BM Toyota Corolla XRS - rear 3
Photo: Bob McHugh
BM Toyota Corolla XRS - other 4
Photo: Bob McHugh
BM Toyota Corolla XRS - int 3
Photo: Bob McHugh
BM Toyota Corolla XRS - int 1
Photo: Bob McHugh
BM Toyota Corolla XRS - front 6
Photo: Bob McHugh
BM Toyota Corolla XRS - front 2
Photo: Bob McHugh

More than 30 million Corollas had already been produced when an all-new a tenth-generation 2009 Toyota Corolla hit the streets with a new body and chassis, increased interior space, more power and a revised suspension system.

It isn’t about what a Corolla does, it’s about what a Corolla doesn’t do – stop working. Corolla could be a substitute for the word ‘durable’ in the dictionary.

While the competition has certainly made great strides to improved product quality, Corolla is still the benchmark and consumer confidence in this compact car is reflected in used prices. Ironically, from a used car buyer perspective, it may also be its biggest drawback… good luck with finding a good, used Toyota Corolla at a bargain price.

The 2009 Corolla came in CE, S, LE and XRS trim levels. The highline Corolla LE (originally $21,495) added power windows and locks, climate control air conditioning, a 4-speed automatic transmission, a wood-grain interior trim package, a push-button keyless start system and more.

Most Corolla models come with a 1.8-litre (132-horsepower) engine and the base versions came with a smooth-shifting five-speed manual with a light, easy to operate clutch. A four-speed automatic was the optional transmission and fuel economy is excellent, with a 7.5/5.6 L/100 km city/highway rating.

The sporty Corolla XRS (originally $21,925) offered a bigger engine, better brakes and tires, plus other stuff. Powered by a 2.4-litre (158-horsepower) engine, it came with 17-inch tires on alloy wheels, electronic stability control, traction control, rear disc brakes and a strut tower brace. It was also the only version with a 5-speed automatic option.

On the inside, this Corolla is roomier than the previous generation, with more shoulder room, legroom and trunk storage space. A tilt/telescoping steering column was standard on all trim levels and it came with two glove boxes, as seemingly past owners had complained about a lack of cabin storage space.

Almost all Corolla models come with the same safety features – which includes six airbags – and the front seats come with active head restraints. An anti-lock brake system is also standard, but only the XRS trim has electronic stability control and traction control.

Stability control was included as standard on S and LE trim levels and optional on CE, in 2010. In 2011, stability control was made a standard feature on all Corolla trim levels. It also got a minor styling revamp, which included new headlights, grille, front and rear bumpers, taillights and trunk lid. No significant changes in 2012, other than some re-packaging of options offered.

The Toyota Corolla has a loyal consumer following who appreciate the finer virtue of this car – outstanding product quality.

Email: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Price Check on the 2009 to 2012 Toyota Corolla (October 2013)

Year                    Edition                                   Expect to Pay Today

2009                       LE                                        $10,000 to $13,000

2010                       LE                                        $11,000 to $14,000

2011                       LE                                        $12,500 to $15,500

2012                       LE                                        $14,500 to $17,500

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.

Recalls on the 2009 to 2012 Toyota Corolla:

2009 – Due to improperly applied grease, the driver’s side power window master switch may stick or become inoperative. Dealers will replace the master switch circuit board, if necessary.

2009/2010 – The trunk lid may begin to close after it has been opened. Owners who are dissatisfied with the performance of their vehicle’s trunk lid may have the trunk springs replaced under special warranty coverage.

2009/2010 – Accelerator pedal movement may become rough, slow to return, or the pedal may stick in a depressed position. Dealers will install a steel reinforcement bar to the accelerator pedal assembly.

2009/2010 – The accelerator pedal may become stuck in the wide open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat. Dealers will reconfigure the shape of the accelerator pedal.

2009/2010 – In extremely low ambient temperatures, the intake manifold suction port for the brake vacuum can become blocked due to freezing of condensation. Dealers will install a newly designed intake air connector, which will relocate the brake system vacuum port.

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