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2004 Toyota Corolla Review
A classic beacon of reliability and quality.
Reviewed by Automotive on
Toyota’s Corolla has a long-standing heritage dating back to 1966. The Corolla is Toyota’s most renowned compact sedan. It is also the best selling passenger car of all time, with over 25 million sold worldwide. It is a compact car that exemplifies Toyota’s tradition of manufacturing reliable, dependable, and economical small cars. It underwent a modest yet meaningful redesign for the 2003 model year and became a little bigger and more power was added to the engine. New to the exhaust system was a low-restriction catalytic converter. Improvements were made to both the steering and braking. Braking became more precise and steering became more responsive and linear. The hip point was raised to ease entry. Some space was added between the front seats for further separation between driver and passenger. It is available with three trims. The CE is the value-priced trim, the LE is the upscale trim, and the S is the sporty edition.
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Toyota Corolla CE, Toyota Corolla S, Toyota Corolla LE
After a full redesign in 2003, the 2004 Toyota Corolla is largely unchanged outside of the option of one new color this year.
The 2004 Toyota Corolla had some styling changes last year, but these changes weren’t very dramatic. Dimensions increased somewhat. It rides on a wheelbase of 102.4 inches, measuring 178.3 inches in length. Vehicle height is 58.5 inches and the width is 66.9 inches. The sporty S trim includes fog lamps, smoked headlights, color-keyed body side moldings, side rocker panels, and front and rear underbody spoilers. It also includes special suspension tuning with options for aluminum alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. Each trim comes standard with 15-inch tires but the tires on the LE and S models are a bit wider. Splash and mudguards are standard for the S but optional for the CE and LE models. Other standard features included on each trim are daytime running lights, power adjustable exterior mirrors, steel wheels, interval wipers, and a rear window defogger.
The 2004 Toyota Corolla seats five people. Its interior is very nice, with cloth upholstery and a 60/40-split back seat. Front headroom is 39.1 inches with front legroom at 41.3 inches. Rear headroom is 37.1 inches with rear legroom at 35.4-inches. Shoulder and hip room is accommodating in both the front and back of the vehicle. Standard on all trims is a tachometer, tilt steering, air-conditioning, an AM/FM radio with CD player, and the second row-folding seat. The S comes standard with a leather steering wheel and silhouette sport speedometer. Options for all models include cruise control, genuine wood trim, a cassette player, a CD changer, cargo net, and load bearing exterior rack. The S and LE trims also have optional power or manual sunroofs available.
Performance & Handling
The 2004 Toyota Corolla's driving performance may not necessarily excite perspective buyers or those currently owning and driving the car. It is perfectly satisfactory for ordinary day-to-day driving. Those with high performance expectations should look elsewhere. Its popularity and reputation as one of the best compact vehicles on the market has more to do with its refinement, reliability, and fuel economy than its power or speed. Acceleration will be slow at first. It seems to accelerate better with the automatic-transmission picking up the pace. The engine can be a tad noisy when accelerating at normal speed. The growly engine quiets down a bit at highway speeds. It adequately handles curves and maneuvers well through city streets. That said the handling isn’t nearly as precise as other small vehicles. It still offers a very smooth ride with plenty of comfort and support for both the driver and passengers.
The NHTSA frontal crash tests rated five-stars for driver and passenger crash protection. Side crash tests resulted in four-star rating for front and rear side crash protection. Optional seat mounted side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes are available for each trim. Drivers who prefer sitting close to the steering wheel have the benefit of extra-low airbag deployment in the event of a crash with the dual-stage front airbags.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Refined and roomy interior
- Fuel efficiency
- Reputation for reliability
- Ride comfort
You Won't Like
- Conservative styling and blandness
- Backseat legroom
- Interior plastics
- Glove box in center of dashboard
- Location of dash/radio controls
A classic beacon of reliability and quality.
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