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The 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE is a semi-new and exciting venture for Toyota. This Corolla is not only a hatchback but a manual hatchback. The 2.0L 4-Cylinder (CVT) is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. What else is this Corolla hiding?

What is the deal with the Toyota Corolla XSE?

This is no regular Corolla! The Corolla XSE gets an estimated 34 miles per gallon combined. That’s about 38 on the highway and 31 in the city.

The price for this Corolla option? It has a starting MSRP of $25,925. There is also an XSE Apex edition that starts at $28,310.

Now, you might not think Corolla is the best car on the market, but why not? Some of the competitors are the Nissan Sentra and the Honda Civic, which it seems to go up against well enough.

Compared to the 2021 Honda Civic EX, the Civic gets better gas mileage (by four!) and the XSE has a bit higher horsepower. It is about 168 hp at 6,600 rpm for the XSE and 158 hp at 6,500 rpm for the base Civic. The Civic EX gets 174 hp.

Kelly Blue Book says that for 2020, the Civic and the Corolla are fairly identical on the outside.

“Both sedans employ a continuously variable automatic (CVT) as their main transmission offering but maintain limited availability of a 6-speed manual. Honda relegates its stick shift to the base engine but offers it in two trim levels, LX and Sport. Toyota pairs its manual transmission with its larger engine in the sport-themed Corolla SE.”

To go up against a Civic, the Corolla is doing okay.

Which Toyota Corolla model is best?

Depending on what you are doing with your Corolla, this one might be the right choice. If you are not interested in any of these features, a regular ‘Rolla will do.

The XSE is trying to compete with other sporty, fun cars like the Honda Civic, and it did that. It has a pop-up display on the dash and the hatchback definitely adds a new look.

It has Toyota’s new Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, lane departure warning, a backup camera, and other fun features that would make this a great first car – or fourth car.

What is the difference between the Corolla SE and XSE?

The Corolla has many different trims. These include the L, LE, Hybrid LE, SE, SE Nightshade Edition, SE Apex Edition, XLE, XSE, and the SXE Apex Edition that we mentioned previously. There really is something for everyone.

The SE gets 29/36/32 (city/highway/combined) and starts at $23,175. The SE definitely does not have as many cool features as the XSE.

The 2020 Corolla also offers a hybrid option that the EPA estimated at just over 50 miles per gallon. The SE has similar safety features and a similar look.

In conclusion, the Toyota Corolla XSE is a fun little car with a manual option. It is safe, has all the newest features, and is a good deal for the price. If you know what you are getting into ahead of time, you’ll probably enjoy this purchase.


The 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE Is Still Just a Car