A pre-owned 2008 Toyota Corolla: Initial impressions

If you are in a used car market and looking to purchase a reliable, decently powerful sedan and have limited budget, the facelift Toyota Corolla happens to be a very strong contender.

BHPian pta320 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi all,

I recently purchased a pre owned 2008 Toyota Corolla H5 and I will be sharing my initial experience with the car here. To the moderators, apologies if it is posted in the wrong part of the forum, please do move it to correct place if required.

Having already owned a 2003 Toyota Corolla, I bought the exact same car again due to only one reason, the lack of ABS and EBD in 2003 model.

As someone who drives a lot on highways, the absence of ABS has put me in a critical situations several times where wheels used to lock up and steering wheel became useless. The lack of EBD, made the car go momentarily out of control during heavy braking. Looking at these issues and brakes being a critical safety feature, I decided to get a car with ABS and EBD to reduce the chance of a crash in the future.

Now since the decision to buy a new car was taken very quickly, I had a very limited budget so expensive cars costing over 3 lakhs were immediately ruled out.

The 2003 Toyota Corolla that I still own has proved to be an extremely reliable car and it is very comfortable to drive on long journeys. So I decided to get the exact same car but with ABS.

I started looking up on OLX and there were hardly any well maintained post 2005 Corollas on sale. Those that were on sale were either ruined by CNG installation or by weird mods. It was a headache to find a clean car. Finally I managed to find a silver, September 2008 registered, second owner, Toyota Corolla H5 1.8E which was completely stock inside and out. I immediately went to the dealership to check out the car.

Initial good impression :

1) The car was repainted at most points so there were no scratches or dents. The car looked straight out of the showroom.

2) The bumpers were also repainted.

3) The frame and structure was sound with no rusting anywhere.

4) The engine sound was very clean and as I checked inside the oil filler cap, the engine was also very clean which indicated regular oil changes.

5) The interior was well maintained and the car had the OEM leather seats which were also in good condition.

6) All four struts were brand new, Monroe.

7) Clutch is super light and looks to have a decent amount of life left.

Not so good:

1) Tyres were garbage. Somehow still had the original tyres after 75000kms and they were converted to tube.

2) Link rods were torn.

3) Inner CV boot was torn.

4) Brake pads had 40% life left.

Overall the engine and gearbox were in excellent condition. All the electronics including the auto headlamps, auto folding ORVMs etc. were working fine. There were no trouble codes and live data was fine as checked by my BlueDriver scan tool.

After test driving the car for a while and finding no further issues after my thorough inspection, I decided to go ahead with this car.

Now came the hard part, the asking price was sky high and I would blame it to the inflation and other factors. In last two years, the price of used cars have sky rocketed not only in India but in most parts of the world, on an average the price of used cars have increased by approx. 1 lakh rupees in last 5 years.

So I started my negotiation and managed to come down to a fair price. Although it was still 40-50k more than the market rate but considering the current situation and recent experiences, it was pretty sure that no car can be had for the market rate, especially a well maintained 2008 Toyota Corolla top of the line variant. So I closed the deal.

The dealership that I bought car from is one of the best dealerships in the city and they got the torn CV axle boot replaced and also fixed the new link rods all in front of me at their very capable workshop free of cost. They gave me a warranty of 100 days as well on the engine, gearbox and AC compressor, the warranty also covers other non consumable parts too.

As I bought the car, I replaced all the fluids and filters in the car. This includes, engine oil (replaced with Amsoil singature 5W30), gearbox oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant, air filter and cabin filter. I replaced the tyres with my previous 2003 Corolla. Also the headlights were replaced with the nighteye LEDs from my previous car. I got the refrigerant topped up and got the condenser and evaporator coil cleaned, and the AC started blowing ice cold air.

Here are some pictures:

 Very high quality leather seats.

 High quality steering wheel with wood insert and steering mounted audio controls.

 Very comfortable rear seats with rear sunshade.

 New 10 spoke alloy rims.

 Automatic headlamp sensor.

The indestructible Toyota’s 1ZZ-FE engine. These things can last forever as long as oil changes are regular.

Coming to the car,

The post 2005,2006+ Toyota Corollas came with following new additions.

1) rear LED tail lamps

2) New front grille and bumper.

3) ABS with EBD (the most important addition for such a powerful car)

4) Automatic headlamps (top variant)

5) Lumbar support (top variant)

6) Wood insert steering with audio controls

7) Improved OBD2 support

8) Rear sunshade

9) Improved music system with MP3.

10) Headlight adjusters.

11) Cabin filter mesh.

12) Remote control door lock mechanism.

13) Security alarm (not sure)

14) printed antenna

There maybe more features that are added, so I will add them as I discover more.

About the car’s pros and cons:

Pros :

  • 1.8L 1ZZ engine is a gem. It is the benchmark engine when it comes to reliability. I’ve seen these engines last over a 800k miles and still go strong. Also the performance is very good, with 125 ps on tap, it can do some serious speeds. Highway driving is a breeze. Very good low end torque too. Someone has rightly said, there is no replacement for the displacement.
  • C52 manual transmission is very smooth to shift and extremely reliable.
  • Looks are understated. No fancy chrome or overdone parts. The car looks calm and composed.
  • Very high quality parts including rubber hoses, plastics etc. This car is built to last and can take toughest of the toughest abuse.
  • Excellent Toyota’s service network. Parts can easily be sourced from scrapyard or the dealer
  • Very nice and premium interiors. The new gen Altis is nowhere in terms of quality of parts used in the interior. Many soft touch materials used and high quality plastics used. Ver less to no hard plastics.
  • All four disc brakes and excellent braking with ABS and EBD.

Cons :

  • Design looks dated in 2022.
  • Fuel efficiency comes to around 9-10 kmpl in city and 15-16 kmpl on highway with AC on. Can’t really complain owing to a big 1.8L engine.
  • No AUX or bluetooth. I use FM transmitter to play the music.

With that, I’ll wrap up this post. To conclude, if you are in a used car market and looking to purchase a reliable, decently powerful sedan and have limited budget, the facelift Toyota Corolla happens to be a very strong contender.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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