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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
To make the longest story ever kinda shorter, but still probably too long:

My Caliber SRT4 got totalled and I had to get a new car, but didn't want a payment and needed something that A) was bulletproof and B) was readily available, i.e. I didn't have to drive a thousand miles to find one in good shape with low mileage.

I wanted a Matrix XRS, because I'm a hatchback kind of guy but I'm not quite dead yet. However, that didn't fulfill requirement B, and the only one I could find was a manual. I was all set to throw it in her, but my wife freaked out and guilt-tripped me because she can't drive a manual, and what if the kids had to go to the ER in the middle of the night and I for some reason wasn't there and she were forced to drive my car. How could I live with that? I suggested to her that it would probably take her half an hour to learn how to drive the car. This was met with the traditional wife eye roll, as if that was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard and I was the stupidest human person to ever walk the earth.

So, I settled on a 2013 "Special Edition" Corolla S in the only color that car came in, which is orange. It's automatic, naturally. It has ~34K miles and the Carfax was cleaner than your grandpappy's church shoes. So here I am. I thought to myself "Hey, it's orange, you don't see too many orange Corollas so I won't at least look like every other mindless clone in a Corolla." Then I went on the typical midnight milk/bread run and saw two others in the grocery store parking lot. They supposedly only made 2200 of them but there are three in my town. Go figure.

At least because it's orange and has a spoiler, body kit and big wheels, she's sort of embarrassed at how comically garish it is and won't ever voluntarily try to drive it, AKA treat it like her own personal trash dumpster. Iif you saw the inside of her RAV4, you would be horrified, it looks like the trash compactor on the Death Star, and I'm pretty sure one of those big worms is probably growing in there somewhere amongst the half empty Starbucks cups, year old french fries and dirty baby diapers, because who has 12 seconds to walk to an actual trash can?

Anyway, here's a pic of my tarted-up Corolla. I did get it for about 2,500 under market price. She'll do for the next couple years, at which point I'll either A.) get myself a BRZ or similar, or B.) Accept the inevitable and submit to the beige Camry.



It's not a bad ride. I can see why they sold flajibbilitybillion of them. Pros: Revs real smooth, has decent power, steers very easily and accurately. Interior is nicely laid out and looks pretty good, at least to me. The steering wheel, turn signal/wiper stalks/cruise control stalks, radio and a/c controls all are nice and solid with the right amount of heft and click. The factory touchscreen stereo/nav system is cool and has pretty good voice recognition software, if I say "Play The Sword, Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzepherians" or "Destination, Big Beaver Lick, Kentucky," it somehow understands through my hicky accent and does what I ask.

Cons: It has little squeaks and rattles, and obvious signs of corner cutting. Nothing major or worth getting too riled up about, but some of these things even my old Nissan Versa would have called kinda shoddy. But that's really about it. It'll probably run for 20 years and still be getting 30 mpg when the body finally disintegrates from rust.
 

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...how could I live with that? I suggested to her that it would probably take her half an hour to learn how to drive the car. This was met with the traditional wife eye roll, as if that was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard and I was the stupidest human person to ever walk the earth.
I think our S/O's were separated at birth. :laugh:
 

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I think our S/O's were separated at birth. :laugh:
After buying the STI I somehow managed to get my wife into an empty parking lot and made her learn the basics. After about 30 minutes she could reliably go from a complete stop up to 2nd gear. I've been bugging her to practice some but she doesn't want to. At least she can drive it if an emergency comes up.
 

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When we moved to Morocco I had been driving stick for 10 years, and my wife, who had been with me since the first car, had never driven one. Then we were given the keys to the hotel and the 6 speed focus, and told she could go explore and shop while I was at work.

She did 5 crunchy laps around the parking lot and was at the mall an hour later.

Buy Manuel, take wife's car, turn off phone,???, profit.
 

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My boyfriend has a 2011 Corolla Sport from the same generation. It's lived a hard a life: The thing has never stepped foot inside a garage, was driven through a few dust storms in the southwest, been in a handful of fender benders, is on its 3rd windshield, and the oil gets changed when he remembers.

The thing has been dead reliable. About the only criticism I can think of is the car is a bit loud on the highway, the brake pedal has long dead spot before much braking happens, and his trunk has some minor corrosion developing underneath the trim above the license plate.

Enjoy the car. For a commuter car, these really suit their purpose well.
 

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Does wanting OP's same car in Manuel mean I should turn in my enthusiast card, because I secretly want a Corolla with 3 pedals. Every time I see one I think I could be driving a reliable car, instead I bought an Mk4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
This isn't saying much but I think I would have rather stuck with the totaled Caliber...

I am sure you are kidding....it wasn't totalled in a way where, you can replace a few body panels and stuff. It was a legit disaster. I spent a week in the hospital with a collapsed lung and a concussion. Lucky he hit the passenger side and not the driver's side or I'd probably be dead. Even luckier I was alone.

I did get $13K for the car from the insurance company. Considering I paid $17K for it, and drove it 4 1/2 years, that's not too bad. Crappy way to go out though.

Does wanting OP's same car in Manuel mean I should turn in my enthusiast card, because I secretly want a Corolla with 3 pedals. Every time I see one I think I could be driving a reliable car, instead I bought an Mk4.
I honestly think a manual version of my Corolla would be pretty fun (relatively speaking, I mean. It's still a Corolla). The Matrix I tested was manual and it was a hoot. Of course it had the bigger 2.4 in it.

From where you sit in the driver's seat, it's easy to forget you're not in a much sportier car. It's really pretty nice inside, if you don't let the creaky plastics bother you too much.



 

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Does wanting OP's same car in Manuel mean I should turn in my enthusiast card, because I secretly want a Corolla with 3 pedals. Every time I see one I think I could be driving a reliable car, instead I bought an Mk4.

LOL. I feel the same way at times....."that guy doesn't have to worry about stupid inconvenient $hit"
 

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Buy Manuel, take wife's car, turn off phone,???, profit.
In a semi-similar situation, I had gone with my dad to look at a Mark 3 Jetta as my first [technically second, the first was totaled after a couple of weeks, NOT MY FAULT! :laugh:] and decided I liked it. Except it was a manual and I had barely the rudimentary basics down since all I did during the test drive was watch him drive it. We met the guy at the mall parking lot and did the deal, then Dad said "enjoy your ride! Remember what I said during the test drive," AND THEN HE LEFT.

IN HIS CAR. WHICH WAS AUTOMATIC.

Several crunchy starts and stalls later, I was brave enough to work up the courage to go on the road. My 8 mile journey from the historic district to the south side of Savannah took two hours. :laugh::laugh::laugh::eek:

And I haven't owned an automatic car since then. That was a drizzly day in 2005. :cool:
 

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I like it, the only thing that bothers me is no stick shift. Otherwise having owned my share of bulletproof Corollas, I know you made a investment that you won't wind up regretting in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I like it, the only thing that bothers me is no stick shift. Otherwise having owned my share of bulletproof Corollas, I know you made a investment that you won't wind up regretting in the long run.
"Bulletproof" and "investment" are the keywords here.

I don't know if I'll keep it long term, but 2 years from now, it'll have maybe 50K miles tops. Currently '11s in similar trim levels with that amount of mileage are still going in the mid-9K to 10K+ range. I paid $10,8 for mine, mostly because my wife is a bulldog and talked the dealership down from 11,8. So if I decide to sell it and buy a nice used mid-life crisis car like a BRZ/Miata/124, I'll be halfway there on the down payment if not more.
 

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Having test driven a Manual Matrix, I think an Auto corolla is a better choice. The manual was absolute sloppy, I felt like I was driving a car from the 80s. slopslopslop, ****ty mushy clutch feel. The matrix only had 40k (miles on it too).

I would have opted for a Manual Civic though (what I ended up doing when I Was in the market).
 
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