What should I look out for when buying a used Toyota Corolla?


Posted by: Oluwatobi Ogunrinde

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Considering buying a used Toyota Corolla, these few tips will help you know what to look out for when buying a used Toyota Corolla.

Since 1968, several models of the Toyota Corolla has roamed the streets of different countries and up till this moment, the old versions of the Corolla are still running in some countries. Highly regarded for its reliability, safety, and reasonable pricing, the absolute bulletproof nature of Toyota's compact car is a huge draw.

If you didn’t know earlier, Corollas don't just die, you have to kill them, and this makes a well-maintained used Toyota Corolla an excellent choice for you.


A well-maintained used Toyota Corolla an excellent choice for you

3 Reasons why a Corolla should be your choice.

1. Absolute reliability

One of the most reliable cars in history – Although there are a few issues with the Corolla, most are covered under warranty or were corrected by Toyota in subsequent model years. Notwithstanding, all Corolla models are built on reliability.

2. Top fuel economy

It doesn’t stop running – The official ratings of the Toyota Corolla Fuel Consumption is something around 27 MPG city and 35 MPG highway, which might not sound very impressive, but owners still claim to beat the advertised figures. You can use it for years and may not need to discard it, except you want to.

>>> Top 8 most fuel-efficient cars in Nigeria

3. Great value for money

Value – Might not cost so much, but it’s worth the price and has all the features you want in a dependable car.

Ready to buy? Here are tips to buy a good used Toyota Corolla in Nigeria

The Corolla has been on the market for over 50 years, so there are countless used Corollas waited to have new owners. However, the process may seem overwhelming, but deciding which traits you value most in a Corolla can help you find the best one. Also, you need to be careful, just so you don’t pick a knocked out Corolla.

Consider these tips when deciding which used Toyota Corolla for sale to purchase.

9th-generation Toyota Corolla

This old Toyota is still loved and driven by a lot of Nigerians

1. Go for Toyota Corolla 2003-2008 for the best fuel economy

Small cars are known for offering great mileage - with used Toyota Corollas, fuel economy can vary to an extent, depending on which Corolla generation you choose.

The 9th generation ran from 2003 to 2008 - fuel economy for a 2008 model from this generation tops out at 28/37 mpg city/highway. The 10th-generation lasted from 2009 to 2013 – gas mileage apex for the 10th-generation 2013 Corolla is 27/33 mpg.

On a higher level, the 2014 Corolla achieves gas mileage of up to 30/40 mpg. The best car mileage has to be the 12th-generation Corolla, but if you want to save money on an older model, you’ll enjoy comparable fuel economy with a 9th-generation Corolla.

>>> Toyota Corolla 9th generation review: 2003200420052006

2. Consider styling

With 12 generations of classy designs and over 40 million Corollas cruising the streets, you sure have a lot of deciding to do. Ultimately, the higher the model, the more classy the Corolla is, although old, the 2014 Corolla is still nothing short of classy.

3. How much can you afford?

Corollas aren’t the most expensive, but they don’t cost peanuts either, this means your budget would go a long way. If you want the most modern technology,  an older Corolla like the 2007 model won’t be a good choice, but it has an excellent reputation for reliability and it’s cheaper as well.

>>> Consult the full list of Toyota Corolla (al model years)

4. Consider rear-seat legroom

Legroom might not be a priority for you but if the car would serve the purpose of a modern taxi, or you’ll just have more people use the rear seats on a fairly consistent basis, it’s a good idea to consider how much room is available for those at the back.

With this in mind, an 11th-generation Corolla is the best choice. This model is longer and wider than the previous generation, and the size upgrade boosts rear-seat legroom by almost five inches. The 12th-generation will be just perfect too.


Unlike the 9th generation Corollas, these 2013 Corolla's look more classy.

5. Find a reliable dealer

Buying from a reliable and accredited dealer will make your purchase easy, it is the best way to ensure that the car has been well-cared for and maintained properly by the previous owner.

If possible, try to find a Toyota-certified vehicle, they’re generally more reliable than dealer-certified vehicles, and they often come with some of the benefits of new cars, like a warranty, roadside assistance, and loaner cars.

>>> Toyota dealerships in Nigeria

>>> Ultimate List of Car Dealers in Lagos with Brief Reviews (2019)


6. A test drive is crucial

There’s nothing as good as seeing for yourself. Take a test drive, check the car for acceleration and braking, test the radio, try all the controls, and listen for any unusual noises that could indicate an issue.

7. A late model used Corolla might be perfect

Look for a late model used Corolla such as 2018 or 2020 model year that still has at least a portion of their original manufacturer’s warranty remaining. The typical Toyota warranty spans for three years/36,000 miles of basic coverage and six years/60,000 miles of powertrain coverage.

8. Request for an inspection report

As soon as you’re satisfied with what you see, request for the Corolla’s inspection report from the seller. Note that the condition and reliability of every used car will depend on the vehicle’s history, so check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and make sure it matches the one on the inspection report. If the seller doesn’t have one, go through the trouble and get one yourself.

9. Looking for driver-assistive features?

You will have to go for 2017 Corolla models and above. 2017 witnessed Toyota adding adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning systems, automatic high beams, forward collision mitigation, and lane-departure alert with steering assist as standard equipment.

Eventually, if you don’t find a Corolla you want, you'd have to look long and hard to find a more reliable and fuel-efficient used car. As mentioned earlier, don’t be deluded by the outstanding reputation, subject any Corolla you choose to a rigorous inspection by a trusted professional mechanic, one thoroughly knowledgeable about these cars, particularly the Toyota brand.

Good luck!

>>> More practical tips to buy cars in Nigeria by Naijauto!

Oluwatobi Ogunrinde
Oluwatobi Ogunrinde

Oluwatobi Ogunrinde

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A passionate writer looking to educate people with every piece of her work. Oluwatobi enjoys writing about exotic cars, productive tech traits, workplace culture, and basic data science values. She holds a Master's degree in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies from University of Lagos. When she's not expressing herself through a new article, she's reading about international politics.

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