Buyer's Guide

2021 Toyota Corolla
Select a Different Model (15 Available): L Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 30 / 38 mpg
Horsepower 139@6,100
Torque 126@3,900
See All Specs
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2021 Toyota Corolla MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Excellent efficiency
  • Standard active safety tech
  • Great value

Cons

  • Noisy, underpowered base engine
  • Can feel cheap
  • Doesn't drive as well as a Civic

Toyota kicked off the rollout of the 12th-generation Corolla by reintroducing the hatchback for 2019 and releasing the sedan for the 2020 model year. With the departure of the subcompact Yaris, the Corolla becomes Toyota's smallest car, positioned below the Camry and Avalon. The Corolla competes with other compact sedans and hatchbacks including the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, and Subaru Impreza.

For those seeking Prius-like efficiency in a more conventionally shaped package, check out the 53/52 mpg Corolla Hybrid.

What's New

What We Think

We've written before that the recently redesigned Corolla is one of the best iterations we've tested, but it falls behind its stiffest competition. In both hatchback and sedan form, the Corolla is packed with technology (including expanded smartphone mirroring capability for 2021), good interior space, and vastly improved driving dynamics compared to its predecessor.

Fuel economy is excellent across the board, especially in the case of the Corolla Hybrid. Combined with strong resale value, Toyota's compact is a great value. That said, the base engine is loud and underpowered. Also, tinny-sounding doors contributed to a feeling of cheapness throughout. In a recent comparison, we found it to be a less compelling compact than a Honda Civic in nearly every regard.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Corolla L, LE, and XLE sedans come standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated with a CVT automatic. The base engine's 139 hp and 126 lb-ft are routed exclusively through the front wheels and efficiency is rated at 29-30/37-38 mpg city/highway. When we tested a Corolla XLE, it eventually reached 60 mph in 10.2 seconds.

The Corolla SE and XSE, plus the Apex Edition sedan and all hatchbacks, feature a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder developing 168-169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. That power makes its way to the front wheels via a CVT automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy figures depend on trim, body style, and choice of transmission, coming in at 28-32/35-42 mpg. Manual-equipped hatchbacks are the quickest of the bunch, finishing the 0-60 sprint in 7.4 seconds.

Nightshade, Apex, Special: The 2021 Corolla's Limited Editions

Toyota is offering a smattering of limited-edition Corollas for 2021. Last year's Nightshade Edition continues to be offered in sedan and hatchback guise, adding black badges and wheels to the Japanese compact.

The Corolla sedan's new Apex Edition for 2021 lowers and stiffens the suspension, adds lighter wheels and stickier tires, employs a sport-tuned exhaust, and features a new bronze-tinged body kit. Hatchback fans need not feel left out; the 2021 Corolla Hatchback Special Edition differentiates itself from the standard car with a new body kit and a handsome unique Supersonic Red paint job.

Safety

In both hatchback and sedan form, the Corolla is a safe vehicle. The small Toyota earns 2020 Top Safety Pick designation in IIHS safety testing, as long as you opt for the XLE or XSE trims' upgraded curve-adaptive LED headlights. Both variants also receive a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, with five-star front and side crash scores and a four-star rollover rating.

In addition to strong safety scores, all Corollas include a collection of Toyota's driver-assist features as standard. That includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist with lane centering, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and road sign assist. For 2021, XLE and XSE models add standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, features that are optionally available on all other trims.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Both Corolla body styles seat five passengers, but the sedan will do so in more comfort. Whereas sedans offer 42.0/34.8 inches of legroom front/rear, hatchback examples provide the same amount of front legroom but just 29.9 inches in the back seat.

Meanwhile, the hatchback has the advantage in terms of cargo capacity. It includes 17.8 cubic feet of volume behind the rear seats, or as a new option for 2021, buyers can opt to forego the spare tire and expand cargo capacity to 23 cubic feet. The sedan's trunk holds 13.1 cubes.

Technology

Aside from the base Corolla L's entry-level 7.0-inch display, every Corolla includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six-speaker audio plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Integrated navigation and a JBL premium nine-speaker audio system are available on certain trims.

Key Competitors:

  • Honda Civic
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Volkswagen Jetta

2021 TOYOTA COROLLA SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 1.8 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Dynamic Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Continuously Variable Automatic
Trim
L Sedan
Class
Compact Passenger Car
Horsepower
139@6,100
Standard MPG
30/38
Body Style
Sedan
Drivetrain
FWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
60
Powertrain Warranty Miles
60,000
Full Warranty Miles
36,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
60
Full Warranty Months
36
Roadside Assistance Miles
unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
24
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Toyota announces a College Graduate Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$0 2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Toyota announces special APR Financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$500 Toyota announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models when financing through SETF. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$500 Toyota announces a Loyalty Bonus Cash offer to current lessees on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Toyota announces special APR Financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$0 0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - Toyota announces special APR Financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$0 1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Toyota announces special APR Financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$1500 Toyota announces a Customer Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$750 Toyota announces a Lease Cash offer for owners of a competitive brand vehicle on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$750 Toyota announces a Military Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021
$750 Toyota announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-04-2021