety and fuel economy, and Toyota has sold hundreds of thousands as a result. Given this, there are a lot of Corollas to choose from on the used market — so many, that it may seem overwhelming to try to decide what to buy. To help out, we’ve outlined below what a buyer should look for in a used Toyota Corolla for $10,000.

Year

The current generation Corolla was introduced for the 2014 model year, and early examples can be found for around $10,000. The 2014–2018 Corolla offers good crash test performance and a surprisingly spacious interior. Additional improvements for 2014 included improved structural bracing, an improved drag coefficient and the introduction of an Eco trim level that offers buyers a few extra miles per gallon. While there’s a chance you might find a 2016 or even 2017 model for $10,000, most of the Corollas at our desired price point will be from the 2014 or 2015 model years.

Powertrain

The 2014–2017 Corolla offered two slightly different engines and three available transmissions. Entry level L models from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years employed a dated 4-speed automatic transmission. Other trim levels offered a CVT, while many trim levels, including sport models, were also available with a 6-speed manual.

Trim & Mileage

We recommend avoiding entry-level L models from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years, as their 4-speed automatic transmission is extremely outdated. Looking for an LE model is probably a good bet, but a buyer willing to be patient would be wise to hold out for a deal on a sporty S or SE model, which offers a sporty body kit, 17-inch wheels, a sport mode and paddle shifters; all of which serve to elevate the Corolla.

If fuel economy is your main concern, look for an LE Eco model, which offers aero bits and a re-tuned engine that allows for a few extra miles per gallon both in the city and on the highway.

At the $10,000 mark, we recommend buyers looking for a used 2014 or newer Corolla with fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer. Right now, there are just over 400 2014–2017 Corollas listed on Autotrader for around $10,000 with 100,000 miles or less on the odometer.

Conclusions

Altogether, we recommend buyers looking for a Corolla for around $10,000 should settle for nothing less than a 2014 model, as this is the most recent model year for which the Corolla was significantly updated. For around $10,000, buyers should expect to find a 2014–2017 Corolla with fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer. We recommend setting your sights on an LE model and avoiding L models, as most employ a dated automatic transmission. Finally, if you can be patient, look for a sporty S model or an efficient Eco model, as both of these trim levels offer a little extra.

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