The 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE Is Affordable And Efficient, But Is It Actually FUN Too? Let’s Find Out!

Should you buy, lease, rent or forget it?

The 2021 Toyota Corolla comes in many flavors.

Packed with tech and safety goodies, our 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE sedan tester isn’t exactly cheap. Fortunately, it is good value when you see the massive list of items you get for the money. In this video, Roman and Tommy take a closer look at one of the most popular affordable cars around.

This 2021 Toyota Corolla competes with the Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Mazda3 and Nissan Sentra, among others. The field has thinned out as America automakers have backed away from compact cars. All of the aforementioned vehicles have their strong points, the Corolla is a great all-rounder.

Tons of variety

Think of the Toyota Corolla as the modern Volkswagen Beetle. At least by sales, it took the original Beetle’s mantle years ago. Today, somewhere on the planet, a person buys a Corolla about every 38 seconds. In the U.S., you can get a hatchback or a sedan, with a variety of engine/transmission choices as well.

Even better news? A hotter, turbocharged GR Corolla is supposed to arrive sometime soon as well.

Thankfully, Toyota opted to add an independent rear suspension helping with ride and handling. Even this XSE model wearing thin rubber on 18-inch wheels rides nice.

Sure, Roman and Tommy are not that enthusiastic about the power-train, it is fairly spunky. The 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine in SE and XSE models makes 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. This model is hooked up to a CVT, which is kind of a cool setup as it actually has a first/take-off gear before the CVT kicks in. It makes for a smoother drive altogether. Entry-level L and LE models get a smaller, less powerful 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

With the 2.0-liter/CVT setup, you can get 31 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and a combined 34 mpg. Those are excellent numbers for a vehicle in this class. If you opt for the six-speed manual, which is only available in certain trim-levels, the mpg falls slightly.

If you’re in the market, we will have a full buyer’s guide video for the 2021 Toyota Corolla coming soon.