The most incredible cars you can buy for the price of a Toyota Corolla
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The Toyota Corolla is a justified, deserving global icon. The world's best selling car tells us a lot of different things about what people want in a car, with reliability and value somewhere at the top of that pile.
So, believe us when we say that this isn't intended as a Corolla 'slam'. Rather, it's a curious question. What are the coolest, fastest, best cars that you can buy for the price of a new Toyota Corolla?
We've compiled a list of 10 of the best cars listed on DRIVEN, in accordance to the current Toyota Corolla's $29,990-$39,990 'haggle free' price. Lets the games begin.
Yes, you can comfortably afford a German sports-car thoroughbred for less than an entry-level Corolla hybrid.
The Porsche 911's 996-generation is excellent value these days. An initial distaste from collectors and Porsche faithful due to its wildly different looks and abandonment of air-cooled power-trains meant a value slump.
They're a model due for an upswing, as collectors come to realise just how much of an impact they made on the 911's story.
This simple Carerra looks to be in excellent shape, sporting Porsche's much loved 3.4-litre flat six, a traditional tasteful colour combo of navy on tan, and 66,000km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
Now for something a little different.
In some ways the Land Rover Defender is almost as iconic as the Porsche 911, having endured one of the longest production tenures of any vehicle.
Even until its final years it retained a lovable rustic appeal with undeniable off-roading abilities ... something that carries on in spirit via the all-new model coming out later this year.
This particular $34,995 Defender pick-up comes with a curious Singaporean Military background and a very, very low mileage of just 8000km. Click here to check it out.
If you're a more conventional pick-up of course, the Toyota Hilux is a sound bet.
Like the Corolla it's a nameplate that's grown to define a segment and lead in sales (with the Ford Ranger recently stealing away the throne). Like the Defender, the Hilux continues to be known for dependability and off-roading capabilities. But unlike traditional examples of the aforementioned British brute it's also refined enough to be friendly on a day-to-day basis.
This particular Hilux is a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel SR5 4WD with a handy level of kit (including an aftermarket front bumper incorporating a bull-bar, winch, and more), and has 181,000km on the clock. It's listed for $28,950. Click here to check it out.
If you're interested in a current hatch with 'green' credentials, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is an excellent choice. But, don't rule out full electrification, either.
The Nissan Leaf is New Zealand's most popular EV, and for good reason. Along with a reputation for usability and availability, they're relatively cheap ways to get into the fully electric world. And while most examples on the roads here are previous-generation models, current-generation Leafs like this one are also creeping into budget.
Meet the cheapest current Leaf listed for sale on DRIVEN. Based in Auckland, it's in excellent condition (sporting a near new 4.5 Japanese auction grade), and has just 27,000km on the odometer. Click here to check it out.
5. 2011 Audi S4
At perhaps the opposite end of EVs like the Leaf is the performance sports sedan market. As people rush to utes and SUVs instead, good deals on humble (but still useful) sports sedans are becoming increasingly common.
Enter bachelor number one of a group of three sports sedans; an Audi S4. The fourth-generation 'B8' platform is a refined, smooth player in the game, bringing with it traditional Audi build quality and, in the case of this S4, the performance of a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 and Quattro all-wheel drive.
This particular S4 is listed for less than a base Corolla GX, at $27,990. It's in Auckland, has had just one owner from new, and has 70,000km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
If you're wanting a louder, more visceral experience than the S4 then the logical step to take is to move into a V8.
Here is one of the segment's more unsung heroes; the 5.0-litre V8 Lexus ISF. It may not be as rapid as any of the German rivals of the time, but that known Lexus reliability means values on these things is holding stable.
You can buy them for just under $30,000 if you shop around and be a bit patient. Right now, the cheapest listed on DRIVEN is this $33,500 off-shore listing with less than 100,000km indicated. Click here to check it out.
If the Audi S4 represents one end of the scale and the Lexus ISF represents a centre-point, then the Maseratti Quattroporte sits somewhere 5 kilometres to the right of centre, all on its own.
It might not be the most orthadox choice, but the 'Four Door' four door brings a lot of Italian flair and attitude to the party. The sound it makes from its 4.2-litre V8 will have you craving every tunnel within a 20km radius from home, and you can't deny that it's much more unique than any other sports sedan for this kind of money.
This Canterbury example isn't exactly stock, with black tinted headlights and taillights (hey, whatever works for you) and a neat black leather on carbon-fibre cabin. Click here to check it out.
Before the Mazda MX-5 came and wiped them all out, small British sports cars were all the rage all over the world. And the MG MGB is perhaps the quintessential example of the breed.
For this kind of money, you can pick up all sorts of interesting classics. Japanese classics are the current rage, but the DRIVEN office has a common soft spot for sharp examples of cars from bygone eras of motoring. Light-footed, rear-driven British canyon carvers included.
This MGB arrives at the party at $29,990. Its 104,000km indicated isn't quite 'low', but considering the amount of work done in a restoration that included its interior, its engine, drivetrain, and more. Click here to check it out.
What would it mean to produce 'the ultimate Toyota Corolla'?
Well, you could maybe argue that something like the Volkswagen Golf GTI would be the outcome. It ticks a range of performance car and hot hatch tropes, while simultaneously ticking the boxes established by the Corolla. It's comfortable, practical, usable. And, the seats have tartan on them!
A current-generation Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI like this one listed in Waikato for less than the price of a Corolla GX, no sweat. This one has 39,756km on the clock and is priced at $27,450. Not bad for a 'current' hot hatch. Just ditch those tacky aftermarket paddle shifters. Click here to check it out.
But, let's be honest here. Those in the real world who really want a Corolla but are expanding their horizons ... they're going to shop according to those same initial corner-stone qualities. And, they'd be served best by a switch into a current Toyota RAV4.
The cheapest brand new RAV4s already have a pricing overlap with the Corolla, offering similar levels of standard tech coupled with far improved practicality. But shop around for a demonstrator or low-km RAV4 and you may just score yourself a bucket of extra value.
This RAV4 GX is a sound example. New, these start at $36,490. But this 8200km example listed in Auckland is priced at 31,990. That's a lot of car, for just under Corolla GX Hybrid hatch money. Click here to check it out.