The Long Lasting Corolla

When I was working at San Francisco Honda, one of the best selling compact sedan is the Honda Civic due to its outstanding engineering quality and resell value. Within the automobile market, the biggest competitor to the Honda Civic is the Toyota Corolla and these two models had been fighting for the market share for decades. Since I was the sales/lease consultant at San Francisco Honda back then, I was required to study the specs, advantage, and disadvantage of the Corolla. To be honest, the Corolla is a very good car for small family and single working class, and it certainly deserves our attention.

The Corolla is not a stranger to most driver because they are basically everywhere around our neighborhood. It is the best selling compact sedan for Toyota company as well as the whole U.S.. According to an article in the Toyota USA Newsroom, there were more than 240,000 Corolla being sold in the U.S. in 2011, more than 36,000 in both Canada and Australia.

The 2012 Corolla model is the 10th generation of the product line, and it had been evolved in every category from performance to style. It is now available in trim levels: L, LE, and the Sport. The newer Corolla model is a compact sedan that comes with a very sophisticated car body style, which is comparable with some of the luxury sedans like the Lexus IS series; the Sport trim level adds a rear wind spoiler and chrome-finished muffler, which makes the appearance even more appealing.

The 2012 Corolla is available in both 5-speed manual and 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission that equipped with a 1.8-Liter 4-Cyclinder 16-Valve engine, which generates up to 132 horse-power. The estimated fuel mileage for this car is about 26 mpg when driving in city local and up to 34 mpg in highway. The spec of the Corolla may not help you win a trophy in a race, but it is a very economic vehicle for daily commuting. As a matter of fact, I am a owner of a 2001 Corolla and I can travel up to 450 miles in highway for each full tank of gasoline, which is just a little bit behinds compares to hybrid vehicles.

Even though it is a small compact vehicle, Toyota doesn’t slack on keeping the passenger safe in the Corolla; Each 2012 Corolla trim level is equipped with the standard safety system and full-side airbags. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2012 Corolla received the Top Safety Pick award and the comment: “good performance in front, side, rollover, and rear tests and standard electronic stability control.”, so passengers have a higher chance of surviving serious accident. (Note: Please practice cautious driving behavior to avoid car accident.)

The Entune multimedia system is an outstanding device available for the new Corolla. It is a touch-screen console that integrates GPS, audio player, Bluetooth wireless, and various apps. With the Entune system, drivers can do much more than just look for a traveling route; with the proper apps installed, they can enable the driver to access many  information like the fuel price, sports, stocks, and movie ticket price. So if the budget allows, I highly recommend this genuine Entune multimedia system because it adds a high-tech touch to the already sophisticated 2012 Corolla.

The Toyota Corolla is known for its long lasting engine life. With regular periodic maintenance, the Corolla, as well as other Toyota models, can runs for a very long time. According the Polk U.S. Vehicles in Operation registration statistics, over 80% of the Corolla sold in the last 20 years are still running today.

Some people may recognize the Corolla as this

The MSRP for the 2012 Corolla starts from $16,130 plus tax and fees, and the estimated total cost of ownership in a five-year period is about $35,000 if the car is driving for 15,000 miles per year, which is relatively less expensive than competitors.

My family had been driving the Corolla for the last 12 years and we are not planning on getting rid of it any time soon. As a matter of fact, we are planning to keep driving it for at least another 12 years. So if a car shopper is looking for a economic commuting car and planning on keeping it for a long time, the Corolla is usually the first choice that pops up in mind.


Volkswagen GTI

While a compact hybrid vehicle is excellent in term of gasoline efficiency, its relatively low horse power and slow acceleration may not satisfy drivers who are performance oriented. There are many exotic sport vehicles available in the market such as the BMW M series, the Chevrolet Corvette, and the Porsche 911 Turbo that can easily satisfy the needs for speed; however, they are very costly to buy and to maintain. If you looking for a car with good performance and don’t want to spend more than $50,000 at the dealership, I have a suggestion: the Volkswagen GTI.

The Volkswagen GTI is the high performance version of the Volkswagen Golf hatchback, so the vehicle’s body and interior layout are almost identical. The GTI available in two-door and four-door for both Base and Autobahn trim levels. The 2012  GTI Base model is equipped with many convenient features, which some of them are listed as below:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • a rear roof spoiler and sport suspension
  • standard fog light
  • heated front sport seats and heated outside mirror
  • cruise control and a trip computer
  • air-conditioning
  • an eight-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and USB connection for device such as the iPod.

Some of those features are usually not available in the comparably competitor model with the similar MSRP.

The 2012 Volkswagen GTI is only available in a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive and it is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinders, 16-Valve engine that generates up to 200 hp and 207 pounds of torque. It can accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about 7.3 seconds, which is just about one second difference compares to some of the BMW 5-series models.

Vehicles with high performance usually come with full standard safety equipments and the 2012 GTI is of no exception. The GTI includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat airbags and full side curtain airbags. While the equipments help minimize the chance of injury during an accident, helping the driver to avoid accident is just as important. According the, a vehicle review website, the 2012 GTI can braking from 60 to zero mph in 129 feet to avoid front-rear collision.

The Volkswagen GTI is surprising roomy compares to other sporty hatchback vehicle and getting in and out of the vehicle is relatively painless in both two-door and four-door style. Behind the rear seat, the cargo space is about 12.4 cubic feet and up to 46 cubic feet with the rear seat fold down. The same stat also applies to the Volkswagen Golf and Rabbit models, so car shoppers who do not want to drive a manual transmission vehicle have the options for the alternatives.

Even though the Volkswagen GTI is considered a high performance vehicle, it doesn’t suck up gasoline like the other exotic sport cars. The gasoline efficiency of the GTI is about 21 mpg for city local and up to 31 mpg for highway. A partial-zero-emission-vehicle (PZEV) model is available GTI, which makes it relatively more environmental friendly.

The MSRP for the 2012 Volkswagen GTI base model is $24,595 plus tax and fees. When breaking down the cost of fuel, insurance, maintenance, financing, and depreciation, the estimated cost of ownership over a 5-year period is about $35,545 plus the price of the vehicle.

Overall, the Volkswagen GTI may not be the fastest among competitors when compares with number and stats; however, the GTI gets very good rating for comfort and solid ride quality. At highway speed, the cabin can be as quite as some of the other luxury vehicle, so drivers will not suffer from the rumbling and they can enjoy the music and radio while driving. So if you want to satisfy your needs for speed without the rough ride, Volkswagen GTI will be the best answer.

Look Inside the Insight


            The demands in the automobile market are constantly changing due to economic and environmental concerns. One of the most significant changes my sales team observed was the rise of the demand for hybrid vehicles. Over the last decade, the U.S. experienced a soaring rise in the price of gasoline which put a heavy burden on many drivers. Besides the gasoline price, there are also concerns about global warming and harmful chemical emissions from cars. In order to tackle these two economic and environmental crisises, the technology behind hybrid vehicle is constantly improving and evolving. In the current market, most of the hybrid vehicles available have great gas mileage averaging about 40 miles per gallon of gasoline(MPG) as well as idle stop technology, which allows drivers to enjoy utilities without running the engine and thus reduces harmful chemical emission.  

            The Honda Insight is one of the best choices in the hybrid vehicle market. The Insight was the first hybrid vehicle introduced to the U.S. automobile market back in 1999 and it had been improved significantly during the last 13 years. The Insight is also rated as the most affordable hybrid vehicle because it is less expensive than any other competitors of comparably trim level within the market.

            The original 2000 Insight model is a small two-seated three-door hatchback vehicle that offers exceptional gas mileage averaging more than 50 MPG. This model was rated the most gas efficient Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified gasoline-fueled vehicle ever. Honda introduced the second generation of the Insight in 2009 with significant changes over its predecessor. The new Insight is bigger than the original, which now sits five people instead of two and it is equipped with a 15.9 cubic feet cargo space; 31.5 cubic feet with the back seat rolled down for bigger luggage. Since the size of the vehicle has increased, the vehicle is now equipped with the bigger Hybrid 1.3 liter i-VTEC engine with Integrated Motor Assist(IMA) electric motor, which offers a maximum of 98 horsepower and idle stop feature. One drawback of the new Insight is the gas mileage dropped to averaging 40 MPG, but it is still excellent compared to conventional vehicles.

            Let’s take a look at what is on the dashboard of the new Honda Insight. One of the unique feature in this vehicle is the ECO system, which automatically reduces the usage of unnecessary electronic devices to maximize the battery life. The ECO system display within the speedometer rates the driver’s driving behavior ranging from one to five leafs after each trip, with slower acceleration and less sudden stops usually resulting in a higher ECO score. A stereo system or navigation display maybe installed on the center of the dashboard depending on the trim levels of the vehicle, which are LX, EX, and EX with navigation. Every trim level comes equipped with features such as heater and air-conditioning, auxiliary jack or USB, and radio, which are very useful when driving and keeping passengers entertained.

            When compared to other hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, and the Civic hybrid from the same Honda family, the Insight is the least expensive. Most of the vehicles listed above may cost as much as $30,000 plus tax and fees if fully equipped, while the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a 2012 Insight EX model with automatic transmission and navigation is $23,540 plus tax and fees; the difference is clear. According to various vehicle websites, the residual value percentage of the Honda Insight after 36 months is 52% and 38% after 60 months, which is very important information because it means car owner can expect to sell the Insight later on with at a higher resale price, or lease the brand new Insight model from dealerships with lower monthly rate.

            With the ever increasing price of gasoline, it may be a good time to consider switching to a hybrid vehicle and the Honda Insight, both the new and the used model, are the best choice in terms of value. If anybody is interested in buying a hybrid vehicle, put the Honda Insight on your shopping list and test drive one today.