The Toyota Corolla Has a Soul After All

It’s no secret that Toyota cars have been called dull or boring. Toyotas are practical. They are cars to get you from one place to another. But they aren’t exactly trying to be fun or have boisterous personalities. They are rock solid appliances that you can rely on. But that doesn’t mean that a Toyota Camry or Toyota Corolla is going to turn any heads. That dogma, however, is a thing of the past.

2020 Corolla compact hatchback sedan on display at Brussels Expo
The 2020 Toyota Corolla | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

After spending a week behind the wheel of a 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE I am convinced that the Toyota Corolla has a soul. Complete with an audio and infotainment upgrade that I’d highly recommend, the Corolla tester and I actually became very good friends. My two sons even called it a race car. That is definitely not a title that the Toyota Corolla has enjoyed much in its family car lifetime.

The Corolla is more than a microwave

With the edgier styling and more engaging handle, the Toyota team gives a nice loud answer to anyone who ever called the Corolla an appliance. It’s not a microwave or even a fancy refrigerator. Nope––the Toyota Corolla is now a car that’s actually fun to drive. Complete with paddle shifters and comfortable seats striped with blue stitching that contrasts against its black upholstery, the Toyota Corolla is really coming out of its shell.

While it’s no power-hungry BMW or Mercedes-Benz––or Honda even––the Toyota Corolla feels sporty enough to make driving to work, practice, or the school drop off and pick up line more fun. This is a car that has always been a reliable commuter. It boasts a fantastic fuel economy and amazing value. However, the Toyota Corolla hasn’t always been known for its spunk or sparkle. The 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE definitely sparkles in celestite gray. Overall, the 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE proved itself as a compelling and engaging sedan that even made the kids happy.

2020 Toyota Corolla XSE interior
2020 Toyota Corolla XSE interior | Toyota

A practical family car with a fun side

For its size, the 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE accommodated my family of four quite well. The car seats were easy to install with all of the LATCH and anchor points in straightforward places to find. The little covers over the latch points in the rear bench are easy to remove. However, I can imagine myself losing them and then wishing for them after the car seats are outgrown and we no longer have use for those LATCH points.

2020 Toyota Corolla XSE
2020 Toyota Corolla XSE | Toyota

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The rear seat belt indicators are an amazing feature for parents. Plus, the moonroof and blue stitching made everything a little more fun. With the 18 -inch alloy wheels, it wasn’t the smoothest sedan I’ve driven. Still, it handles well and feels secure through corners and at speed on the highway. For a practical family car, it gets the job done and then some.

Sport mode gives the gas pedal a bit more oomph. Plus, the dash display turns red when it’s in sport mode which my boys loved. Overall, the 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE is a good all-around car with modern exterior styling, plenty of standard safety and tech features, and some fun extras. I’d recommend the Corolla to anyone that does a lot of driving and wants to stick with a car for the practical fuel economy.