About 400,000 people will buy a Toyota Corolla sometime during the 2008 calendar year. One-quarter of these likely buyers are in their 60s. Almost as many are in their 20s. Despite the huge age gap between these groups, their primary motivation for buying is the same: reliability. With such a steady and diverse following for its compact sedan, Toyota usually undertakes major redesigns with a light hand: Although changes underneath the surface may be significant, each new Corolla invariably retains its predecessor's basic styling cues and overall driving demeanor. And so it is with the redesigned 2009 Toyota Corolla.
That's not to say you won't appreciate the differences on the new Corolla. For instance, although it's not any longer or taller than last year's car, it rides on a wider track, and this opens up noticeably more hip- and shoulder room in the cabin. The addition of a telescoping steering wheel improves upon the Corolla's historically awkward driving position, while new features like an auxiliary audio input, keyless startup
Since fuel economy is another big reason people buy Toyota Corollas, most versions of this sedan continue to use an efficient 1.8-liter four-cylinder. This engine is heavily revised for 2009 and now features variable timing for both its intake and exhaust valves. Power increases are modest on paper, but the results are apparent on the road: In spite of a 200-pound weight gain, the 2009 Toyota Corolla is a touch quicker than the '08 model and capable of returning comparable gas mileage.