2021 Toyota Corolla

MSRP $19,825 - $22,275

Ranked #10 in Sedan

7.7

Overall Rating

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2021 Toyota Corolla Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 7, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Toyota Corolla Sedan received a major generation upgrade for the 2020 model year and it was fully redesigned. So it comes mostly unchanged for 2021 but it gains some significant feature upgrades. For the 2021 model year, the Corolla lineup comes with a new Apex Edition that adds more sportiness to the SE and XSE trims. The engine and transmission options remain the same and the same is the case with most of the feature-set. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Great ride quality 

Spacious interior

Superb set of standard safety features 

Cons

Slower than rivals

Noisy engine options

Cramped rear row

What's New?

New XSE Apex Edition trim

Standards Android Auto functionality

Rear-seat side airbags

Automatic engine start-stop feature 


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$19825

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

120 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

110 cu.in.

horsepower

139 hp @ 6100 rpm

torque

126 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm

transmission

CVT

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

10.8/10.2 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

106.3 in.

length

182.5 in.

width

70.1 in.

height

56.5 in.

curb weight

2840 lbs.

ground clearance

5.1 in.

capacity

passenger volume

88.6 cu ft.

cargo volume

13.1 cu ft.

towing capacity

5100 lbs.

payload capacity

825 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8.2 sec.

zero to 100 mph

21.5 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

174 ft.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

L$19,825 onwards

LE$20,275 onwards

SE$22,275 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Toyota Corolla in Black Sand Pearl color
Black Sand Pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

8.5

Engine and Performance

8.0

Fuel Economy

8.5

Interior

8.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

7.0

7.7

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.7

Overall Rating


The 2021 Corolla comes in 8 trim lines with two available engine options and two transmission options. All variants of the Corolla are front-wheel-drive. The 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan competes with the very usual competition in the segment which includes the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Hyundai Elantra. We have assembled the very basic base trims of each car equipped with the smallest standard engines for comparison so that we know how good they are for the least price paid. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan front angle view
2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan rear angle view

8.0/10
Engine and Performance

8.5/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

7.0/10
Competition


2021 Toyota Corolla Features

The Toyota Corolla is available in eight trims in total among which three are special edition trims and two of them are new for 2021. The main five trims are the base L followed by LE, SE, XLE, and the top-end XSE trim. The SE trim gets two special edition sub-trims which are the SE NIghtshade edition and the SE Apex Edition. The XSE trim also gets an Apex Edition which is the most expensive trim in the Corolla lineup. 

There are two engines on offer with the 2021 Corolla Sedan which includes a 1.8 L Inline-4 which is the standard base engine in the L, LE, and XLE trims and comes mated to a CVT transmission. Whereas the SE and XSE trims and their special editions get a stronger 2.0 L Inline-4 engine mated to a more advanced Dynamic-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) transmission as standard. The following table shows the detailed list of features and pricing of each trim of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan-

Trims

L

LE

XLE

SE

SE Nightshade Edition

SE Apex Edition

XSE

XSE Apex Edition

MSRP

$20,025

$20,475

$24,425

$22,475

$23,175

$25,170

$25,925

$28,310

Key Features

LED headlights with LED accent lights

16-in. wide-vent steel wheels

Power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade

Dynamic-Shift CVT with paddle shifters

Blacked-out 18-in. alloy wheels

Available 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT)

18-in. machined alloy wheels 

SofTex-trimmed heated front sport seats with sport fabric inserts


 
 

Black front grille with sport mesh insert

Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors

16-in. alloy wheels

Audio Plus with 8-in. Touchscreen infotainment unit


 

Normal and Sport driving modes

Sport mesh black front grille with a black bumper and surround

Sport mesh black front grille with bronze/black front spoiler and C-shaped accents

Gray Metallic sport side rocker panels and rear spoiler

Sport mesh black front grille with bronze/black front spoiler and C-shaped accents

 

7-in. Touchscreen infotainment unit

Automatic climate control

SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with sport fabric inserts

Available 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT)

Black sport side rocker panels and rear spoiler

18-in. black flow-formed aluminum wheels 

Power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade

18-in. black flow-formed aluminum wheels

 

SiriusXM with a 3-month All-Access trial subscription 

Premium fabric-trimmed 6-way adjustable driver's seat

Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel

Sport mesh Gray Metallic front grille with LED accent lighting

Black exterior accents: mirror caps, door handles, and roof-mounted shark-fin antenna

Bronze/black side rocker panels and rear diffuser accent

SofTex-trimmed heated front sport seats with sport fabric inserts

Bronze/black side rocker panels and rear diffuser accent

 

Integrated backup camera

4-way adjustable front passenger seat

7-in. color TFT Multi-Information Display


 

18-in. machined alloy wheels 

Black Toyota emblems and rear badges

Lowered sport-tuned suspension

Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel with paddle shifters

Lowered sport-tuned suspension

 

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) 

Remote keyless entry system

Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) 

Gray Metallic sport side rocker panels and color-keyed rear spoiler

 

Sport-tuned exhaust with conical-shaped tip

 

Sport-tuned exhaust with conical-shaped tip

 

Amazon Alexa Compatibility

8-in. Touchscreen infotainment unit

 

Premium sport seats with sport fabric inserts

 

Blacked-out Corolla, Apex, and Toyota badging

 

Blacked-out Corolla, Apex, and Toyota badging

 

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

       

Interior bronze contrast stitching

 

Interior bronze contrast stitching

We Recommend

The 2021 Toyota Corolla SE Apex Edition would be the best trim to choose. It comes with a superior set of features along with the stronger 2.0 L engine and a sport-tuned suspension. It also comes bundled with the better Dynamic-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) while a 6-speed intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) is also an available option. The trim also gets superior sporty styling inside as well as outside and for its $25,170 price tag, it is a superb option delivering an impressive package.

2021 Toyota Corolla Engine and Performance

8.0/10

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan is offered with two engine options which are a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine in the L, LE, and XLE trim and a 2.0L 4-cylinder Dynamic Force engine in the SE, SE Nightshade Edition, SE Apex Edition, XSE, and XSE Apex Edition models. The base engine is mated to a normal CVT transmission and puts out 139 hp and 126 lb-ft of maximum power and torque. The stronger 2.0 L engine is mated to a Dynamic-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and produces 169 hp and 151 lb-ft. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan driving view

All of the Corolla trims are FWD models and AWD is not available with any trims. All trims of the Corolla from the XLE trim and upwards get two driving modes which are Normal and Sport while from the SE trim and upwards, the trims which are equipped with the stronger engine, also get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The performance of the Corolla Sedan with either engine does not give out surprising or even appreciable performance. The engines lack power and the base engine attains a speed of 60mph in 8.8 seconds and crosses the quarter-mile mark in 17.5 seconds. 

Models

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan L

2021 Honda Civic LX

2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.0

2021 Hyundai Elantra SE

MSRP

$20,025

$21,050

$20,650

$19,650

Engine

1.8 L Inline-4

2.0 L Inline-4

2.0 L Inline-4

2.0 L Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

CVT

CVT

6-speed shiftable automatic

CVT

Power (hp @ rpm)

139 hp @ 6100 rpm

158 hp @ 6500 rpm

155 hp @ 6000 rpm

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

126 ft-lbs. @ 3900 rpm

138 ft-lbs. @ 4200 rpm

150 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm

132 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm

0-60 mph (sec)

8.8

8.2

8.0

8.4

Quarter Mile (sec)

17.5

16.3

16.0

16.5

Top Speed (mph)

118

130

131

116

The Mazda 3 is the best performer and produces the most torque while the Honda Civic outputs the most power. The Corolla is the slowest among all of these machines when equipped with the base engine. But the thing is all other cars when opted with their stronger available engines perform significantly better while Corolla’s stronger engine is not particularly a better performer. On the performance side, the 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan is a disappointment.

How well does the 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan Drive and Handle?

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan is definitely not the best handling machine in the segment. It doesn’t tackle corners aggressively or provide a properly engaging driving experience. The tires also fail to provide enough grip and traction in the lower-spec trims. The SE and XSE trim adds larger 18-inch wheels which enhance the overall driving experience while also improving the handling a little bit. Other than that there are no significant improvements from these so-called ‘sporty’ trims. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan ride and handling

The Apex Edition trims come equipped with a sport-tuned suspension with increased stabilizer bar and coil spring rates which do bring more stability and increase the cornering traction coupled with the 18-inch wheels. These make a difference, but still don’t drastically improve the handling and driving dynamics of the 2021 Corolla. The ride quality is good and the suspension socks up undulation of the road fairly well. Overall, this is not a machine that is aimed at delivering an enthusiastic or engaging driving experience like the Mazda3. 

How efficient is the braking performance of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan? 

The braking performance of the 2021 Toyota Corolla can be termed impressive. The sedan is equipped with 10.8-inch brake rotors in the front and 10.2-inch ones in the rear bringing the vehicle to a stop effectively. The Corolla sedan stops from a distance of 60mph at a distance of 115 ft. which is really good. The brakes are progressive with good bite and hence Toyota has managed to keep the weight of this sedan below 3,000lbs, which also contributes to stopping the machine in a short period of time. 

Model

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan L

2021 Honda Civic LX

2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.0

2021 Hyundai Elantra SE

Brake Rotors Front

10.8

11.1

11.02

11.0

Brake Rotors Rear

10.2

10.2

10.43

8.0

Curb Weight

2,910

2,771

3,100

2,725

Braking Distance 60-0 (ft.)

115

112

123

134

The 2021 Honda Civic is the absolute best performer in the braking department. Under hard braking, it comes to a stop from 60mph at a distance of just 112 ft. which is extremely short in the segment. The Corolla also follows very closely with an impressive braking distance. The Mazda comes next and being the most sporty one among these cars, its braking capability is not as impressive as expected whereas the Elantra has the least powerful brakes among all of them. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Fuel Economy

8.5/10

The 2021 Toyota Corolla performs in the mid terrain in terms of fuel efficiency. The base, least powerful engine obviously provides the most fuel efficiency. And those figures for such an underpowered engine are not exceptionally high, but just respectable. The Corolla delivers a fuel economy of 30 mpg in the city, 38 on the highway, and a combined efficiency of 33 mpg. Along with a comparatively bigger fuel tank of 13.2 gallons, the Corolla can travel up to a distance of around 435 miles in the combined road and driving conditions. 

Models

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan L

2021 Honda Civic LX

2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.0

2021 Hyundai Elantra SE

MPG (City)

30

30

28

33

MPG (Highway)

38

38

36

43

MPG (Combined)

33

33

31

37

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

13.2

12.4

13.2

12.4

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

396/502/435

372/471/408

370/475/409

409/533/459

The Hyundai Elantra is the standout performer in the fuel economy segment providing the best mpg figures and range. The Corolla and Civic are on the same turf delivering an above-average combined fuel economy of 33mpg. The Mazda which is the sportiest also is the least efficient among the competitors. The Corolla doesn’t perform at a top-class level, but the economy figures are definitely good. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Interior

8.0/10

The 2021 Corolla sedan features a spacious front row which is adequately enough, while the second row is not spacious enough. The seats are fabric trimmed in lower trims L and LE trim while the XLE trim features SofTex trimmed seats with heating functionality. The SE and XLE trim upgrades the seats to Premium sport seats with sport fabric inserts while the Apex Editions get a bronze interior trim stitching. The driver seat is also 8-way adjustable while the front passenger seat is 4-way adjustable with a seatback pocket. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan front seats

The interior of the Corolla is upscale and the materials are of good quality. The seats are comfortable and won’t tire you on long journeys while larger occupants in the rear row would feel cramped and uncomfortable. The shoulder room, as well as legroom in the rear row, is tight and that makes three people seated in the back very uncomfortable. The cargo capacity of the Corolla is also not really good. It comes with a cargo capacity of 13.1 cu-ft which is sufficient enough for carrying enough luggage for a long trip. 

Models

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan L

2021 Honda Civic LX

2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.0

2021 Hyundai Elantra SE

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.3/54.0/42.0

39.3/57.0/42.3

38.0/55.7/42.3

40.6/56.5/42.3

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

37.1/51.7/34.8

37.1/55.0/37.4

37.2/53.5/35.1

37.3/55.6/38.0

Cargo Capacity

13.1

15.1

13.2

14.2

The Elantra is the most spacious among all of these cars and provides the most spacious travel experience. The rear row space is extremely good and the legroom is exceptional. The cargo capacity is the most in the Honda Civic which is second to the Elantra in terms of interior passenger space. The Toyota happens to be the least spacious among these cars which makes it a disappointing offering. The following are some of the most important interior features in the Toyota Corolla-

  • Premium sport seats with sport fabric insert with 6-way adjustable driver’s and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket
  • Automatic climate control with dust and pollen filter and push-button controls
  • SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with sport fabric inserts
  • Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic 3-spoke steering wheel 
  • Metallic interior trim with chrome interior door handles
  • Driver and front passenger heated seats
  • Ambient lighting

How intuitive is the 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan’s infotainment unit?

The 2021 Toyota Corolla comes equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment unit in the base variant and it gets upgraded to an 8-inch unit in the higher trims. The touchscreen system is easy to use and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard features along with Amazon Alexa compatibility. An audio system is a 6-speaker unit as standard while the available Audio Plus system features a JBL 9-speakers unit with a subwoofer and amplifier.

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan infotainment screen

The following are some of the most important infotainment features-

  • Premium instrumentation cluster with speedometer and tachometer, 
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Six speakers, 
  • Android Auto & Apple CarPlay
  • Amazon Alexa compatible
  • Bluetooth wireless technology, 
  • SiriusXM with 3-month All Access trial subscription

2021 Toyota Corolla Exterior

8.0/10

The Corolla looks impressive and beautiful from the outside. The sportier-looking XSE, the blacked-out Nightshade Edition, and the Apex editions with extended styling are extremely beautiful with distinct design touches unique to each trim. Even the base trim is pretty good-looking, but they are just plain and simple compared to the higher, more stylish-looking trims. All of the trims feature LED headlights in the front while the higher trims feature high-grade LED headlights and accent lighting.

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan 

The front grille differs slightly according to the trim chosen. The L, LE, and XLE trims come with a black front grille with a sport mesh insert whereas the SE trims come with a Sport mesh grille in different finishes according to the ‘Edition’ chosen while the Apex Edition trims further come with a black front spoiler and C-shaped accents. The base trim of the Corolla comes with 15 and 16-inch steel wheels in the base L and LE trims while the XLE trim comes with alloy wheels which get upgraded to 18-inch alloys from the SE trims and upwards. Overall the 2021 Corolla is a very good-looking machine.

Models

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan L

2021 Honda Civic LX

2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.0

2021 Hyundai Elantra SE

Curb Weight (lbs)

2,910

2,771

3,100

2,725

Length (inches)

182.3

182.7

183.5

184.1

Width (inches)

70.1

70.9

70.7

71.9

Height (inches)

56.5

55.7

56.9

55.7

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.3

6.7

5.5

5.3

Wheelbase (inches)

106.3

106.3

107.3

107.1

All cars in this comparison are good-looking but in their own distinct ways. The Mazda is definitely the most sporty machine with some stealthy styling and a curvy and aerodynamic design language. The Elantra and the Corolla are the more beautiful and elegant-looking machines that come with a classy vibe. The Civic, however, looks the most basic and outdated and is not a looker among these competitors. The Mazda is the heaviest while the Elantra is the lightest and the Civic is the most practical one with a ground clearance of 6.7-inches. The following are some of the most important exterior features of the Toyota Corolla-

  • 18-inch alloy wheels of different styles 
  • Single exhaust with dual chrome tips 
  • Sport-tuned exhaust with conical-shaped tip
  • Gray metallic sport side rocker panels and color-keyed rear spoiler
  • Adaptive Front-Lighting System (AFS)
  • LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) accent lighting
  • Black front grille with sport mesh insert
  • Sport mesh dark gray metallic front grille

2021 Toyota Corolla Safety

9.0/10

The standard set of safety features in the Toyota Corolla is super impressive. It comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) that consists of a set of high-tech safety features. And this results in very good safety ratings from both agencies that tested the Corolla. NHTSA has tested and rated the 2021 Corolla and it gets an overall 5-star rating and the same perfect score in all individual parameters except for rollover rating for which it gets a 4-star rating. IIHS has selected the Toyota Corolla as its Top Safety Pick which further concretes that the Toyota Corolla is a super-safe car. The following are its standard safety features-

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) 
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)
  • Road Sign Assist (RSA)
  • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
  • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)

2021 Toyota Corolla Competition

7.0/10

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs 2021 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is sportier than the Corolla and also has stronger brakes. It also features a slightly more spacious interior while in terms of fuel efficiency both are on par with each other. The Corolla, however, is the more updated car with a better-looking exterior and interior. The Corolla is also a significantly safer sedan than the Honda. All of this makes Corolla a better option among these two.

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs 2021 Mazda Mazda3

The Mazda Mazda3 is the most sporty option among all of these cars. It is more engaging to drive and handles better in corners as well as faster in a straight line. The Mazda is also the more spacious option with a more spacious second-row space. Based on exterior looks, both of these machines are good looking while the Mazda is the more sporty-looking one. The Corolla is only slightly more efficient than the Mazda. All of this makes the Mazda3 the better choice among these two.

2021 Mazda Mazda3

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs 2021 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is a beautiful-looking sedan that is the most spacious among all of these cars. It also provides the most fuel efficiency which adds to the package significantly. Compared to the Corolla, the Elantra is also the faster and more powerful option. The Toyota Corolla has stronger brakes and is the safer option among these two cars. However, the Elantra is surely the better package for the price paid.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

 

2021 Toyota Corolla Final Verdict

The Toyota Corolla is a good option in this segment. But is it really good enough? The Corolla is definitely the safest option among the competition while it lacks some other significant features. The Corolla lacks the punch to be driven enthusiastically and even the higher and sportier models also lack engaging handling and driving dynamics. The interior is upscale and of good quality, but the space on the inside is really low in the second row compared to the rivals. Overall in this segment, the Corolla is not the best option as the Mazda3 delivers a more sporty and engaging driving experience while the Elantra is more spacious and fuel-efficient. 

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