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  1. #1
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    2012 Toyota Corolla and general used car advice wanted

    I'm afraid the time has come to get another car. I know pretty much nothing aside from how that look about brands/models/years so could benefit from any tips or advice.

    Just started looking but a 2012 Corolla caught my eye as being about what I'm looking for and it looks like a decent deal. Anyone with experience or knowledge about this?
    I read a few magazine reviews on-line and they were low but the reason was they said it's boring and featureless and that is actually what I like so I didn't take it as negative. They also said dependable which is a big plus to me.

    Here's a bit about what I want below. If anyone has other suggestions on models/years to look for on the market I'd appreciate it.

    -Not necessarily looking for the cheapest purchase price but am looking for the cheapest cost to own over the years. So no sports cars due to higher insurance and needs to be known to be dependable. About $10K is my max purchase price though.

    -Don't really care about speed, handling or any performance type aspect. Utility of getting from A to B is all I care about.

    -Good gas mileage would be nice but not a big deal because I don't drive a lot.

    -I live in a city so would like kind of small to fit into parking spaces.....but needs to be 4 door or possibly hatch back so I can fit a bike in it (I've verified it's fits in the Corolla so that size car). I was thinking regular 'car' but I suppose a small SUV would work too.

    Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you

  2. #2
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    Toyotas are universally known to be solid, reliable and boring. If you want a no thrills car that will keep on keeping on then you could do a lot worse than a Corolla. If you don't want to go down the Prius hybrid road then they are also a good economical choice. Given your parameters I'd say you have found your match. Check out the Honda Civics as well, they are pretty much the same but maybe even more nondescript in styling. I live in Japan so no nothing about Ford GM or Korean models.

  3. #3
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    Thank you. I had assumed Prius would be out of my price range but a quick google shows I was wrong. I'd need to verify I could fit a bike in but otherwise I'm cool with one of those.

    One concern though. Is the tech and design or those such that in the event I did have a problem I would have to find a Toyota dealer? Or is it main stream enough to most auto repair place would be able to get parts and fix?

  4. #4
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    Again the Prius as a Toyota is very solid and reliable. Chances are you won't need need much more than fluid and pad changes. Bike will fit with rear seats down. Maintenance, you can use a regular car shop rather than a dealer and save a few bills. With snow tires and sticking to swept streets they do okay in the snow as well but a set of chains in the trunk is a good idea. 4WD Prius released in 2015 and a lot more cost.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2012 Toyota Corolla and general used car advice wanted-k1dsh0.jpg  
    Last edited by kiwisimon; 04-08-2018 at 05:12 AM.

  5. #5
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    We own a 2011 Toyota Corolla. Most highly recommend based upon what you are looking for. Very cheap to own. Besides oil changes and tires.....very little spent on ours. Yea, they are boring but we have taken it all over the US and never stranded us on the road. Good music will make up for average performance and smile when you go pass the gas stations. MPG is great....think around 37hw? Does good in snow....We have 158k on ours and going strong.
    So I tuned the Larrivee, drop D, then DADGAD.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    Again the Prius as a Toyota is very solid and reliable. Chances are you won't need need much more than fluid and pad changes. Bike will fit with rear seats down.
    Depends on mileage, doesn't it? Most services are cheap, but some cost (120k service for prius seems to be one example). And if the batteries go bad, that's thousands of dollars. And batteries don't last forever.

    My car has a major service at 105k miles. There's another big one at 120k. Buy my car at 100k miles and you are in for a very big shock at the first service you have, and an average year of driving later. Buy it at 70k and you will have a long time of low cost service before the big hit. Buy it at 130k and you have a super long time of low cost service, assuming proper service was done.

    Check the service schedule and service history of any used car. Obviously.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks again, guys. This is sounding promising. I hadn't thought about snow but I live in New England so I'm glad you mentioned that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    And if the batteries go bad, that's thousands of dollars. And batteries don't last forever.

    .
    Check the warranty on hybrid batteries as per your state. NY and CA as example, require a 150,000 mile warranty on the main battery.

    Otherwise, it's hard to beat a Corolla as good all-around basic transportation. The Prius is usually priced much higher as they know you save a ton on gas long term. I really wanted a Prius V but found the higher price as well as the resulting loan expense, ate anything I might have saved on gas. If gas were $3.5 - $4.00 a gallon, then maybe.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Check the warranty on hybrid batteries as per your state. NY and CA as example, require a 150,000 mile warranty on the main battery.
    Thanks for the comment, Now that I've thought about it a little though I think Prius and the like is off the table regardless.

    I definitely like the idea but as someone who only drives about 6k miles a year I don't think I really stand to benefit much financially and the tree-hugger in me can live with regular full time gas for so little driving. So I think I'll follow my tech fearing luddite instincts.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Otherwise, it's hard to beat a Corolla as good all-around basic transportation. The Prius is usually priced much higher as they know you save a ton on gas long term. I really wanted a Prius V but found the higher price as well as the resulting loan expense, ate anything I might have saved on gas. If gas were $3.5 - $4.00 a gallon, then maybe.
    Thanks again. I didn't see that second paragraph when first responding. I'll guess I drive less miles than you so that regarding the Prius would apply even more so. Prius or similar definitely off the table.

  11. #11
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    If you want the versatility of a hatchback/wagon but don't need a Prius, you can always look into the Toyota Matrix which is essentially a Corolla "wagon". It also has AWD as an option if its something you're also interested in.

    If you're looking for a newer vehicle, the Matrix was discontinued in 2013 in the US. It was replaced by the Scion iM/Toyota Corolla iM but that didn't become available until 2016.

    Other brands that are also pretty competitive in reliability would be: Mazda3 (sedan/hatch), Kia Forte/Forte5 (sedan/hatch), Honda Civic (sedan), Honda Fit (hatchback but slightly smaller, think Yaris sized) and maybe the Chevy Cruze (sedan/hatch).

    I won't recommend the Sentra as their CVT gearboxes can be hit or miss with reliability and the Ford Focus DirectShift automatics are also rather failure prone. If you want a manual, then these should be fine as well
    Last edited by jason124; 04-08-2018 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Moar Cars

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason124 View Post

    Other brands that are also pretty competitive in reliability would be: Mazda3 (sedan/hatch), Kia Forte/Forte5 (sedan/hatch), Honda Civic (sedan), Honda Fit (hatchback but slightly smaller, think Yaris sized) and maybe the Chevy Cruze (sedan/hatch).

    I won't recommend the Sentra as their CVT gearboxes can be hit or miss with reliability and the Ford Focus DirectShift automatics are also rather failure prone. If you want a manual, then these should be fine as well
    Cool. Thank you. I had Civic on the radar but I'm clueless about the seemingly hundreds of other cars that by appearance look like they'd work so that helps narrow things down.

  13. #13
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    So I ended up buying it.

    Time will tell about longevity and dependability but I'm thrilled with it for now.
    For such a small car (good for city Parking) it has a ton of trunk and back seat space (good for my cycling trips where I want to put a bike and extra wheels IN the car).

    Granted this part is likely in large part because my standard of compare is so low but it seems to drive really well. It accelerates much quicker than I anticipated and handles great.

    I'm thrilled with it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Thank you. I had assumed Prius would be out of my price range but a quick google shows I was wrong. I'd need to verify I could fit a bike in but otherwise I'm cool with one of those.

    One concern though. Is the tech and design or those such that in the event I did have a problem I would have to find a Toyota dealer? Or is it main stream enough to most auto repair place would be able to get parts and fix?
    Beware of cheap hybrids! Chances are, the $6,000 battery pack is nearing replacement time! Also, hybrids only save gas in urban/suburban driving. If you drive mostly highway miles, or drive your car hard, a hybrid is a liability.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Beware of cheap hybrids! Chances are, the $6,000 battery pack is nearing replacement time! Also, hybrids only save gas in urban/suburban driving. If you drive mostly highway miles, or drive your car hard, a hybrid is a liability.
    How do you figure that ?. A standard Prius gets 50 mpg at 60 mph, a Corolla might get 36.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Beware of cheap hybrids! Chances are, the $6,000 battery pack is nearing replacement time! Also, hybrids only save gas in urban/suburban driving. If you drive mostly highway miles, or drive your car hard, a hybrid is a liability.
    I bought the gas only Corolla.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    I bought the gas only Corolla.
    You did good.

    My Tundra @136,000 has needed brakes once, 02 Sensors @100k, a major tuneup @130,000 (including a MAF and fuel filter)--and tires. Doesn't get much better than that.

    Toyos are not exciting but they are reliable.
    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by paredown View Post
    You did good.

    My Tundra @136,000 has needed brakes once, 02 Sensors @100k, a major tuneup @130,000 (including a MAF and fuel filter)--and tires. Doesn't get much better than that.

    Toyos are not exciting but they are reliable.
    Thanks.

    This is my first ever car that's not a "how to heck did that pass inspection" level car. So while I know it's not an exciting car relatively speaking it is to me due to what I'm used to.
    The size, features, lack of features I wouldn't want/like and knock on wood it's reputation for reliability....seems perfect for me.

  19. #19
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    I've rented Corollas of recent vintage a couple of times, like say when traveling.

    They are as advertised, boring, well-built cars with a good reliability track record. And a bit bigger inside than expected, too.

    Congrats on getting one, it sounds like exactly what you were looking for.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    I've rented Corollas of recent vintage a couple of times, like say when traveling.

    They are as advertised, boring, well-built cars with a good reliability track record. And a bit bigger inside than expected, too.

    Congrats on getting one, it sounds like exactly what you were looking for.

    .
    Thank you.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason124 View Post
    I won't recommend the Sentra as their CVT gearboxes can be hit or miss with reliability and the Ford Focus DirectShift automatics are also rather failure prone.
    Forget Nissan entirely as they are garbage reliability. OP. . Stick to Toyota or Honda.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notvintage View Post
    OP. . Stick to Toyota or Honda.
    He did.

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