What do you think of the new Corolla? I'm unimpressed

The days of buying a box with 4 wheels, a steering wheel and an engine for $3995 are long since over.

Between the car companies and the government, they want you and your passengers to survive a car accident should you get into one, for two reasons:

Dead people don’t pay taxes anymore.
No one wants to buy a car from a company where their family/friend/neighbor was killed in, if they would have survived it in a different vehicle.


@Triedaq You’re right. After a 3000 mile holiday trip in the 70s without air, I decided that our next car would have it. Now, if I had to choose between wheels and A/C, I’d pick A/C.!

At the same time, some things like the automatic head light dimmer never caught on.

It is interesting how many people's tastes change in automobiles over time.

When looking for my last car, I was all over the place for what I wanted. Since I had the Chevelle at the time, I was looking for a daily driver. At first I wanted another little car(another Civic or Accord, Camry), then I sold the Chevelle, and I wanted a sporty/sports car to replace it(Miata, Corvette). Then, my leg started bothering me from climbing out of the Civic, so I wanted something with more ground clearance. Full sized trucks were too big for my tastes, so I got to looking around and someone kept pushing me to try a Cx-7; Love at first drive
The look on the salesman’s face when I told him MPG didn’t matter to me, as I drive so few miles a year it didn’t matter(I have 12,200 miles on the car and it’s 3 years old already)

Really, can we live without climate control, power lumbar support, power everything, Bluetooth, mpeg hook up etc. I know I can’t survive without any of this stuff and will not buy another car without them…I am typical !

A Volkswagen 181 would be all that I need most of the time if it could be bought for less than $10,000 and was reliable and parts were cheap and available. But I am in a minute market segment that no one seems much concerned with so when I run across a well maintained basic older vehicle I consider the price and expected useable life and make an offer. All in all I usually break even. It costs me $15 each month for my “classics” to sit and 20c a mile to drive them.

@RodKnox … There’s a neighbor w/a VW 181 I notice driving around my neighborhood from time to time, appears to be still going strong. It’s definitely an interesting look.

The VW 181 seems to have been the last effort to build and market a starkly practical automobile. It’s market was obviously limited. My only complaint with them was the location of the master cylinder.

VW still builds “starkly practical” cars in Eastern Europe. A friend in England owns one made in the Chech Republic. It is thoroughly bare bones and would not sell in the US. It’s built in the old Skoda plant and is still called as Skoda Fabia. Prices start at 10,000 Euros with a 1.2 liter engine.

“Starkly practical” for me is considerably more stark than the Skoda, @Docnick. Stark might begin here

and end here

I guess the 181 would be mid way.

@RodKnox Thanks for that lovable list of losers! I would have to put the Trabant down as the ultimate crappy stark excuse for a car. The Citroen 2CV was actually fun to drive; I borrowed one from a couple of US teachers on holidays in Europe. The seats came out an could be used for pick nicking.

Volkswagen still sells the tiny Polo in Europe, but although a basic car it is technically sophisticated in order to meet the fuel mileage, emission and safety standards.

Small, simple and basic doesn’t have to be crappy, think Leica M3.

How about a 16mm Minolta?

When I buy a car, whether it has a manual transmission or an automatic, the more gears it has, the better. It’s one way car makers are getting better fuel economy. Shifting isn’t so difficult that I would turn down a car because of an extra gear. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if my current car had a sixth gear. I shift into fifth gear somewhere around 55-60 MPH. It would be nice to have a higher gear for 70 MPH and above.

True econoboxes are getting harder to find, but if you look, you can probably find one. The Corolla has graduated to something else, as has the Civic.

As for air conditioning, I don’t know anyone who sells a new car without it. Sometimes it comes from the factory that way, and sometimes the dealership adds it before the car makes its way to the lot.

I’ve been driving without air conditioning for a while now (in FLORIDA! - it’s getting old). I can usually manage to keep the windows from fogging up in the rain by keeping the windows cracked and the fan on its highest setting, but that only works while the car is moving. After sitting in traffic for a couple minutes, the only thing you can do about fogged windows is have a dry towel ready. Very few people want cars without air conditioning. If I had my druthers, my car would have air conditioning. In fact, most people who have to buy a new compressor every few years consider the cost worth it.

Regarding the under water/power window issue, I think the idea is that if you don’t have power windows, you might be able to roll the windows down after the car hits the water, but before the car is fully submerged. Once the car is submerged, it doesn’t matter if you have hand crank windows or power windows. Your best chance for survival is to break a window.

When engine power is barely adequate and in a narrow rpm range a great many gear ranges are helpful but most cars these days would seem capable of operating quite well with 4 speed transmissions.

My mom used to own a 1990 Mazda Protoge with nothing on it, a few summers without A/C, Cruise and all the airbags and she now owns a basic Prius which has more creature comforts as well as great MPG, Honda and Toyota have gone away from the truly stripped down Civic/Corolla because the demand wasn’t enough. The DX trim is gone from the Civic (our dealer would normally only order them for a customer, they sold LX’s more often)

I don’t think they sold more than a handful of current Corollas without AC and power windows. That must have been some stripper special so they could claim a low starting price, but they never sold any. Now they’re just being realistic and eliminating a fictional trim level. Eight air bags is about normal. They are apparently quite cheap now. And six speeds are pretty much standard. They give slightly better gas mileage, so why not? I don’t know about the size increase, but if they did it without decreasing the gas mileage (and I bet they did), why not? The old one’s back seat was OK, but not great.

I remember I was helping a friend buy her first car. We looked at a stripped down Honda Civic (circa '98) with no AC and Power steering. The windows were manual too. I tried to explain that the backbones of a car is more important than the added equipment. She eventually bought a brand new Dodge Neon. Not sure what the long-term outcome was.
It has been only a few years that my cars have power everything and working AC, but the other day I noticed that the older car’s AC is not working as good as before and felt it is time to either fix or move on.

@galant, I’m not sure if you’re saying the Civic had power steering or it didn’t. My 1998 Civic is the most stripped down version available, and it came with power steering. I don’t think you can get a new car that doesn’t have power steering unless it’s a completely stripped commercial pickup truck.

Our last car without power steering was a 1977 Dodge Colt (Mitsubishi Lancer re-badged). and it did not really need it. I can’t think of any econo-box now that comes without power steering.

I think power steering is optional on the smrt car. And maybe one of the Lotus models as well.