Daily driving my 2005 Toyota Corolla: Pros, Cons & a few updates

I have been getting a constant 9-10 km/l fuel efficiency in the city with AC and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

BHPian BeemerBug_06 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Time for some updates!!

The Corolla has taken over as my daily driver from the Zen for some time now since I’ve decided to give the little one a break for a bit. I have driven it about say 300 km since the restoration, in different kinds of traffic situations and roads and here are a few pointers about how it’s been.

The Good:

  • The Great Low-End Torque of the 1.8-litre motor makes overtaking and driving in city traffic speeds a breeze. I can even drive in 4th gear all day long with a partially open road and not need to downshift.
  • The AC is a chiller, such that I often need to turn it down or even put it off. Ideal for our humid Mumbai weather. Furthermore, unlike the Zen, it doesn’t bog down the engine’s power hehe.
  • The comfort of driving/being driven in one of these is second to none, now it feels even better with the reupholstered seats.
  • The ABS happens to be a blessing as it did its job in a couple of situations which could have been fatal thanks to some idiotic two-wheelers.
  • As for the mileage, I have been getting a constant 9-10kmpl reading in the city with AC and bumper-to-bumper traffic. I find it to be a respectable figure for the car. I’m sure most Corolla owners would be experiencing the same.

The Not-so-Good:

  • The car moves well, but it just isn’t engaging to drive. Not a driver’s car. Best driven sedately and using short shifts. Pulling it beyond 3k rpm will not be much fun at all, although the engine has some amazing capabilities.
  • The size can be a bit of a headache at times. Especially near my workplace where parking spots are few and small. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, I miss having the Zen with which I could cut through easily.
  • The clutch feels heavy and hard. Surely age has a role to play here. Again, in traffic, it feels very cumbersome and I wish I had an automatic at times.
  • Overall visibility is not banged on. There are certain blind spot areas which if unaware will not be taken into consideration and can lead to mishaps while reversing/overtaking.

So here are some Pros and Cons. But overall, it has been good dairying the Rolla. Glad we kept it!

Some weeks ago when I took the car on the highway and went above the speed of 80-90 km/h, the steering would start vibrating. It felt odd as I had never experienced something of that sort before. Nonetheless, I thought it was a problem with the wheel alignment or balancing. So on my return, I drove over to my local tyre shop and had the balancing done. It did sort out the issue temporarily, but it returned after some time.

The tyre guy then suggested that it was most likely the tyres which had gone bad and were causing the problem. It sure was!

The Yokohama Earth 1s that my car was running on was changed by my dad in 2015 and the car had hardly run since then, causing the rubber to go hard and develop cracks on the sidewall. Hence, it needed new rubber immediately, lest the tyres would burst the next time I went on the highway.

After some research and asking the experts, I zeroed in on MRF Perfinzas. The tyre size is 195/65 R15 and I was lucky to get totally fresh new tyres for the car.

Once the tyres were changed, it made a world of difference to the car. The improvement felt is phenomenal. Seriously, tyre changing is something that I’d call underrated. Several people I know avoid changing tyres and then complain that the car doesn’t feel right. From here on I suppose the mileage too will improve.

The work was done at Century Tyres Prabhadevi, which is my go-to place for anything related to tyres and alignment.

Here is another thing I’d like to speak about. Firstly, I would like to thank BHPian vigsom who is a literal human encyclopedia of cars and especially of those that he has owned. Most of you would know that he owned two Corollas.

Some time ago when we were speaking, he informed me about a cheap thing that Toyota did back in the day on pre-2005 September Corollas. They did not provide a cabin filter and merely gave a stupid mesh there which was of no use. This was the reason behind cars facing AC problems and also why they began to give it on the facelift cars. Thanks to my then-low usage and maintenance, the AC is in good nick. However, I took this suggestion and put one in for the car ASAP.

The filter I got isn’t OEM, but it should do the job.

To leave you with yet another THEN VS NOW pic:

2006

2022

That’s it from me for now, until the next update!

See you soon

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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