Compact car; Built in Japan, Canada, USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,600*


1990 Toyota Corolla LE 4-door sedan


1990 Toyota Corolla GTS 2-door coupe


1990 Toyota Corolla 4-door sedan


1992 Toyota Corolla 4-door sedan


1990 Toyota Corolla interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (GT-S)
  • All-wheel drive (All-Trac)
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride (except GT-S)
Cons:
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room

This version of the well-built subcompact offers a more refined feel, smoother ride, and stronger performance than its 1980s predecessor, plus frugal gas mileage. We’ve ranked it among the subcompact leaders.

Overview

Redesigned for 1988, the Corolla line included Deluxe, LE, and All-Trac 4-door sedans, SR5 and GT-S notchback coupes, and Deluxe and All-Trac wagons. A fuel-injected dual-cam, 16-valve, 1.6-liter engine powered the Corolla GT-S. Others used a 102-horsepower version. A 5-speed manual gearbox was standard, with 3- or 4-speed automatic available. Corollas now came with front shoulder belts that could be left buckled for automatic deployment, and also with under-dashboard knee bolsters.

Yearly Updates

1991 Corolla
Except for the deletion of 4-wheel-drive 4-door sedans and the All-Trac SR5 wagon, Corollas continued with little change into 1991. The only All-Trac models were wagons, in Deluxe trim. LE sedans and the All-Trac could have a 4-speed automatic transmission; others had a 3-speed automatic as the optional choice.
1992 Corolla
Only sedans and wagons went on sale this year, awaiting a redesign for ’93. The 130-horsepower engine was gone.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

A 130-horsepower version of the Corolla’s 1.6-liter 4 cylinder engine went into the performance-oriented GT-S coupe (1990 91). All other Corollas used a 102-horsepower rendition. The GT-S came only with 5-speed manual shift, but others could have a 3-speed or 4-speed automatic transmission instead.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 102
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 101
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
28/33
26/29
26/33

29.2

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 130
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 105
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

25/31

Road Test

Acceleration is far livelier in a GT-S than in any other Corolla. But that model came only with manual shift. Neither engine is quiet, but the GT-S is especially loud. If you like high-revving engines, however, you’ll love the 4-cylinder in any Corolla. It’s also smooth, responsive, and offers good acceleration and passing power with manual shift. With automatic, a Corolla moves off from a standing start readily enough, but the unit quickly shifts into higher gears. After pausing a moment or two, the transmission then downshifts abruptly.

With its firmer suspension, a GT-S corners tenaciously, but suffers sharply in ride comfort. All Corollas handle nicely and hold the road well, but only the GT-S model offers anything resembling sports-car moves. The easier-going suspension in a sedan or wagon soaks up rough roads with impressive resiliency, but the soft suspension permits ample body lean in corners.

Sedans and wagons have roomier interiors than many rivals. Even so, adults sitting on the upright rear bench will need to have the front seats moved well-forward to achieve sufficient leg room. Front bucket seats don’t offer much rearward travel, so taller drivers might feel cramped. Head room is good all around; rear leg space even worse in coupes. The interior is well-designed, and all controls are easily within the driver’s reach.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1990 Toyota Corolla LE sedan automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 39

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 172.2 65.6 49.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.7 13.2 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.9 35.5 42.9 25.8
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 170.3 65.2 52.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.7 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 36.4 40.9 31.6
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 171.5 65.2 54.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
64.5 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 39.3 40.9 31.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1991 Corolla 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 2
40%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 96
Injury 128
Theft 42

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Poor first-to-second shift quality can be corrected with a redesigned clutch disc. (1990-92)
Audio system
Description: The wires for the front speakers get pinched by the glovebox and the speakers quit. (1990-92) The cassette player may quit working in the fast forward, reverse, or play positions. (1992)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The vinyl headliner separates from the foam backing. (1992)
Windshield washer
Description: The windshield-washer bottle tends to crack or break. (1990-92)

Recall History

1992
Description: Due to a computer error, certain digits of the gross vehicle weight ratio and the gross average weight ratio appeared incorrect on certification labels.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.