The Toyota Corolla is a compact car that has been produced by the Japanese multinational car company Toyota since 1966. The chassis designation for each model uses the letter “E” followed by 3 numbers. The 2002 Corolla belongs in the ninth generation of the vehicle which covers the years 2000 to 2007. The 2002 E120 Corolla was awarded the What Car? Magazine’s “Car of the Year ” prize for 2002. This prestigious award has been presented annually since 1978. The Corolla has a well deserved reputation for being a reliable form of transportation. The Corolla had a face-lift in 2001, so there are few changes to speak of for the 2002 model.

The 3 trim levels of the 2002 Toyota Corolla are the base CE trim, a sporty S trim, and the upscale LE trim. The engine checks in as a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder 16-valve, engine with variable valve timing that is paired with a standard 5-speed-manual transmission. There is also an available 3- or 4-speed-automatic transmission. The 3-speed version is optional on the CE trim, while the 4-speed-automatic version is available for the other trims. The base engine can develop 125 hp with torque of 125 ft-lb. The drivetrain is the front wheel drive type. The capacity of the fuel tank is approximately 13.2 gallons, and the estimated EPA fuel economy is 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

The interior of the 2002 Toyota Corolla has nice cloth-upholstered seats with 2 front bucket seats that can seat 5 people in total. Amenities include front door pockets, cup holders for the front and the rear, ashtray, glove box, a remote trunk release, dual vanity mirrors, and power steering. There is a 4-way manual seat adjustment for both the passenger and driver’s seats. For entertainment, there is a total of 4 speakers, AM/FM stereo seek-scan radio, and a telescoping antenna. Unfortunately, the standard-equipment list leaves something to be desired. Even the top-of-the-line LE has things like power windows, power locks, and air conditioning as optional features instead of standard. The LE does come with a cassette player, tilt steering wheel, and rear-window defogger. Test drivers have reported that the interior is cramped and not very comfortable especially for taller occupants.

The exterior of the 4-door Corolla has a number of interesting features. Aerodynamic multireflector halogen 4-beam headlights are the first thing you notice. Other standard features include chrome-plated trim, steel body material that is fully galvanized, black door handles, body-colored bumpers on the front and rear, a black grille, and round reverse taillights. The S trim has color-keyed moldings on the side plus rear and grille mudguards. The S trim also has snazzy-looking wheel covers, integrated fog lights, and rocker panel moldings. Other optional features include rear wing spoiler, pinstripes, and paint with gold trim.

Safety is very important to the Toyota Corporation. The 2002 Corolla has many safety features such as crumple zones for the front and rear and side-impact door beams. Other standard features include child safety locks, front head restraints that are adjustable, head restraints in the rear, all seating positions have 3-point seatbelts, daytime running lights, front-impact airbags, and child safety locks. Optional features include a security system, power door locks, panic alarm, immobilizer, and remote keyless entry.

Test drivers have a few pros and cons on the 2002 Corolla. The pros say that the Corolla offers a smooth ride with a spunky motor. They also liked the tight build quality and optional side airbags. Cons include a cramped interior, non-descript styling, and a mushy suspension. Overall the vehicle is considered somewhat bland but very reliable.