26 Best & Worst Years For Toyota Corolla? [Updated 2023]

The Corolla has been a first choice for millions of people over the decades. Its reliability and affordability make it highly sought after.

However, as reliable as it is, not all models are equal.

We talk about the best and worst Corolla model years below.

What Toyota Corolla Years Are the Most Reliable?

The Corolla has a long history that spans several generations, and it has continually earned its standing as a go-to purchase for drivers looking for a dependable and durable vehicle.

Below we look at the best Toyota Corolla model years that have stood and will most likely continue to stand the test of time.

2018-2019 Toyota Corolla

The 2018 and 2019 Toyota Corolla models have made a lasting impression on drivers, and their reputation for dependability is well-deserved.

According to U.S. News, based on J.D. Power’s vehicle dependability research, the 2018 model had an “outstanding predicted reliability rating,” with a strong score of 84 out of 100. Not to be outdone, the 2019 Corolla achieved an 88 out of 100 dependability rating.

Based on these evaluations, both models stand out as “better than most and considered among the best” in their respective years.

Consumer evaluations on Cars.com confirm its dependability, with both the 2018 and 2019 models receiving an overall consumer review rating of 4.8 out of 5.

However, where both Corolla models truly shine is in the reliability domain, with both years receiving a stunning 4.9 out of 5 rating.

Aside from their legendary dependability, both the 2018 and 2019 Corolla models include modern security features such as:

  • Emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Steering assist
  • Forward collision warning

Another area in which these models excel is comfort.

Their seats are built for comfort, and they have a roomy interior, which sets them apart from other cars that may prioritize reliability above pleasure.

Overall, their high-reliability ratings, along with advanced safety features and spacious interiors, distinguish them as not just the most dependable, but also the most well-rounded Toyota Corolla years.

2017 & 2020 Toyota Corolla

These are some of the best model years in the Corolla’s history, building on the previous generation‘s excellent foundation.

These Corollas are a good alternative for car buyers looking for a dependable and safe ride. Their high dependability ratings and modern safety features serve to provide drivers with peace of mind on the road.

They come equipped with safety technologies including:

  • Frontal collision warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning

Being newer models, they also provide a comfortable ride and roomy interior, making them an appealing purchase for occupants who value dependability and a smooth driving experience.

2015 – 2016 Toyota Corolla

The 2015 and 2016 Toyota Corolla models have carved out a place among Corolla lovers, gaining a reputation for their superb well-rounded performance and dependability.

J.D. Power figures reveal that the 2015 and 2016 Toyota Corolla models have firmly established themselves as dependable options.

These models received an excellent 85 out of 100 in 2016, closely followed by 81 out of 100 in 2015. These numbers demonstrate their dependability and consistency of performance.

Their true compliments, however, come from individuals who have driven these Corollas. Customers like the large interiors and pleasant rides, and their contentment has become a living testimonial.

What actually differentiates these models from more vintage Corolla models is their high resale value.

After 5 years, a Toyota Corolla will depreciate 21% and have a market value of $19,177 making the 2015 and 2016 Corolla’s not only reliable; but financially viable.

Read Also: 11 Interesting Toyota Corolla Statistics (Facts & Numbers)

2010 Toyota Corolla

On Edmunds.com, one user reviews the 2010 Toyota Corolla and praises its fuel efficiency (29 MPG), value, and reliability.

Thus, the 2010 model earned a 4.2 rating from consumer reviews.

Of course, the major reason we all want a reliable car is to avoid incessant visits to the auto repair shop. No one wants to keep paying bills for issues that occur and reoccur without warning.

The sedan‘s fuel economy is so impressive that it cut fuel costs by over 30 percent relative to other vehicles. Some drivers admitted topping off their gas tanks two times as often on different vehicles than on their ’10 Corolla.

Back to its reliability, Cars.com gives it a 4.8 out of 5 reliability rating. On J.D. Power, it bags an 82/100 score in quality and reliability.

In J.D. Power’s ranking of “Best Compact Car of 2010”, it shares the 2nd position with the Honda Civic. 

2003 – 2006 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla of the mid-2000s attempted to compete with European rivals such as Volkswagen by adopting a more European design ethos. This endeavor continued in 2004, with the Corolla’s looks being refined even further.

Despite these stylistic changes, the Corolla’s primary character remained a trustworthy car rather than one seeking thrill or badge appeal.

In terms of safety and convenience, these Corolla models came standard with side airbags, ABS, five three-point rear seat belts, and ISOFIX child seat anchor points, earning them a four-star Euro NCAP certification.

When it comes to practicality, the Corolla’s large trunk was well-suited for its class, allowing it to easily accommodate weekly groceries or multiple school bags.

The Corolla’s urban utility was further emphasized with a tight five-meter turning circle and speed-sensitive power steering, which simplified parking.

On the road, the Corolla provided a safe and predictable driving experience, with precise steering and quick gear changes.

Overall, these Corolla models have deservedly earned their reputation as solid alternatives for budget-conscious purchasers over the years.

Best Year for the Toyota Corolla

1997 Toyota Corolla

One thing that makes the Corolla easy to maintain is the availability of replacement parts. Since the Corolla is everywhere on the streets, the same goes for its replacement parts.

This makes the older Corollas, like the 1997 model, excellent used cars. In fact, the best years overall for the Corolla are 1997-1999.

Although old, still, to this day, it is often considered one of the most reliable cars Toyota ever manufactured.

It made it to Consumer Reports’ list of “Most Reliable Used Vehicles”. While it may not be the car we all want, the 1997 Corolla may be the car we all need.

Edmunds.com consumer reviews put its rating at 4.6 out of 5.

Many drivers made remarks about its longevity and of course reliability. Most owners reportedly have over 200,000 miles on their 1997 Corolla.

We won’t recommend that you go looking for a ’97 model to buy (unless you really need some wheels). However, if you’ve owned one for some time, stick to the maintenance schedule and enjoy it while you still can.

Related: How Long Do Toyota Corollas Last? (Solved & Explained!)

What Toyota Corolla Years Should You Avoid?

Several people argue all Corollas are reliable despite the model year, and they may not be wrong.

Still, some model years are not as good as others. Let’s take a closer look.

2014 Toyota Corolla

This model year has been associated with multiple problems affecting several of its components.

Many of the complaints are related to its interior accessories, which include an unstable dashboardAs a result, rattling and clicking noises may originate from the dashboard. These problems typically occur at around 20,000 miles or even less.

Sometimes, the noise increases when driving the car through rough terrain.

Airbag problems also plagued this model year. Faulty airbags are a problem I’m sure no motorist wants to experience.

The radio is also notorious for malfunctioning and has earned a 7.8 severity rating on CarComplaints.com. These problems start on average at about 53,000 miles. It also has a “pretty bad” remark, which certainly gets owners on their toes when dealing with it.

Sometimes, the problem affects the Bluetooth and GPS, too.

There is still some contention on whether it is a hardware or software issue or even both. The most common solution is to replace the radio, and this usually costs about $1,350.

This model also suffers from a rough idling engine, which typically can start before 17,000 miles. Such a low mileage of occurrence causes a fairly significant alarm.

This can occasionally lead to loss of engine power at over 20,000 miles. Losing engine power could occur during deceleration or turning.

2011-2012 Toyota Corolla

Given several concerns highlighted by owners, the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Corolla models are frequently seen as less desirable.

This is why:

  • Airbag faults: Many owners had an inconvenient and even dangerous problem with the airbag signal blinking, suggesting potential airbag faults.
  • Paint and Clear Coat Issues: These models were prone to paint and clear coat issues, resulting in peeling or fading paint and negatively impacting their look.
  • Horn Failures: The horn, a crucial safety element, occasionally fails to function, providing a safety concern.
  • Engine Surging: Some drivers reported experiencing engine surging, which caused performance and fuel efficiency difficulties.
  • Problems with the Air Conditioner: These have also been observed, creating discomfort, particularly in hot weather.

These years’ ratings and reviews are mixed, including both favorable and undesirable critiques.

Ultimately, the large number of recalls and complaints contributes to their bad reputation. If you want a trouble-free and dependable vehicle, you should look at other model years.

2008-2009 Toyota Corolla

The 2009 and 2008 Corollas had the highest number of complaintsThis alone puts it on our radar of model years to avoid.

As expected, the problems generally involve its engines and most of the issues relate to excessive oil consumption.

This problem got an 8.6 severity rating and may occur on average at a little over 100,000 miles. The repair costs may be as high as $4,500 or even more.

It is easy to see how this problem affects the reliability of the ‘09 Corolla. This is because excessive oil consumption no doubt leads to excessive oil changes and frequent trips to the mechanic.

loud noise could also emanate from the engine from around 70,000 miles. While a thousand dollars may fix the problem, users rate it to be a fairly significant one. It mostly occurs when you start the car after it’s been turned off for hours.

The water pump in the cooling system could fail and need replacement. This problem got a 7.2 severity rating and occurs at about 62,850 miles. The paint on the car may be defective and wear out before the car even attains 100,000 miles.

The tranny may also need to be replaced after rough shifting, which could lead to failure. This usually takes over $2,000 from your wallet.

Electrical problems were also prominent in the ‘09 model and its interior accessories.

2007 Toyota Corolla

The 2007 Toyota Corolla, while usually dependable, has a few flaws that prospective purchasers should be aware of, making it a model to avoid.

One of the most prevalent complaints about this model is a squeaking noise coming from the engine, which usually occurs around 38,000 miles. This noise is usually caused by a worn-out belt or tensioner.

Another concern with the 2007 Corolla is peeling paint, which is prevalent on cars with over 65,000 miles. Repainting the affected sections is required to address this issue, which may be an expensive endeavor, costing approximately $800 for each panel.

The recalls related to the 2007 model are particularly alarming. There are seven recalls, which is relatively significant for a car from this time period.

The recalls include a wide range of concerns, including:

  • Labeling difficulties
  • Engine stalling
  • Airbags
  • Brakes

The most serious of these recalls is the engine stalling, which offers a substantial safety concern.

Given these concerns, particularly the safety-related recalls and the possibility of costly repairs, it is best to avoid the 2007 Toyota Corolla in favor of a model year with less known flaws and safety concerns.

2000 & 2002 Toyota Corolla

The 2000 and 2002 model finds themselves on our list too.

These models are mostly plagued by engine failure and transmission problems. There are also reports of clutch and AC/heater problems.

Besides these problems, the structure can become weak and more susceptible to deformation. According to data from the NHTSA, the roof, windows, and door handles may fail or break.

One major reason we dread the 2000 and 2002 models is that owners have reported the engines to fail completely.

On average, the problem came up at just 82,600 miles and cost about $3,670 to repair. This could even occur while on the highway.

Another dangerous problem is the loss of speed control.

This has a 10.0 severity rating and, as you’d expect, has led to crashes. More alarming still is that it occurs on average at just over 50,000 miles.

Toyota Corolla (1990-1995)

While the Corolla was an important iteration in the brand’s history, there are flaws that make it a less appealing choice for current customers.

  • Concerns about safety: This generation predates many of the modern safety systems and structural improvements that are now standard. It is lacking in critical safety elements, making occupants more vulnerable.
  • Outdated Technology: This generation does not provide the contemporary comforts and entertainment systems that today’s drivers demand. Additionally, electrical system and wiring problems have been reported in some of these older versions.
  • Fuel EfficiencyWhile the second generation Corolla was efficient for its time, it cannot match with contemporary car fuel efficiency.
  • Comfort and Amenities are Limited: When compared to modern Corollas, the ride may be less pleasant and the cabin may be louder.

While the Toyota Corolla has historical value and nostalgia for some, it is often regarded as a model to avoid for current customers owing to outmoded safety features and a lack of new technology.

Ultimately, older models should be avoided at all costs. If they were not maintained well, they will have issues and be unreliable.

Related: Toyota Corolla In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

What Are Some Typical Problems with Toyota Corolla Cars?

The Toyota Corolla is notorious for developing these faults:

  • Excessive oil usage: This issue might show as the car uses up more oil than intended. While not all Corollas are affected by this problem, they might need more regular oil changes and, if left ignored, engine damage.
  • EVAP system problems: Some owners have reported faults with this system, which can result in issues such as a malfunctioning check engine light, decreased fuel economy, or difficulty starting the vehicle. To properly treat EVAP system issues, proper diagnosis, and repair are required.
  • Automatic transmission shifting incorrectly: This might cause jerky or delayed gear changes, resulting in an unpleasant driving experience. Transmission problems must be addressed as soon as possible since they might cause damage if left ignored.
  • Daytime running light problems: While this is not a serious safety problem, it can have an impact on visibility and the look of the vehicle. Replacing or repairing DRLs is typically a simple procedure.
  • Failed ignition coil: A faulty ignition coil can result in poor engine performance, including misfires, decreased fuel efficiency, and difficulties starting the vehicle. To restore correct engine operation, an ignition coil replacement is required.

Related: 11 Most Common Problems With Toyota Corolla (Explained)

Final Thoughts

There you have it, some of the most and least reliable Toyota Corolla model years.

While we have done a lot of the work for you, we encourage you to do your own research and select the best model for you.

Go back: Best/Worst years for all Toyota models.

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ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSArecall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSAreliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.