The Corolla has been a staple in the Toyota lineup for a very long time. In fact, it is in its twelfth generation. Part of the reason for its enduring popularity is its sleek style and value for drivers. This is a trend that continues for the 2021 Toyota Corolla.
What's New for 2021?
Finally, 2021 sees Android Auto becoming a standard feature for the Corolla lineup. Sedan models are also gaining rear-seat side airbags. There is an even sportier model now available, known as the Apex Edition. Otherwise, there are not too many significant changes for 2021. Considering the fact that the current generation of the Corolla started in 2019, this is not surprising nor concerning.
One of the biggest draws when it comes to the Corolla is the number of high-tech safety features it comes with. All models have the typical driver aids that one might expect, such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. They also have some of the less common ones, at least on the lower trim levels of many rivals. Highlights include traffic sign recognition, lane trace assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Stepping up to the LE trim, which is just one level above the base model, will give buyers the option of adding blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Going with the XLE or XSE will also add adaptive headlights. These headlights can actively change with the weather conditions and greatly help to improve visibility.
The engine found underneath the hood of most 2021 Corolla models is a 1.8L four-cylinder. It has the ability to make 138-horsepower and works decently with its standard continuously variable transmission. Both the SE and XSE models up their game with a 2.0L four-cylinder that can make 169-horsepower. They are available with a six-speed manual transmission.
As for the new Apex Edition, it starts out with that same 2.0L engine. It has a lower ride height and upgraded suspension for a more thrilling ride. Optional on this trim level are summer performance tires. This trim level stands out from the rest of the lineup with its black and bronze trim on the exterior.
The 1.8L engine working alongside the CVT has the Corolla getting 30mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway. Typically speaking, a larger and more powerful engine results in less efficiency. This is not the case for the 2021 Corolla, however. The 2.0L actually gets 31mpg city and 40mpg highway. These are great numbers. For even more efficiency, buyers can check out the Corolla Hybrid.
Sedan models of the Corolla come in five main trim levels. The hatchback only comes in two. The sedan L is decently equipped with LED headlights and impressive tech and safety features. Next up is the LE, also only available as a sedan, which adds things like automatic climate control and heated side mirrors.
The XLE is a premium sedan model of the Corolla. Buyers of this model get upgrades like push-button start, heated front seats, a sunroof, and more of the things that truly improve the experience inside of a vehicle. The SE is the first option that can be had as a sedan or a hatchback. It has more athletic elements, such as larger wheels and sport front seats. The SE loses some of the interior upgrades found in the XLE, however.
Another option to consider is the SE Nightshade. It has the same features as a standard SE but gets its own unique wheel design and multiple black-out elements for the exterior. The XSE, also available in both body styles, is the way to go to get the performance of the SE with the luxury of the XLE.
After years of only offering Apple CarPlay as a standard feature, Toyota has finally given in and added Android Auto to the Corolla as well. The infotainment system runs on a 7-inch touchscreen for the entry-level LE. These features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to standard tech. All models also are equipped with satellite radio, at least two USB ports, Bluetooth, and a WiFi hotspot.
The LE trim upgrades to an 8-inch touchscreen. A third USB port is also added for this model and up. For an even more sophisticated feel to the cabin, Toyota gives a 7-inch digital driver display to the XLE and XSE trim levels. These same models also have HD radio and the ability to upgrade to a premium nine-speaker sound system.It is clear when looking at the 2021 Toyota Corolla that this is a vehicle that will remain popular for the foreseeable future. With its impressive fuel economy and generous standard equipment, it makes a great daily commuter.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here)
Note: All Toyota Corolla MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.