2021 Toyota Corolla: Affordable, Compact, and Loaded with Features

by Nicole Wakelin

So. Many. Choices.

The 2021 Toyota Corolla sedan is a compact car with an affordable price. You can get behind the wheel of one for just $20,025 making it a good choice for those on a budget. It’s affordable, sure, but just because it’s not a luxury car with the matching luxury price doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to like about the Corolla.

Let’s start with the range of trims. There are nine different versions of the Corolla from which to choose. This includes a hybrid and special Apex and Nightshade editions of select trims in the basic five-trim lineup. There’s a Corolla for everyone and every budget. Even if you go all the way to the top of the trim ladder with the XSE Apex Edition, you’re still looking at only $28,310. It’s affordable in any guise.

Looks Good Inside and Out

The Corolla looks good with sporty almost aggressive styling. It has none of the too mild-mannered styling of old and attracts attention for all the right reasons. The story is the same when you open the door. We drove the XSE, which sits at the top of the lineup. Materials are appealing to the eye with plenty of soft touch surfaces and a minimal amount of plastic. It makes the Corolla look like pricier than its sticker.

Seating is comfortable with ample room up front for even taller riders, but the rear seats are another story. Although they’re comfortable they aren’t as spacious. Headroom and shoulder room are fine, but legroom is tight, especially if whoever is sitting up front has long legs and pushes the seats back.

The XSE has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. It’s the more powerful of the two gas powertrains and it performed well. Not only did it get up to speed quickly, but there was no need to mash the gas to get extra power for passing. Our only complaint was the noise of the CVT, which is intrusive under hard acceleration.

Toyota Corolla

No Shortage of Standard Features

While many an affordable car makes key safety and tech features expensive extras, the Corolla makes many of them standard. Safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and full-speed dynamic radar cruise control are all standard. There’s also a standard 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and, new for this year, Android Auto. You don’t have to move up a trim and spend extra just to get these features.

All in all, the 2021 Toyota Corolla is a compact sedan with appeal for a wide range of buyers. Lots of trim choices, two gas and one hybrid powertrain, key standard features, and a low price make the Corolla a great option.

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