Review: Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007)


Comfortable, well equipped and dependable. Huge range of body styles and refined, economical chain cam engines. Rated highly by owners.

Not the most accomplished ride. VVT-i engines can suffer bore liner problem and guzzle oil after 40k miles.

Recently Added To This Review

9 January 2017

R/2016/236: Driver’s side airbag inflator may rupture: It has been identified that in the subject vehicles, there is a possibility the container of the inflator of the driver’s side may rupture.... Read more

10 August 2013

All Toyota VVT-I 1.4, 1.6 & 1.8L engines (1zz 1.8, 3zz 1.6 & 4zz 1.4) made from 2000 to mid 2005 may suffer from excessive oil consumption of 1L/600miles. The cause was insufficient oil capacity,... Read more

13 July 2013

On belt-cam 2.0 litre diesel engines the waterpump must be replaced at the same time as the timing belt. They are prone to breaking up and when they do they throw the belt off. Read more

Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007): At A Glance

Think Corolla and you think reliable but characterless. The 5-door version looks like a Chinese die-cast model of a Skoda Fabia done from memory. And your first impressions confirm your prejudices. Light controls. Over-light steering. Short gearing. Dashboard flat as a coal face. Nothing to get even mildly excited about.

Then you take it out for a second time and find Dr Jekyll blurring into Mr Hyde.

Toyota Corolla 1.6 T Spirit 2002 Road Test

Toyota Corolla Verso D-4D 2004 Road Test

What does a Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007) cost?

List Price from £21,305
Buy new from £18,611
Contract hire from £203.02 per month
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Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4180–4410 mm
Width 1710 mm
Height 1440–1520 mm
Wheelbase 2600 mm

Full specifications

You take a second look at the dashboard and start to think it's really neat and high-tech. You begin to appreciate all the useful places to store things. The small, leather-clad steering wheel nice to hold. The seats are superb: the right shape, with the right support and upholstered in classy velour. You notice they've even covered the inner A pillars with velour, like the VW Golf Mk IV. You feel there's a bit of quality about the car.What's wrong with it? Not much. It's difficult to see out of the back when reversing, my car had a bit of a whistle from the driver's side door seal, there's a fair bit of tyre noise, ride quality isn't up to the best in class and the low gearing means the car drones at 80 and only does 34 miles per gallon. Really, the 1.6 could do with the extra cog from the VVTL-i Sport.

But these are quibbles, not irritations. Nothing actually annoyed me. It felt almost as if the car was designed to pacify by getting on with the job in as pleasant and as fuss-free manner as possible. I can see a lot of older people trading down from Volvo S40s and V40s into Corollas. But equally I can imagine lots of younger people trading up out of Astras and Focuses. The key to that, of course, is the 190bhp, 140mph six-speed T Sport.

And the range: Manuals or automatics. Four petrol engines and two diesels. Three door, five door, estate or Verso bodies. Corollas aren't stuck in a rut of being any one group's kind of car.

Check the prices and you will see that no Corolla actually comes cheap. The Honda Civic starts at nearly £1,000 less and with similar range of engines and bodies is probably enemy number one. But even T2 UK market Corollas are very high spec, lacking only a/c and alloys. The whole point used to be that Corolla ownership was painless and that's why it's been the best selling car in the World for years. Now that Toyota has made it good to drive as well, you can't really go wrong.


Child seats that fit a Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007) like to drive?

First you notice it's got a fair bit of go. The engine is sporty and fun to drive rather than dull and anodyne like some other 1.6 litre hatchbacks. Once you dial in some speed the wheel weights up in your hands, you begin to feel the road through it and, much to your surprise, you find that the car handles well. It grips hard at the front and steers accurately with no slop or excess body movement. The door mirrors give an excellent field of view. The gearchange is top notch. Though you never expected to, you discover you're enjoying yourself.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 D-4D 59 mpg 13.3 s 127–128 g/km
1.4 VVT-i 42 mpg 12.0 s 159 g/km
1.6 VVT-i 39–40 mpg 10.2 s 168–172 g/km
1.8 VVTLi 31 mpg 6.9 s 218 g/km
2.0 D-4D 50 mpg 10.6 s 151–152 g/km

Real MPG average for a Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

25–66 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Toyota Corolla (2002 – 2007)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

I'm looking for a cheap second hand five-door family hatchback on a budget of around £2000?

I'm looking for a cheap second hand five-door family hatchback on a budget of around £2000. I will be travelling 1000 miles per month with a mixture of urban and motorway. Could you please advise me as this is my first time buying?
I'd recommend a Toyota Corolla. They're rated highly by owners and aren't as popular as something like a Volkswagen Golf so your money goes further. Also consider a Honda Civic or Mazda 3. Avoid diesels are they're likely to be problematic at this price.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star
  • 4 star 67%
  • 3 star 33%
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