Toyota Corolla SE sedan
Toyota Corolla SE sedan
Toyota Corolla SE sedan

2021 Toyota Corolla SE sedan

Pros: Peppy, efficient drivetrain with 2.0-liter engine; sporty driving personality; available hybrid model

Cons: Limited back seat room in hatchback; infotainment screen looks tacked on; XSE’s upsized wheels and tires compromise ride quality somewhat

CG Says: The 2021 Toyota Corolla gains standard rear side airbags. Sedans get a new Apex Edition with uprated suspension and unique trim, while there is a Special Edition for hatchbacks with rear spoiler and special trim. Toyota introduced a redesigned Corolla 4-door hatchback for 2019 and a new Corolla sedan joined the hatchback on the latest platform for 2020. However, the sedan has a wheelbase that is 2.4-inchs longer than the hatchback for better rear-seat room. All Corolla hatchbacks are powered by a 168-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. That same engine is rated at 169 hp in SE and XSE sedans. L, LE, XLE sedans have a 139-hp 1.8-liter four. Plus, a hybrid powertrain is available in the Corolla sedan. The Hybrid combines a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with two electric motors for a total of 121 horsepower. Transmission choices for gas-powered cars are a 6-speed manual or a CVT automatic. The hybrid is CVT only. Available features include forward collision warning and mitigation with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot alert, lane-departure warning and mitigation, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, road-sign identification, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa Connectivity, and keyless access and starting. The current Toyota Corolla’s chassis has far better driving dynamics than either the previous Corolla iM or Corolla sedan, plus the 2.0-liter engine is more powerful and is mated to much-improved transmissions. These new sporty attributes, combined with Toyota’s traditional value equation, make the Corolla an especially strong competitor in the compact-car class.

The Facts
Class Compact Car
Body Style(s) 4-door sedan, 4-door hatchback
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive
Manufacturer Toyota
Nation of Manufacture Canada
Base Prices L sedan: $20,780
LE sedan: $21,230
SE sedan: $23,230
Nightshade sedan: $23,930
XLE sedan: $25,210
XSE sedan: $26,680
Apex Edition sedan: NA
SE hatchback: $21,245
Nightshade hatchback: $24,195
XSE hatchback: $24,195
Special Edition hatchback: NA
Hybrid LE sedan: $24,355

Base Engine
1.8-liter 4-cylinder (L/LE/XLE sedan)
Horsepower
139
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
CVT
EPA City Range (mpg)
29-30
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
37-39

Optional Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder (hatchback, SE/XSE sedan)
Horsepower
168 (169 sedan)
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
CVT
EPA City Range (mpg)
28-31
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
36-41

Optional Engine
1.8-liter 4-cylinder/electric motors (Hybrid)
Horsepower
121
Std. Transmission
CVT
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
53
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
52