Best And Worst Years for Toyota Corolla

Best And Worst Years for Toyota Corolla

We have thoroughly examined all Toyota Corolla models from 1998 to the present and sorted the top and bottom years for the Toyota Corolla. This article will deeply dive into the Toyota Corolla’s history, exploring the standout years that have earned praise for their reliability, performance, and overall value. 

Suppose you’re a long-time Corolla enthusiast considering purchasing your first one. This guide will provide valuable insights into which model years to consider and which to approach cautiously. Let’s dive right into the best and worst years for Toyota Corolla.

Toyota Corolla Generations

The Toyota Corolla has come a long way since its debut in 1966. Over the years, it has gone through multiple generations, each one bringing new features and improvements. From its humble beginnings with a 1.1-litre engine to today’s models’ advanced technology and safety today’s, the Corolla has remained a popular choice for fuel efficiency, affordability, and reliability.

With each generation, Toyota has worked to innovate and evolve the Corolla to meet the changing needs of consumers.

The chart below summarises the different generations of Toyota Corolla from 1998 to the present.

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

Generational design, technology, and performance differences have significantly shaped consumer preferences. For example, older generations may value durability and simplicity in design, while younger generations may prioritize sleekness and innovation. This can impact purchasing decisions as different age groups are drawn to additional features and functionalities.

Toyota Corolla Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

Ranking the Toyota CorollCorolla’srmance over the years involves identifying the highest, middle, and lowest performers. We look at various factors to determine the best and worst years for the car. These factors include:

  • Reliability as reported by owners through surveys
  • Yearly expenses for maintenance
  • Ratings for safety
  • Scores for reliability from Consumer Reports
  • Satisfaction scores from owners according to Consumer Reports
  • Recalls, investigations, and complaints from NHTSA
  • Ratings from vehicle owners on Edmunds
  • Ratings from vehicle owners on JD Power
  • Ratings from vehicle owners on Kelley Blue Book (KBB)
  • Ratings from vehicle owners on VehicleHistory
  • Ratings from vehicle owners on

The picture below shows ratings from the sources mentioned earlier, giving a complete summary.

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

Based on the collected data, I’ve categorized all the years of Toyota Corolla models into a table, sorting them into best, neutral, and worst categories.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
8th generation (E110)2000
9th generation (E120/E130)2007
10th generation (E140/E150)2012
11th generation (E170)2016
12th generation (E210)2021

Neutral years for car models didn’t come out as exceptional or problematic. These years, they offered a mix of qualities without being particularly outstanding. Factors like NHTSA recalls are essential in determining the reliability of these cars. A higher number of complaints and recalls can indicate reduced reliability, affecting how we classify these model years.

When looking at neutral years for car models, it’s essential to consider factors like overall performance, safety ratings, and customer satisfaction. These years may not have been remarkable in any particular aspect, but they still provided a balanced mix of qualities for consumers to consider. 

Look at the Toyota Corolla’s best, neutral, and worst years.

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

The eighth generation of the Toyota Corolla, launched in 1998, was designed to uphold Toyota for making dependable, fuel-efficient, and budget-friendly cars. Model years from 2000 to 2002 are considered the best for the Toyota Corolla. These years are known for their solid reliability and overall good performance.

The Best Years Toyota Corolla: 2000, 2001, 2002

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

The 2000 to 2002 Toyota Corolla models are often considered the best of the first generation, thanks to their improved engineering and features. Equipped with a 1.8L 1ZZ-FE VVT-i engine, these cars balance performance and fuel efficiency well, delivering an average of 27 city and 34 highway mpg. 

With transmission options including a 4-speed automatic and a 5-speed manual, drivers had choices to suit their preferences. The CE, LE, and S trims offered varying levels of comfort and aesthetics, with the S trim featuring sportier design elements. 

Technological advancements during these years introduced advanced airbag systems and improved braking mechanisms, enhancing safety features. It is important to note that these models did have some issues, such as excessive oil consumption.

The Worst Years Toyota Corolla: 1998, 1999

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

As reported by owners on NHTSA, the 1998 and 1999 model years were plagued with engine and powertrain issues. Common complaints included oil leaks, brake system problems, and power steering unit failures. 

These issues raised concerns about long-term damage and tarnished the CorollCorolla’sation for reliability. Corolla is known for being affordable and efficient, but the problems experienced during these years make it a less recommended option for prospective buyers.

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

The ninth generation of the Toyota Corolla, introduced in 2003, demonstrated Toyota’s ability to stay competitive in the compact car segment. Some years within this generation are best avoided. 

Specifically, the 2003, 2004, and 2006 models had issues that made them less desirable. On the other hand, the 2007 and 2008 models are considered the best years for the ninth-generation Corolla, offering improved reliability and performance.

The Best Years: 2007, 2008

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

The best years for the Toyota Corolla were 2007 and 2008, as these models showed a commitment to refinement with fewer owner complaints and recalls. Equipped with the 1.8L 1ZZ-FE engine and available with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, the 2007 and 2008 Corollas delivered an average fuel efficiency of about 26 city/35 highway mpg. 

These years, they also offered varied trim options such as CE, LE, and sporty S trims to cater to consumer preferences. Additionally, enhanced safety features like side-curtain airbags were introduced during this time.

The Neutral Years: 2005

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

The 2005 Toyota Corolla is a mixed bag regarding reliability and performance. While it maintained the same engine and transmission options, it was known for frequent Engine Control Module (ECM) malfunctions, leading to the Check Engine light coming on and potentially causing the engine to stall. However, it didn’t have as many issues as some other model years, putting it in a neutral category.

With these problems, Toyota proactively addressed concerns through various recalls, mainly related to the ECM for 1ZZ-FE engines. This shows that while there were issues with the 2005 Corolla, Toyota rectified them and ensured customer satisfaction.

The Worst Years: 2003, 2004, 2006

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

If you’re wondering about buying a Toyota Corolla, it steers clear of 2003, 2004, and 2006 models. These years saw many owner complaints and recalls, with persistent oil leaks, transmission glitches, and internal noises plaguing the 2003 and 2004 models. While the 2006 model improved from its predecessors, it faced engine issues such as defective ECM malfunctions and air conditioner glitches.

These problems led to activating the Check Engine light and, in some cases, engine stalls that resulted in crashes. Additionally, transmission failures were disappointingly common during these years.

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

The tenth-generation Toyota Corolla, introduced with updated styling and advanced technology, has become known for its reliability and affordability. The 2012 and 2013 models are considered the best years for the tenth-generation Corolla, offering improved features and performance. These models have received positive reviews for their fuel efficiency, safety features, and overall value.

The 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla models are often recommended to be avoided due to reported issues with their transmission and braking systems. These years have been associated with more frequent mechanical problems than later models.

The Best Years: 2012, 2013

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

The 2012 and 2013 Toyota Corolla models are widely considered some of the best years for the car due to their notable improvements. Equipped with a 1.8L 2ZR-FE engine and available with both automatic and manual transmissions, these models offered a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency, averaging around 27 city and 33 highway mpg. 

Safety features were also enhanced, including an improved braking system and stability control, which contributed to their positive reception by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.

The Neutral Years: 2011

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

The 2011 Toyota Corolla represents a period of transition and refinement period. It maintained the reliable 1.8L 2ZR-FE engine and offered improved transmission options, delivering performance and fuel efficiency.

 Toyota also made progress in integrating a revised audio system and navigation features, enhancing the overall driving experience. Some owners experienced issues with the Electronic Control Module (ECM), which led to unexpected stalls. However, Toyota’s prompt response through service bulletins and recalls helped address these concerns, placing the 2011 model in a neutral category.

The Worst Years: 2009, 2010

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

The 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla models have had a history of significant issues, making them not the best choice for a reliable car. With over 1000 complaints on NHTSA, these years saw problems like excessive oil consumption, overheating, unintended acceleration, loss of power steering assist, ECM malfunctions, gear slipping, and safety recalls for brake and accelerator pedal issues. These concerns have led to the lowest reliability and owner satisfaction scores from Consumer Reports.

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

The 11th generation of the Toyota Corolla, which ran from 2014 to 2019, significantly changed design and performance. The 2016-2019 models are considered the best years of this generation due to their improved features, reliability, and modern styling. 

These models also have advanced safety technology and better fuel efficiency, making them popular for buyers looking for a dependable and stylish compact car. The 2014 model year is often recommended to be avoided due to reported issues with its transmission and overall reliability.

The Best Years: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

best and worst years for Toyota Corolla

Based on our research through Consumer Reports, the model years 2016 to 2019 are considered the most reliable for the Toyota Corolla in the eleventh generation. These years are equipped with a robust 1.8L 2ZR-FAE four-cylinder engine featuring an innovative Valvematic system, providing impressive fuel efficiencies averaging around 28 city and 36 highway mpg. 

These models offer enhanced safety features, such as the integration of Toyota’s safety Sense-P suite, which has contributed to elevated safety ratings for the Corolla. The interior also boasts luxurious upgrades, including a revamped infotainment system and superior cabin materials, making these years stand out as reliable and well-equipped options for potential buyers.

The Neutral Years: 2015

best years Toyota Corolla

The 2015 Toyota Corolla was a solid car with its reliable 1.8L 2ZR-FAE engine and improved dashboard ergonomics. It also came with a standard backup camera, which was an excellent addition for safety. However, it fell short compared to its successors due to occasional transmission issues and lingering infotainment system glitches. As it was a commendable car, it didn’t reach the heights of the later models regarding advanced safety options and overall performance.

The Worst Years: 2014

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has been categorized as the worst year to avoid due to more owner-registered complaints. Many drivers reported transmission problems, including hesitation, jerking, and unintended acceleration. The infotainment system had touchscreen malfunctions that caused frustration for some owners. These issues marred the model year’s reputation despite attempts to set a new standard with a fresh design and technological promises.

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

The Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform has significantly improved the 12th-generation Toyota Corolla, focusing on stability, handling, and ride comfort. This means drivers can expect a smoother and more enjoyable driving experience than previous generations.

The  2020 model year of the Toyota Corolla had lower reliability ratings; the subsequent years from 2021 to 2024 have been marked as the car’s most reliable.

The years 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 marked the peak of the twelfth generation of Toyota Corolla. During this time, Toyota significantly improved the CorollCorolla’sings, especially its powertrain options. 

The introduction of the 2.0L Dynamic-Force 4-cylinder engine paired with a Direct Shift-CVT proved popular, providing a good balance between power and fuel efficiency with around 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Some trims also offered a 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT), praised for delivering an engaging driving experience.

Advanced safety features from Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 also became standard, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and pre-collision systems. The cabin was also equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and various connectivity options to enhance the technological aspect of the car. In 2023 and 2024, these features were further refined, solidifying the CorollCorolla’sion as a top compact sedan.

The Worst Years: 2020

The 2020 Toyota Corolla, despite its ambitious advancements, did face some criticisms. It introduced impressive features such as advanced driver-assist technology and a redesigned interior, but it had its issues. Some drivers reported lacklustre CVT performance and minor infotainment glitches. 

best years for Toyota Corolla

Industry platforms like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports gave it lower ratings, likely due to these early teething problems. Notably, the 2020 model year laid the groundwork for future refinements, typical for the first year of a newly launched generation.

Toyota Corolla Average Resale Values

Check out the graph below to see how the average resale values of Toyota Carolla have changed over the years.

worst years for Toyota Corolla


The Toyota Corolla has had its share of standout years and some less impressive. Looking back at the Toyota CorollCorolla’sry, the years 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016-2019, and the upcoming years 2021-2024 are particularly noteworthy for being the best in performance, design, and reliability. These are the top choices for anyone considering buying a Toyota Corolla. It’s essential for potential buyers to carefully research and consider these factors when looking for a used Corolla. Understanding the best and worst years for Toyota Corolla can help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle.


 How do safety ratings differ between the best and worst years?

Best years have higher safety ratings compared to the worst years due to improved technology over time.

Are there any common problems with the worst years that I should be aware of?

Common problems with the worst years include transmission issues and premature engine wear.

Are there any specific models or trims that stand out as the best?

These years’ LE and S trims are often recommended for their features and performance.

What makes these years stand out as the best?

These years are known for their reliability, fuel efficiency, and overall value for money.