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Should I Buy A 2012 Corolla S?

By K_Watson, October 21, 2015


I am very seriously considering a one owner 2012 Corolla S with 34,000 miles and a clean CARFAX at a trusted local used dealer I have had business dealing with for years.

The story is the dealer that the owner orginally bought the car from, and where he/she later traded it back into, probably auctioned it because he was a smoker. My dealer detailed it, changed the oil and cabin filter, and parked it on the lot. It smells fine and has no evidence of smoker damage.

I have personally checked over the car and can find no current damage, cosmetic, or mechanical issues, and only some nearly perfect repaint on the front drivers corner, all VIN tag stickers, plastic fasteners, and painted bolts are undisturbed, so it was very minor whatever it was.

It's the S model with touchscreen bluetooth, moonroof, spoiler, and black cloth interior.

What issues do the 2012's have?

I owned a 2006 corolla till someone ran a light and totaled it, no issues with it, was a great car. I now own a 2002 manual corolla s w/ 174k miles, which I just recently finished rebuilding the engine on, runs great now. My wife drives a 2012 auto corolla le, with 60k miles. She mostly drives it but I do the maintenance. It gets a solid 32 mpg. It uses 0W-20 oil and toyota recommends changing every 10k miles. I haven't taken it that far on an oil change yet but it does stay clean up till around 6-7k miles. The transmission fluid is good for 100k miles, which is pretty nice. It has a slight burn smell to it but looks good, I prob won't go the full 100k. I'll be changing the brakes this weekend for the first time. My wife uses the bluetooth every day and the sound system is pretty good. I'd say the only complaint is that it feels under-powered, but it's a corolla. I had a WRX and G35 for a while as well, so I expect power in those, not in a corolla. I think if you're looking for reliability and a solid investment, corolla is the best way to go. The S is a little sportier looking but again, don't expect to be pulling away from lights with any kind of power.

Most of those generation are pretty solid. Only things that I've seen on the 2012 models:

- some have issues with the passenger airbag seat sensor being miscalibrated (so it reads a different weight than it should) causing a mismatch with the airbag deployment stage (too much power or too little power).

- lots of owners complained of brake feel issues, excessive brake pedal travel

- accelerator pedal and steering feel (DBW throttle, electric power steering), though these are pretty typical for all the Corolla models that have them. Just takes some getting used to.

That said - this being a 2012 model - it is pretty far down the 10th generation line (2009-2013) - so "most" of the usual bugs have been worked out by now. As is usual for Toyota models - the last model in the year is usuall a carry over, so nothing gained if you jump on a 2013 model, for example.

Take it for a spin - see how you like it. As long as the car fits your driving style, fits you physically - I wouldn't have any problems getting that model, still has the Toyota reliability and good owner serviceability.


Financing approved, test driven, trade in accepted, decicion made.

The 2012 Corolla S will me my new ride next Wednsday.

The Prizm had a good run; 9 years and 53600 miles together.

Shouldn't have any problems. As mentioned all bugs should be worked out. I have a 2013 S and love it.


The 2012 Corolla S is in our garage. :-)


Let us know how you like it - would be an interesting perspective coming from a former 8th gen to now a 10th gen owner.


So far the car is great, so much quieter, too quiet really. The sound of the old 1ZZFE turning ~3300 RPM on the highway was somewhat musical and soothing.

The engine is butter smooth at idle, you almost could compare it to my Wife's 1MZ V6.

The speakers SUCK. One is possibly blown, but I planned to replace them anyway.

The Entune navigation is good but a bit confusing to figure out. The option to end navigation session is buried within the menus.

Bluetooth integration is good, music sounds clear, but the call sound quality is a little grainy with some high pitched noise in voices.

The car absorbs bumps really well, and electric steering feedback is decent but not great.

Most of all the biggest annoyance me entire car is the lack of automatic headlights that even my base model Prizm had standard.


I have one now. Only complaints are that it is automatic and I would have liked a standard. Also has no moonroof/sunroof and I like those. One malfunction I am currently having is that the TPMS light comes on flashes then stays on. The steering is a little twitchy and the brakes do grab at times.


I bought the car and have been driving it for a few years.  It is a great car!

I bought the car and have been driving it for a few years.  It is a great car!


That's great to hear!

I've heard mixed things about it. Issues with the brakes are commonly reported , but also things like the suspension and various electronical malfunctions. 

Have you had no drivetrain issues either?

Dang, this is an old thread being resurrected. 

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