2022 Toyota Corolla: Which Trim Level Should You Choose?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The Toyota Corolla drives out of the gate with muted style and a modest price tag. There are a few trim levels available, and all within $6,000 of each other, which means there are only good choices. It’s no wonder the Corolla is one of the best selling cars in the world. This will illustrate the best Toyota Corolla trim level.

Corolla L: The Basic Trim Level

Toyota Corolla L | Toyota

With Toyota’s baseline Corolla L, the name of the game is basics. For a $20,000 car, the Corolla doesn’t slouch when it comes to safety. The Corolla has automatic emergency braking and full-speed adaptive cruise control, along with the usual refinements like traction control and ABS. It also has Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 package, which includes emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure with steering assist, and lane-keeping assist.

Otherwise, the L offers little in the way of innovation. It has a 1.8-liter engine that produces 139 hp, mated to either an “Intelligent six-speed manual transmission” or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). According to Toyota, the Corolla L sips fuel gingerly to achieve an estimated 38 mpg on the highway. Drivers looking for a bit more pickup may want to keep reading.

Corolla LE: Same Power, More Features

Toyota Corolla LE | Toyota

For just $500 more, The Corolla LE is slightly better-outfitted than the L. Beyond creature comforts like automatic climate control and cup holders, the LE has 16-inch wheels and an 8-inch touchscreen. The LE uses the same powerplant as the L unless opting for the Hybrid LE. Despite the low cost for all the additional features, It’s not quite close enough to the best trim level.

Where the L had no available factory options, the LE has two. The Convenience Package comprises a smart key system with push-button start, 16-inch alloys with big 205mm tires, blind-spot warning indicators, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). Additionally, the Premium Package includes everything from Convenience, along with a power tilt/slide moonroof.

Corolla SE: More Power, Apex Edition


The Corolla’s lineup gets spicy with its SE variant, which boasts a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder powerplant producing 169 horsepower. This bumps the price up to $23,225 but includes a plethora of other features. The SE comes with a Sport driving mode, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a sporty front grille.

Additionally, it has more available packages which include the smart key system and the blind spot monitor (BSM) with RCTA. For a bit more style, the Nightshade Edition comes with some blacked-out trim and wheels, or the Apex Edition for enthusiasts, for $25,610 total, which includes a front lip spoiler, rear diffuser, and body kit. The Apex Edition also includes sport suspension and exhaust. It’s available on the SE, XLE, and XSE Corolla variants. With the Apex Edition, the SE becomes one of the best Corolla trim levels.

Corolla XLE: Intro To Comfort

Toyota Corolla XLE | Toyota

Starting at $24,475, the XLE takes a step in the direction of comfort. It includes the moonroof and 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as heated front seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. It includes Safety Sense and the BSM with RCTA. The XLE’s powerplant downgrades to 1.8-liters but still retains its sport driving mode. Only the CVT is available in the XLE.

This Corolla trim offers the Connectivity Package, which comes with a premium audio system, including an 8-inch touchscreen and dynamic navigation. It also has Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and nine speakers.

Corolla XSE: The Best Trim Level

Toyota Corolla XSE | Toyota

As the cream of the crop, the XSE starts at $25,975. It includes the 18-inch alloy wheels and all the comforts of the XLE but adds the 2.0-liter powerplant. Its Apex Edition runs a total price of up to $28,360 but axes the navigation and wireless charging. The Connectivity Package is still available, along with the advanced lighting package which includes adaptive front lighting and ambient lighting. Thankfully the XSE still comes with a manual transmission.

As the Corolla base price starts low, it makes sense to go with the most expensive trim level. The important choice is whether or not to go for the Apex Edition, as it doesn’t include some of the creature comforts in the XLE or XSE. Depending on how much performance is desired, either the SE Apex or XSE is the best Toyota Corolla trim level.

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