2003 Toyota Corolla LE (411)


This week I drove the 2002 Toyota Corolla LE 4-door sedan right after the Camry LE and I’m more impressed with the Corolla for the dough. I noted that Camry is bigger than it needs to be and this enlarged Corolla is similar to the old model Camry’s. Corolla remains perhaps the best selling car of all time. That speaks volumes about how people think of this size car and the quality for the money.

I always liked the Camry better, perhaps because I saw little difference between that and the Lexus ES series in the early days. It provided mid-level luxury for a lot less money than similar cars like the ES.

Although this Corolla is a light weight for my tastes, it is a great transportation car and people have seen the value for years. Will it remain so? Only time will tell, but I think it will. And with the price of gas still high this 4-cylinder economy passenger sedan is bound to remain top dog for some time to come.

Handling & Performance:

Good handling and this little 4-banger puts out an adequate 130 horses but I miss the acceleration of a V6. On the other hand I like passing a few more gas stations.


Plain Jane Cookie Cutter design.

Fit and Finish:

Typical Toyota, meaning – nice attention to detail.


Up a bit from the prior year model, but check it out, the price is “Less” than the 1998 price for the same model which was $15,598 versus this 2003 model which is $14,680. Is that cool or what?

Consumer Recommendation:

This new Corolla reminds me of the older Camry’s so I like it even more. I’ve owned a few Toyota’s and have always liked them.

The Competition: * (in order of ranking)

(1t) Toyota Corolla LE $13-15,000, (1t) Hyundai Elantra $12-14,000, (2) Nissan Sentra $12-17,000, (3t) Mazda Protege $13-16,000, (3t) Saturn SL $11-14,000, (4) Volkswagen Golf $15-18,000,(5) Mitsubishi Lancer $14-16000, (6) Subaru Impreza $19-24,000, (7) Dodge Neon $13-17,000,  (8) Ford Focus $13-19,000, (9t) Chevrolet Cavalier $14-20,000, (9t) Honda Civic $13-21,000, (10) Pontiac Sunfire $15-17,000.

* – Ranking is based on a formula using cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.

Good News:

It’s a Toyota and the price is competitive, excellent gas performance.

Bad News:

Plain Jane cookie cutter design.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 130 hp 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, power steering with tilt wheel, 4-wheel independent suspension, power front disc brakes, dual airbags, child safety rear locks, power mirrors, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, variable intermittent wipers and split fold down rear seat.

Gas Stats:

32 City and 40 Highway MPG.


MSRP $14,680.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2002 – An Automotive Love Affair

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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