Best & Worst Toyota Corolla Years 1998 To Present

The best & worst Toyota Corolla years have been categorized based on the year the car was introduced from 1998 through the latest models.

Here are the best and worst Toyota Carolla years, according to the latest generations of the Toyota Corolla.

From 1998 to the present, I have meticulously researched and compiled data from reliable sources such as NHTSA and Consumer Reports.

Best & Worst Toyota Corolla Years

Toyota Carolla’s common problems and recalls will be examined closely, along with insights on performance, technology advances, and resale value.

Come on, let’s get started!

Toyota Corolla Generations

Since 1966, the Toyota Corolla has been on a journey of development. Fuel efficiency, affordability, and reliability quickly drew attention to Toyota’s compact car offering. An average consumer could get by with its first model, which had a 1.1-liter engine.

From 1998 to the present, the Toyota Corolla has gone through the following generations:

8th generation (E110)1998-2002
9th generation (E120/E130)2003-2008
10th generation (E140/E150)2009-2013
11th generation (E170)2014-2019
12th generation (E210)2020-Present

Design, technology, and performance have changed significantly over the decades. Since generational differences can affect purchasing decisions significantly, highlighting these distinctions is crucial.

Toyota Corolla Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

Several factors are taken into account when categorizing the best and worst Toyota Corolla model years. A few of these are:

  • Surveys of owner reliability
  • Maintenance costs on an annual basis
  • Ratings for safety
  • Ratings of Consumer Reports’ reliability
  • Scores of owner satisfaction from Consumer Reports
  • Complaints, recalls, and investigations by the NHTSA
  • Ratings of Edmunds owners
  • Ratings of JD Power owners
  • Owner ratings from Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB)
  • Ratings of VehicleHistory owners
  • Owner ratings on

An overview of ratings from the sources listed above is presented below in a visual representation.

On the basis of data gathered, I’ve summarized all Toyota Corolla model years into a table that categorizes them as the best, neutral, and poorest years to buy a Toyota Corolla.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
8th generation (E110)2000 2001 2002N/A1998 1999
9th generation (E120/E130)2007 200820052003 2004 2006
10th generation (E140/E150)2012 201320112009 2010
11th generation (E170)2016 2017 2018 201920152014
12th generation (E210)2021 2022 2023 2024N/A2020

A neutral year is defined as one during which neither a significant advance nor a significant reversal has occurred. Without being exceptional good or bad, they offered a balance of qualities.

There are certain factors that play a crucial role, such as NHTSA recalls. When a car receives more complaints and recalls, its reliability is reduced, which can affect how it is classified.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best, neutral, and worst years for the Toyota Carolla.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 8th Generation (1998-2002)

As part of Toyota’s commitment to making reliable, efficient, and affordable vehicles, the eighth generation of the Toyota Corolla was introduced in 1998.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 8th Generation (1998-2002)

Among Toyota Corolla’s eighth-generation models, 2000 to 2002 are the best years, while 1998 to 1999 are the worst.

The Best Years: 2000, 2001, 2002

It is often cited as one of the best Toyota Corolla models of the first generation for its improved engineering and features.

An average of 27 city / 34 highway miles per gallon was achieved by these models with the 1.8L 1ZZ-FE VVT-i engine.

To meet the driving preferences of different types of drivers, four-speed automatic transmissions were available along with five-speed manual transmissions.

With respect to trim levels, the CE, LE, and S trim levels all provided different levels of comfort and aesthetics, with the S trim particularly sporting a sportier look.

Airbag systems and brake systems were also improved during these years as well as technological advancements.

There were, however, a few issues with these models. Even though oil consumption was less than in their predecessors, these years were marked by excessive oil consumption.

The Worst Years: 1998, 1999

Due to engine and powertrain issues, we found that 1998 and 1999 Toyota Corollas should be avoided due to owner complaints on NHTSA.

Its reputation was hampered by several issues in 1998 and 1999. It was common to hear complaints about engine problems, especially oil leaks.

Corolla’s reputation for reliability was also damaged as a result of this long-term damage risk.

In addition, users reported hearing grinding noises when applying brakes, suggesting possible brake system issues.

Added to the list of problems were power steering unit failures. Corolla remains an affordable, efficient car, but it faced significant challenges during these problematic years, making it less desirable if retrospective evaluations are conducted.

Complaints and recalls for Toyota Corollas from 1998 and 1999 can be found on the NHTSA website.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 9th Generation (2003-2008)

As Toyota maintains its lead in the compact car market, its ninth generation of the Corolla was unveiled in 2003.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 9th Generation (2003-2008)

There are three Toyota Corolla model years you should avoid at all costs: 2003, 2004, and 2006. In the ninth generation, Carolla had his best years in 2007 and 2008.

The Best Years: 2007, 2008

As a result of Toyota’s commitment to improving the Corolla, fewer owners complained and recalled their vehicles in 2007 and 2008.

It delivered an average fuel economy of about 26 city / 35 highway mpg when fitted with the 1.8L 1ZZ-FE engine and a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.

Consumers could opt for trims like CE, LE, or sporty S, depending on their preferences.

Airbags with side-curtain deployment were also introduced in these years.

These Toyota models still suffered from sporadic AC malfunctions despite recalls that addressed earlier Engine Control Module (ECM) problems.

The Neutral Years: 2005

What are the pros and cons of the 2005 Toyota Corolla? This model year of the Toyota Corolla served as a transitional one, thanks to its decent performance.

It was primarily known for its Engine Control Module (ECM) malfunctions, leading to frequent illuminated “Check Engine” lights and, at worst, causing the engine to stall even though it contained the same 1.8L 1ZZ-FE engine and transmission options.

While its less favored siblings were plagued by many issues, this model year remained neutral.

In response to significant concerns, Toyota issued a number of recalls, particularly concerning the ECM for 1ZZ-FE engines.

The Worst Years: 2003, 2004, 2006

NHTSA reports that 2003, 2004, and 2006 are the worst years for Toyota Corolla owner complaints and recalls.

Consumers were unhappy with the 2003 and 2004 Toyota Corolla due to persistent oil leaks, transmission glitches, and internal noises.

In addition, the 2006 Toyota Corolla was plagued with engine problems, despite being an improvement on its immediate predecessors.

The ECM malfunction caused the “Check Engine” light to illuminate and, in some cases, caused crashes.

It was frustratingly common for air conditioners and transmissions to fail these years, in addition to engine troubles.

The NHTSA recalls and complaints for Toyota Corollas for 2003, 2004 and 2006 can be found here.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 10th Generation (2009-2013)

In its tenth generation, Toyota Corolla received new styling cues and technologic upgrades, establishing its status as an affordable and reliable car.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 10th Generation (2009-2013)

2009 and 2010 are the Toyota Corolla years to avoid at all costs, while 2012 and 2013 are the best years for the tenth-generation Corolla.

The Best Years: 2012, 2013

In several areas, the best Toyota Corolla years of the tenth generation – 2012 and 2013 – stand out.

A 1.8L 2ZR-FE engine powered most of the 2012 and 2013 Toyota Corolla models.

A combination of these engines provided consumers with a balance of performance and fuel efficiency, with an average fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city / 33 mpg on the highway.

A braking system with enhanced stability control and enhanced braking were also added.

Some reports of excessive oil consumption, however, were reported even for these highly regarded models.

In spite of this, J.D. Power and Consumer Reports were extremely well received in these years.

The Neutral Years: 2011

A transitional refinement can be found in the 2011 Toyota Corolla.

Earlier in the generation, a 1.8L 2ZR-FE engine and transmission were available, providing reliable performance and impressive fuel economy.

As far as technology is concerned, Toyota incorporated a revised audio system and navigation options into the new model.

Despite the leap forward, there were no setbacks. A number of owners reported problems with the vehicle’s Electronic Control Module (ECM), which occasionally caused the vehicle to stall unexpectedly.

As a result of Toyota’s rapid response to service bulletins and recalls, these concerns were somewhat mitigated, resulting in a neutral rating for the 2011 model.

The Worst Years: 2009, 2010

Toyota Carolla models from 2009 and 2010 are good cars, right? Not. The Toyota Corolla has the most complaints on NHTSA, so it is highly recommended to avoid 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corollas at all costs.

Overheating and unintended acceleration were among issues with the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla models.

Power steering assist was lost, posing a significant safety hazard. There were widespread reports of malfunctioning Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) and gear slippage.

The vehicle also received recalls for an obstructed brake vacuum intake port that reduced braking efficiency, as well as a sticky accelerator pedal that could lead to an accident.

The Consumer Reports reliability and owner satisfaction scores for these model years reflect these concerns.

Check out the NHTSA recalls and complaints for the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 11th Generation (2014-2019)

In its 11th generation, the Toyota Corolla adopted an aggressive, contemporary look that marked a significant departure from its predecessors.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 11th Generation (2014-2019)

During the eleventh generation of Toyota Corolla, 2016-2019 are the best years. Toyota Corolla models from 2014 are the only ones you should avoid.

The Best Years: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

What is the most reliable year of the Toyota Corolla? The model years from 2016 to 2019 have the best reliability among the 11th generation Toyota Corollas, according to Consumer Reports.

An innovative Valvematic system powered the 1.8L 2ZR-FAE engine during these years.

The models offered impressive fuel efficiency, averaging around 28 city/36 highway mpg in combination with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Toyota’s Safety Sense-P suite, along with enhanced safety features, raised the Corolla’s safety ratings. The interior features a superior cabin materials and an improved infotainment system.

The Neutral Years: 2015

In spite of its commendable qualities, the 2015 Toyota Corolla was outdone by its successors.

The powertrain configuration largely mirrored that of its predecessor, which retained the trusted 1.8L 2ZR-FAE engine.

The lack of advanced safety features was somewhat disappointing, but the backup camera was a welcome addition, as were the improved ergonomics of the dashboard.

In spite of this, it was unable to reach the heights of the subsequent models due to occasional transmission glitches and lingering problems with the infotainment system.

The Worst Years: 2014

We classified 2014 as the worst Toyota Carolla year of the generation based on the comparatively high number of owner-reported complaints.

A number of drivers reported jerking, hesitation, and unintended acceleration when driving the 2014 Toyota Corolla.

Occasionally, touchscreen malfunctions caused frustration with the infotainment system.

As a result of the problems outlined above, this model year’s Corolla failed to set a new standard for the brand.

As a testament to Toyota’s commitment to customer satisfaction and quality, the company quickly addressed some of these concerns.

Toyota Corolla complaints and recalls from the NHTSA for 2014.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 12th Generation (2020-Present)

This new generation Toyota Corolla boasts improved performance, handling, and ride comfort thanks to the TNGA platform (Toyota New Global Architecture).

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Corolla 12th Generation (2020-Present)

Toyota Carolla’s reliability rating was lowest in 2020, while it was highest in 2021-2024.

The Best Years: 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

Toyota refined the Corolla’s offerings from 2021 onward during the twelfth generation’s best years.

A Dynamic-Force 2.0L 4-cylinder engine combined with a Direct Shift-CVT engine emerged as a favorite, delivering an impressive 41 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city.

There was praise for the engaging driving experience provided by the 12-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) on certain trim levels.

Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and pre-collision systems became standard safety features as part of Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0.

Several connectivity options, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, made the cabin a technological paradise.

Corolla’s status as a leading compact sedan was further enhanced in 2023 and 2024 through further refinement of these integrations.

The Worst Years: 2020

Despite its revolutionary aspirations, 2020 was one of the worst Toyota Carolla years of this generation.

There was a lot to like about the car, such as advanced driver-assistance technology and a redesigned interior, but there were a few problems as well.

Minor infotainment glitches and poor CVT performance were reported by some drivers.

In addition, platforms like J.D. The company has comparatively low ratings on platforms like J.D. Consumer Reports, perhaps as a result of its early teething problems.

As a newly launched generation, this year faced challenges common to its first year, despite being instrumental in paving the way for future refinements.

Recalls and complaints related to the 2020 Toyota Carolla can be found on the NHTSA website.

Common Toyota Corolla Problems

There are multiple problems with the Toyota Corolla across its model years, despite its legendary reliability. You should watch out for the following Toyota Corolla problems:

Common Toyota Corolla Problems

Excessive oil consumption

There have been reports of excessive oil consumption in Corolla engines. Despite a barely new vehicle, oil issues have mostly been seen with 2002 and 2009 model years. Oil should be thicker, piston rings should be replaced, or the engine can be replaced – a $2,600 to $5,000 expense.

Faulty transmission

There have been reports that Corolla owners have experienced transmission failure despite regular maintenance. The noises they heard before their cars stopped were often described as clunking and grinding. Transmission failures are most prevalent in 2003 Corollas. Most often, the transmission must be rebuilt or replaced, which can cost upwards of $1,200.

Slow engine startup

It has been reported that some Corolla owners have trouble starting their cars. It usually occurs after a vehicle has traveled 100,000-125,000 miles. In most cases, the problem is caused by a faulty starter, which requires a replacement of the starter solenoid. Corollas from 2015 are most likely to experience this problem.

Lit check engine light

A check engine light is triggered by the evaporative emissions (EVAP) system in most 1998-2016 Corollas. Failure of the charcoal canister or faulty gas cap are possible causes.

Musty and moldy A/C system

HVAC systems were defective in many Toyota vehicles. The worst thing you can do is notice a musty or moldy smell coming from your air conditioner. Furthermore, the musty odor can cause health problems for the occupants if it is present in the interior air quality.

There have been similar complaints about 2009 Toyotas as well, but they are particularly common with older Corollas. A lawsuit claims that Toyota’s air conditioning systems fail to properly drain water from its evaporators and enclosures as a result of these grievances.

Soy coating attracts rodents

The company used soy-coated electrical wire coating to reduce its environmental impact. However, rodents were highly attracted to soy materials for nest building. Because the damage is not covered by warranty, owners have paid between $2,000-$9,000 for it.

Faulty mass airflow sensor

A bad mass airflow sensor was reportedly found in Corolla models between 1998 and 2010. In order to maintain the vehicle’s performance and acceleration, the sensors need to be cleaned more frequently. Also, the check engine light may be triggered due to this issue. Usually, the sensor needs to be replaced.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What common problems should potential Toyota Corolla owners be aware of?

There are a number of problems with the Toyota Corolla, including excessive oil consumption, faulty transmissions, slow engine startup, illuminated check engine lights, musty and moldy air conditioning systems, soy coating, which attracts rodents, and faulty mass airflow sensors.

Are Toyota Corollas typically reliable?

A Toyota Corolla has a reputation for being bulletproof. More than 50 million cars have been sold worldwide, making this a reliable and efficient vehicle for most people in search of reliable transportation. The Corolla is a great car, but be careful not to buy any model year from the 2000s (hint: some are problematic).

How much does a used Toyota Corolla typically cost?

Used cars with a solid reputation often sell for more money; the Corolla is a perfect example, especially in today’s second-hand market with tight supplies and higher interest rates. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, used Corollas are more expensive now than before.

Toyota Corolla’s average selling price is $8,939, according to CoPilot Price Pulse. There may be a half-price difference in normal times. It is still difficult to find cheaper examples of newer examples. For $20,113, you can get a 2019 Toyota Corolla. On a regular market, the car would be worth about one-third more.

Which Toyota Corolla years should I avoid buying as used?

It is best to avoid Toyota Corolla models manufactured in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009, and 2014. It has been identified that these models are more frequently subjected to complaints about excessive oil consumption, transmission issues, and other reliability problems.

What are the main problems reported with the Toyota Corolla models from 2000 to 2009?

Especially the 2002 and 2009 Toyota Corolla models consumed excessive oil from 2000 to 2009. Transmission problems were also reported in 2003 and 2009, while cooling system problems were reported in 2009 due to a failure of the water pump.

Is there a Toyota Corolla year known for having the most problems, and what are they?

Numerous problems plague the 2009 Toyota Corolla, such as excessive oil consumption and water pump failure. Reliability may be negatively impacted by these issues and repair costs could be high.

Is the Toyota Corolla a good car to purchase?

A Toyota Corolla is a great choice for someone looking for a reliable and affordable vehicle. In order to enjoy ownership of the Toyota Corolla more, you should know which years were the most reliable.


According to Toyota Corolla fans, the best Toyota Carolla years are 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016-2019, and 2021-2024, combining performance, design, and reliability, making them top picks for prospective owners.

What was the best or worst year you owned a Toyota Corolla?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

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