I found a 1997 Corolla CE auto for sale (CE according to the carfax). The owner of the car said it's a 3-spd auto...but the CE according to online sources say it's a 4-spd. The VE is supposed to be the 3-spd auto.
Which is it? Also, if it's a 3-spd...does it reallly wear down if my commute is 60% on the highway at 60-70mph?
CE were available with either the 3-speed or 4-speed depending on engine options (1.6L or 1.8L engine). Easiest way to find out is to see if the shifter assembly has an O/D button on it - if it does, then it is a 4-speed, if not, it is the three speed. Other than that - if it is a 1.6L 4AFE engine, most likely will come with a 3-speed auto, with the 1.8L 7AFE, most likely have a 4-speed auto.
3-speeds do tend to run higher revs on the highway, but it is not really a wear issue, more of a fuel economy issue.
Running at 60-70mph shouldn't be a big problem for the engine. I run mine every day at those speeds. You lose a bit of fuel economy, but I don't even really notice it when I go to the pump. Best fuel economy should be at 50mph.
The owner of a shop told me that for that generation (93-97) corolla the 3-speed auto transmission is more reliable. It was more likely to see 4-speed auto owners with problems.