Sir for Corolla, the imported SE Limited E100 (Indus shape) with 5AFE is best, if you cannot find one the the E120 SE Saloon A/T is best.
The E120 was launched somewhere in 2002 (March, if I remember correct), petrol variants were XLI, GLi and SE Saloon (replaced by Altis from June 05).
SE Saloon was the top grade model with a 109 HP 1.6L engine, Rev limiter, A/T option, side skirts, bigger 14" wheels with alloys, 2 din pioneer with 6 speakers and 4 spoke steering.
XLI and GLI had same power train, 1.3L 80 HP with 5 speed M/T and only some minor difference in equipment like power windows and mirrors in GLI.
The 7th Gen Civic (CatEye) was launched in 2001 (May, I think).
EXI has a 110PS 1.5L and VTI has a 130PS 1.6L engine, VTI also has alloys with bigger 15" rims, all 4 wheel discs ABS brakes with EBD and retractable mirrors, also option of S/R and leather seats and SAT NAV.
Both EXI and VTI were available in M/T and A/T, a 4 speed PROSMATEC shift.
In 2004 (June, I think) Honda launched the Eagle Eye Civic, added 4 wheel disc brakes to EXi, double beams (hi low) headlights (both variants), reshaped bumpers with fog lights space (both variants), optitron meters (added in 2003 to both VTi and EXi), reverse chime for PROSMATEC models and rear seat head rests, a Kenwood MP3 player with 10 DISC changer was also included to both variants.
I would personally prefer a VTI PROSMATEC any day over any of these cars, Lancer GLX GV is also very good, little bit expensive maintenance.
Majority (75%) of EXIs are more well maintained then VTis.