Building A Better Corolla: The 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE
The 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE.
About the only complaint anyone can make about the Toyota Corolla is that it is---well---boring. Beyond that, it has space efficiency, fuel economy, build quality and legendary reliability all on its side.

Now, Toyota has decided to address "boring".

Rear view of 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE
2017 Toyota Corolla XSE.
The 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE is an extension of the idea Toyota first floated with the 2014 Toyota Corolla S---a well-equipped Corolla with a sport mode added to its Continuously Variable Transmission.

The XSE follows that formula, including an upgrade to 17-inch alloy wheels, a power tilt/slide moonroof, multi-LED headlights with LED accent lights, LED daytime running lights, color-keyed heated power outside mirrors, a rear spoiler, Softex-trimmed seats (heated in the front row---eight-way power adjustable for the driver, four-way manually adjustable for the passenger), an Entune audio system with navigation, smart key with pushbutton start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, voice command, paddle shifters, automatic climate control with a pollen filter and power locks and windows.

All the above is standard for $22,680.  A $2,280 increase over the S from three years ago.  But where the XSE breaks new ground is in the options it allows you to choose.

Interior view of 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE
2017 Toyota Corolla XSE interior.
No, there is no option for a more powerful engine, but you can select the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance exhaust, giving the Corolla a soundtrack to match the sporting theme ($649).  Our test vehicle also had the TRD performance air filter ($80).  And while our car did not have them, the options list also includes TRD lowering springs, TRD performance oil filters and a TRD rear sway bar.

What was on our test vehicle:

  • Entune premium audio system ($525)
  • Emergency assistance kit ($59)
  • Universal tablet holder ($99)
  • Illuminated door sills ($309)
  • Mudguards ($129)
  • Paint protection film ($395)
  • First aid kit ($30)
  • Cargo net ($49)
  • Rear bumper protector ($79)
  • Wheel locks ($67)
  • Carpet/trunk mat set ($224)
With $865 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $26,239.

A hotter engine to go with the sound and appearance would be nice, but the Corolla is by no means slow, and there is the EPA fuel economy estimate of 28 city/35 highway to consider as a benefit of sticking with the standard Corolla engine.

Basically, Toyota is taking the parts-catalog approach to making the Corolla more desirable.  And for us, it is working.

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