MPG-o-Matic 2009 Toyota Corolla Review Summary: The 2009 Toyota Corolla competes with the Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus, and Chevy Cobalt, among others in the highly competitive compact market and slots in between the Yaris and Camry in Toyota’s lineup.
Under the hood, all Corolla models with the exception of the XRS are fitted with Toyota’s 1.8 liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four cylinder engine, which produces 132 horsepower (HP) and 128 foot pounds of torque. (The more powerful XRS is equipped with a beefier 2.4 liter, producing 158 HP and 162 foot pounds of torque.)
The official gas mileage estimates for the 1.8 liter equipped 2009 Corolla are 27 city/35 highway miles per gallon (MPG) with the 4-speed automatic transmission and 26/35 with the 5-speed manual transmission. (The 2.4 liter Corolla XRS delivers significantly more oomph, but an inverse number of miles per gallon, scoring 22/30 with either the 5-speed automatic or manual transmission.)
In over 500 miles of driving, we trounced the official estimates, scoring 40.3 MPG on the highway and 35.2 combined. The Corolla’s efficient VVT-i engine rewards light-footed drivers while providing enough throttle to make those merges.
Now in its tenth generation, the Corolla holds the honor of being the world’s best selling car, eclipsing the 30 million mark in 2007.
That remarkable success has been built upon Toyota’s reputation for quality and value, as well as the Corolla’s strong gas mileage ratings.
To get the best gas mileage results from the Corolla, keep an eye on the instant gas mileage display as you drive. The figures will fluctuate widely as you accelerate and coast. Watching the numbers while maintaining a light foot are the keys to optimum fuel efficiency.
In reviewing the competition, it’s clear that the Corolla has been conservatively designed to appeal to the broadest spectrum of drivers, unlike some compact cars which are primarily targeted towards a younger crowd.
The cabin is a case in point. It’s cleanly designed and devoid of bold styling cues and trendy bits.
Out on the road, we found the Corolla XLE’s cloth-upholstered seats to be comfortable, although they lacked lumbar support.
Steering wheel controls let you take charge of the audio system and Bluetooth connection without lifting your hands from the wheel. The satellite-ready audio system includes an in-dash line-in jack, with power outlets in both the dash and center console.
Dashboard controls are no muss, no fuss, throughout. Heating and air conditioning controls are generously sized and an absolute cinch to operate.
All-in-all, it adds up to a compelling, if somewhat conservative package. It’s clear to see why the Toyota Corolla continues to be an excellent choice for the mileage-minded.
– by Daniel Gray