The final generation Corolla was introduced in 2002 and pensioned-off in 2007. There is a choice of eight engines - specifically four petrol and four diesel units. The best compromise between performance and economy is the 2.0-litre D-4D. This diesel engine produces 114bhp, reaches 60mph in 10.3 seconds, and returns a combined average of 49mpg.
The Corolla also has secure and predicable handling and is far more composed than its uninspiring predecessor. This is due to versatile suspension which is firm enough to control body roll, yet supple enough to provide a smooth ride over a rough bowling green car park. These characteristics are complemented by accurate power steering and a slick responsive gear-change.
Purchasing a used Toyota Corolla may be perceived as a dreary choice - but this final generation model is a noteworthy package robust enough to outlast many of its more fashionable rivals. A 2006 2.0-litre D-4D costs in the region of £8,000.