The performance option of rear-wheel drive was dropped after 1986, with all Corollas front-wheel drive from 1987, with production beginning in May 1987. For general export, the trim levels are Base, XL, GL, SE, and SE Limited. The GT-i was sold in limited numbers in certain countries. The all wheel drive Sprinter Carib wagon used a solid axle rear suspension with coil springs, while the rest used struts all around. The 4WD wagon was sold from 1988 to 1994 and had different bodywork to other Corollas. It was called the All-Trac in the US and sold with the Tercel or Corolla name in some countries. In general, all models depart from the previous generation's boxy styling, for a more contemporary look and improved aerodynamics.
High performance GT-i models are powered by 4A-GE, and offered as 3-door hatchback, sedan, and 5-door liftback. The North American GT-S coupé shared the same engine.
This was awarded the 1988 Semperit Irish Car of the Year.
The 1.3 liter sedan has 4 speed manual transmission (later all 1.3 liter engines had 5 speed) or 3 speed automatic transmission. The only model with 1.5 liter 5A-FHE was SE-Limited G. The 4WD sedan is powered by the 1.6 liter 4A-FE. The 1,456 cc 3E engine was only fitted to the Japanese market Van (wagon) version.The Sprinter sedan has a third window in the C-pillar.
The AE92 Levin and Trueno were also fitted with a supercharged engine. It used an SC12 roots type supercharger and a top mounted intercooler that was fed cool air via a scoop on the bonnet. They generated 206 N·m (152 lb·ft) at 4,400 rpm as opposed to the naturally aspirated 4A-GE's 136 N·m (100 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm.
Japanese market chassis:
- EE90 — Sedan 4-door (DX Custom, TX) 1.3 liter
- AE91 — Sedan 4-door (DX, SE, SE Limited G), wagon 5-door 1.5 liter
- AE92 — 2 door coupé (Levin, Trueno), Sedan 4-door (SE Limited, GT), Hatchback (FX, FX16, FX GT), Liftback (Sprinter GT) 1.6 liter
- AE95 — 4WD sedan 4-door (DX, SE Limited) 1.6 liter
- AE95G — 4WD wagon 5-door (Carib)
- EE97V — FWD van 5-door (Std, XL) 1.3 liter
- EE98V — FWD van 5-door 1.45 liter
Japanese market engines:
- 2E — 1.3 liter
- 3E — 1.45 liter (van only)
- 5A-F — 1.5 liter
- 5A-FHE — 1.5 liter
- 4A-FE — 1.6 liter
- 4A-GE — 1.6 liter
- 4A-GZE — 1.6 L (1,587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, FI, wide valve angle, supercharger, 165 hp (121 kW) fitted to the "GT-Z" version.
In December 1988, Toyota formed a joint venture with Holden called UAAI to build and market the Toyota Corolla as the Holden Nova. This agreement paralleled two Corolla generations including both the E90 and E100 series.
Australian market engines:
- 4A-F — 1.6 L (1587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, carb, 95 hp (67 kW) CS, CS Limited, CSX & Spirit
- 4A-FE — 1.6 L (1587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, FI, narrow valve angle, 102 hp (76 kW) XL, SR5, CSi, CSi Limited, Olympic Spirit
- 4A-GE — 1.6 L (1587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, FI, wide valve angle, 135 hp (100 kW) SX & GTi
- 6A-FC — 1.4 L (1397 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, carb, narrow valve angle, 81 hp (60 kW) SE
- 7A-FE — 1.8 L (1762 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, FI, narrow valve angle, 115 hp (85 kW) Seca RV & Seca Ultima
Australian market chassis:
- AE90 — Sedan, Hatchback (SE)
- AE92 — Sedan, Hatchback, Seca (CS, CSX, Spirit, SE, SX)
- AE93 — Hatchback, Seca (SX, GTi)
- AE94 — Sedan, Hatchback, Seca (CSi, CSi Limited, Ultima)
- AE95 — Wagon (XL, SR5, CSi, Olympic Spirit)
- AE96 — Seca (RV, Ultima)
- Corolla Liftback was called Seca in Australia
- The Corolla 4x4 wagon (Sprinter Carib Wagon elsewhere) was released in mid 1988, Hatchback, Seca & Sedan released mid 1989
- SX is generally AE93 although on rare occasions they are found to be AE92R
- The facelift series 2 models were released in October 1992
- 6A-FC was only found in SE hatchbacks and early SE Sedans
- Corollas with 7A-FE engine were AE94 Ultimas in early 1992 and AE96 Ultimas & RV's in late 92 onwards
European market engines:
- 2E — 1.3 L (1,295 cc), 12-valve SOHC I4, carb, 74 bhp (55 kW)
- 4A-F — 1.6 L (1,587 cc) 16-valve DOHC I4, carb, 95 bhp (71 kW)
- 4A-FE — 1.6 L (1,587 cc) 16-valve DOHC I4, FI, narrow valve angle, 102 bhp (76 kW)
- 4A-GE — 1.6 L (1,587 cc) 16-valve DOHC I4, FI, wide valve angle, 115 bhp (86 kW) GT-i
- 1C-III — 1.8 L (1,839 cc) OHC diesel I4, 67 bhp (50 kW).
European market chassis:
- EE90 — 1.3 Hatchback 3-door (Standard, XL), 1.3 Sedan 4-door (XL,GL), 1.3 Liftback 5-door (XL, GL, SR)
- AE92 - 1.6 Sedan 4-door (GL, GLi, XLi), 1.6 Liftback 5-door (GLi, GT-i, CS), 1.6 Hatchback 3-door (XL, GL-i, GS-i, GT-i)
- CE90 — Diesel models (XLD)
The European model Corolla four-door sedan, three- and five-door hatchbacks, and the regular wagon basically has the front end of the Japan-spec Corolla FX, except for the all white clearance lights and the "TOYOTA" or the ellipse emblem instead of the "FX" or "GT" of the Japanese model. It has the standard side marker lights and the tail light with the integrated rear fog lamp (except for the wagon, which has the rear fog lamp on the tailgate.) It also has headlight washers on the XL and the XLi models. The five-door liftback used the Japanese market Sprinter Cielo body in its entirety, although in Europe it was available with the little 1.3 liter engine as well. The second generation Sprinter Carib was also sold as a Corolla in Europe, where it replaced the Tercel Wagon. This little four-wheel drive station wagon received the "Touring" suffix in most European markets.
From late 1989 the 4A-GE engine in the GT-i model was changed from the T-VIS equipped 'big port' variant to the non-T-VIS 'small port' version. For UK specification cars, this increased power from 124 bhp (92 kW) to 129 bhp (96 kW). The GT-i was available as a hatchback or a liftback, although not all markets received both bodystyles. In Sweden, the 4A-GE equipped liftback was marketed as the Corolla CS (Coupé Sport), beginning in May 1991. It had the new 125 PS (92 kW) version of the 4A-GE engine and ventilated disc brakes all around.
North American production of the sedan took place at NUMMI and Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. These two plants made 279,000 units, making a total of 4.5 million of this generation (AE92) made. The North American models depart from the previous generation's boxy styling, for a more contemporary look and improved aerodynamics. They feature longer bumpers and small red conspicuity lights on the rear quarter panels. Cabin air exits through stylish vents behind the rear side windows.
A 25th anniversary special edition was produced in 1990, made to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Corolla line. It included 25th anniversary emblems on the front fender, embroidered on front seat and a 3-spoke steering wheel.
Minor changes for 1991 model years were Toyota (T) ellipse emblem on the grille, all-red tail lights, door-mounted and manual lap front seat belts, and new wheelcovers for DX. Rear garnish was deleted for the Base model.
The North American Corolla coupé with retractable headlights was basically a Sprinter Trueno with different front corner lights and longer bumpers. Trim levels are SR5 and GT-S. The GT-S is powered by 4A-GE engine, and comes with full body kits. In 1990 the 4A-GE received a revised cylinder head and intake manifold. The new motor featured higher compression, lack of the TVIS system, and smaller ports in the intake manifold and is thus commonly referred to as the "smallport" version. Horsepower jumped from 115 hp (86 kW) to 135 hp (100 kW).
The four-wheel drive All-trac wagon in Base and SR5 trim levels were sold from 1988 to 1992 and had different bodywork to other Corollas. The Corolla All-trac sedan was sold in very small numbers, shared the same body as the AE92 sedan, with the only visible difference being the tire size.
The Geo Prizm shared a slightly different body with the Japan-market Sprinter sedan and Cielo liftback. These models were slightly more basic than their European/Japanese versions. The GSi version was equipped with the 4A-GE.
North American market engines:
- 4A-F — 1.6 L (1587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, carb, narrow valve angle, 95 hp (71 kW)
- 4A-FE — 1.6 L (1587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, FI, narrow valve angle, 102 hp (76 kW)
- 4A-GE — 1.6 L (1587 cc) I4, 16-valve DOHC, FI, wide valve angle, 115 hp (86 kW) 1988/89, 135 hp (100 kW) 1990/91 GT-S
North American market chassis code & (VIN code): The Japanese built E90 has a JT2 VIN prefix while the NUMMI made E90 used 1NX (Toyota) and 1Y1 (Geo) VIN prefixes and the Cambridge built E90 has a 2T1 prefix.
- AE92 — Sedan 4-door Std (AE91), DX (AE94), LE (AE97)
- AE92 — Coupé 2-door SR5 (AE96), GT-S (AE98 - Trueno - pop-up headlights (Levin has fixed headlights))
- AE92 — FWD wagon 5-door DX (AE94)
- AE95 — 4WD sedan 4-door All-Trac/4WD (AE94)
- AE95 — FWD/4WD wagon 5-door Std, DX, All-Trac (AE95)
The 6th generation of Corolla was imported from Japan and was available in only 4 trims, with 1.3 and 1.5 liter petrol engines and 1.5 and 1.8 liter diesel engines. Only the four door sedan was imported: The 2-door coupe, 5-door wagon and the hatchback were not available in the showrooms. Because of the rising prices of gasoline, the 1.8 liter diesel version became an immediate success. The 2.0 liter diesel engine was not available until 1993 when the 7th generation was introduced, and it was the same time when Toyota started making cars in Pakistan. Even after the introduction of the 7th generation of Corolla, reconditioned 6th generation models were imported from the Middle East.
In an effort to boost performance of the 4A-GE engine, Toyota South Africa made some modifications to the engine (inlet and exhaust) to lift power from 87 kW to 96 kW for all production models.
A facelifted version of the sixth-generation five-door hatchback was made in South Africa as an entry-level model called the Toyota Tazz from 1996 until July 5, 2006. The Tazz was offered as 130, and 160i. While the three-door was sold as a panel van model there, called the Toyota Carri.