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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Toyota Corolla Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Toyota Corolla Overview

35-Years of Pure Puppy Love

We love this little car. We love it because it does so many things right without fanfare or exorbitant pricing. If every car was as well built and durable as the Toyota Corolla, we imagine there would be fewer new cars sold in this country, not to mention a lot less demand for gasoline. For 2004, the Corolla is celebrating its 35th birthday in the United States; that information alone should tell you volumes about the longevity of this car.

The Corolla name is so well known because it has been the first car for so many buyers. Even when it comes time to move to a larger car, Corolla owners tend to keep their faithful companion for use as a second car rather than trade it in. This probably explains why the Corollas resale value is so high: no one wants to give them up!

Luckily for you Toyota makes lots of new Corollas every day and they offer them in three distinct trim levels. For those who need simple, cost-effective transportation, there is the CE, a model with an asking price of just over $14K and a standard equipment list that includes air conditioning, a rear defroster, AM/FM stereo with CD, auto-off headlights, tilt steering wheel, tachometer, remote trunk release, dual power mirrors and intermittent wipers.

The sporty S model adds fog lights, ground effects, power door locks, color-keyed mirrors, driver's seat height adjustment, white silhouetted instrument faces and larger wheels and tires. The top-of-the-line LE features the same equipment as the CE but adds power windows and door locks, keyless entry, woodgrain dash trim, interior map lights, driver's seat height adjustment and variable intermittent wipers; a fully loaded LE tops out around $21K. Options for all models include upgraded audio, side-impact front airbags, cruise control and alloy wheels.

No matter which trim you choose, youll get the same peppy 1.8-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission. Rated at 130 horsepower, the Corollas engine uses a number of high-tech features to help it move quickly while sipping fuel at a miserly pace (the EPA rates the Corolla with a manual transmission at 32-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.) Youll find that even with the optional four-speed automatic, the Corolla feels relatively quick on level surfaces, though it does struggle a bit more when climbing in elevation or when youve got a full complement onboard.

On the road, youll find the Corolla a joy to drive. Its stable suspension returns a smooth ride yet is able to negotiate quick maneuvers without any loss of composure. Mind you, the Corolla is not a sports car—even in its S trim—and you can push it to the point where its front wheels begin to plow. Drive it within reason, however, and the Corolla will always go where you point it and stop when you tell it to.

From the outside, youll notice the Corolla seems to be taller than most compact cars. Its high profile is part of the reason why its interior space is so much more accommodating to tall individuals. The taller stance is also a safety feature; with its bumpers higher up, the Corolla is better able to deal with collisions involving larger trucks and SUVs. The Corollas new-found stature also provides for a roomy trunk, 13.6 cubic feet to be exact.

Inside youll find a beautifully detailed cabin, with firm supportive seats, grade-A quality plastics and a rear seat that can actually accommodate two adults in relative comfort. The dash layout is elegantly simple with no bells and whistles to speak of. As with most cars in this class, the radio and heating controls are placed in the center section for ease of operation, though with the Corolla you may find that operating the radio requires a bit of a reach. There are bins and storage compartments galore, including four separate cup holders (two front and two rear.)

In all, whether you need a small daily commuter for yourself or basic family transportation, the Corolla is an excellent choice.

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