Normally, I would just say that the Toyota Corolla E140 is an Auris with a boot, and with that I’d head home. And if you’re reading this from North America, then replace the Auris with the Matrix. But things are always more complicated than they seem at first glance. I learned this the hard way when I wanted to check out of the Solihul back in 2007.
Also in 2007, it was a cause for celebration for people who missed the old VW Bora. The Toyota Corolla E140 had just been launched, and they now had a classic saloon again which was reliable, simple, and as well-equipped as Tesco – not high value, but everything you need. For people who want for their woman to be a woman, alcohol to be alcohol, and a car to be a proper car. Four doors and a boot. A car, not a toy.
However, the Toyota Corolla E140 was a more simplified effort than the Bora and was definitely not in the same league as the Jetta. Knowing that people who buy such cars are quite conservative, the engine selection for the Corolla was smaller than that of the Auris, and it had only hard-working engines. Engines that should last 800 years until the owner decides to move on to the next Corolla model. People who are self-employed, bought their cars through leasing, and determined to keep them until they rust away because they paid good money for them. And if they want to sell them, they should at least sell them for the price when they bought it new in 1433.
We’re at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to car enthusiasts. You could argue that people who buy an Avensis or a Camry have at least some aspirations and interest in the automotive field, but the typical Corolla driver? People who don’t know anything about cars and don’t want to know anything about them or about service centers. That’s right, you gain a lot in terms of reliability, but you lose a lot in terms of comfort and features, but that’s probably what you want in a Corolla. Probably you’re reading this article on a Samsung D900. Just kidding, anyone looking for a Toyota Corolla won’t end up on this website.
Toyota Corolla E140 Engines
- 1.33 2NZ-FE off 101 horsepower – I’m more confused about why they put this engine in the Corolla than McMahon was when Trumped shaved his head at WrestleMania 23. Or more confused than Joe Biden in any situation. As far as the engine is concerned, be wary of the water pump and the oil consumption issues.
- 1.4 4ZZ-FE of 97 horsepower – In my opinion, this should have been the only petrol engine available for the European Corolla E140 because it captures the essence of Toyota. An old, simple and reliable engine. Sure it’s not exactly powerful, but for the typical european Corolla owner the power doesn’t matter anyway.
- 1.5 1NZ-FE of 110 horsepower – Mostly reserved for Japan and a few select countries, this was the low specc Corolla and it does suffer on the safety equipment such as ESP and other things that catter to the weaker among us. Real men don’t need power steering or power brakes, ESP is just indulging yourself in non-manly activities.
- 1.5 1NZ-FE Turbo of 150 horsepower – I would’ve said that this Corolla is better known as the Axio GT, but I don’t know if anyone knows about the Axio GT in the first place.
- 1.6 3ZZ-FE and 1ZR-FE of 120 and 124 horsepower – Another run-of-the-mill gasoline engine for a run-of-the-mill car, from a run-of-the-mill automaker. 1.6 4 cylinder naturally aspirated petrol – the potato soup of internal combustion engines for the european hatchback.
- 1.8 1ZZ-FE and 2ZR-FE of 132 and 140 horsepower – The bread and butter of the North American Corolla, and it was also available in LPG flavor in Brazil. And man it was good, as it’s exactly the sort of engine you’d expect from Toyota. Sure it may chugg down on oil like other Toyota engines, but this is really all the engine you’ll ever need and you’ll definatelly not open the bonnet too often. A great engine, for an average car.
- 2.0 3ZR-FE of 145 horsepower – This engine also wasn’t available everywhere as this was the base engine for the Rav4 and the newer cars to come, but you can find it on the Corolla E140 and it’s a pretty standard Toyota engine, except for the intake manifold which gets clogged and needs periodic clean ups.
- 2.4 2AZ-FE of 158 horsepower – The second engine offered to the North American public but it was available for just one year, probably because too few people looked at the Corolla and said “ah yes, this is the car I want to drive about aggresivelly”. Great on reliability though.
- 1.4 D-4D 1ND-TV with 90 horsepower – The ancient 1.4 D-4D that caused a stir on the previous generation of the Toyota Corolla. Or almost caused a stir. Or would have liked to if someone had bought it. In any case, it’s the most reliable diesel on the list and doesn’t have specific issues. We’re not there yet, to the problematic engines.
- 2.0 D-4D 2C-III and 1CD-FTV with 126 horsepower – Nothing and no one is perfect in life, except for Pam Grier and Bob Ross. But this engine is quite good because the Toyota Corolla E140 used the 1CD-FTV engine and didn’t get the infamous 1AD-FTV from the Auris and Avensis. Similarly, it’s free of specific issues.
I’m joking; there’s no hybrid available for this generation of the mighty Corolla.
Toyota Corolla E140 Reliability Issues
- The semi-automatic MMT gearbox and the 6-speed manual gearbox are more sensitive to working than a public servant on weekend so don’t set your expectations too high up.
- The idler pulleys in the aux belt system fail prematurely and leave you without an alternator, power steering, and other similar stuff you probably don’t care about because you have a Corolla, and your car knowledge is as extensive as my knowledge is of women.
- The steering column is a recurrent issue at Toyota, and the Corolla is no exception, so put some money aside.
- Soundproofing is another notorious issue for Toyota, and the noise level in the Corolla explodes once you go above 70 km/h. A rare situation considering that the typical Toyota Corolla E140 driver is at least 800 years old and rarely drives at such high speeds, but it’s good to mention it.
Toyota Corolla E140 Verdict
Just like the Audi A4 B5, the Toyota Corolla E140 attracted alot of completely opposite owners. On one hand, you have the 8000 years olds, who buy it new and keep it for themselves until the end of eternity and then leave it as a family heirloom. On the other hand you have solopreneurs who need to lease a reliable car that will take them from one meeting to the next meeting. And there’s the final category, the people who buy it used in 2023 because they want something reliable or they got it as a hand-me down family heirloom. And reliable it is, but with the used prices I’m not very convinced about the Corolla E140. But if you go by the logic that the low running costs will offset the higher purchase price, then the Corolla is worth it and is one of the last trully indestructible Toyotas.
Which engines do I recommend? It’s largely down to the country you’re in as there’s literally an engine for every country where it was sold. As an all-rounder however I will pick the 1.6 petrol for Europe and the 1.8 petrol for everywhere else. As for the diesels, both are still good so don’t stress yourself too much about it.