2017 Toyota Corolla XSE Review: Reliable, Stylish and Great MPG

Toyota Corolla Xse Best Compact Car

Even After 5 Decades, Still Super Reliable

The Toyota Corolla is not a new car by any means. It has been around since 1966 and was the best selling compact car by 1974, and with good reason. The Corolla is a no-frills car offering the reliability and safety it has stood by for the last 51 years. I don’t generally road trip in a compact sedan: the luggage alone takes up tons of space. However, I decided to take the Corolla on a recent solo trip to the Virginia Mountains, and I fell in love.

Looking for something larger? Take a look at the Toyota Highlander. 

Who this car is for

  • Singles or a couple who prefer a compact sedan
  • Small families with one or two young children (if a compact is your style)
  • City dwellers with limited parking options
  • Long distance commuters looking for efficiency in a stylish compact sedan
  • Teens/New Drivers
2017 Toyota Corolla Xse Best Compact Car

The Toyota Corolla XSE has a stylish, and sporty feel for a compact. Photo: Jenn Greene

What it costs

  • Base price for this model $22,680.00
  • Entune Premium Audio Package $525.00
  • Door Sill Enhancements $199.00
  • Cargo Net $49.00
  • Rear Bumper Protector $79.00
  • Carpet/Mat Set $224.00
  • Total for XSE Model with upgrades $24,621.00

It’s Compact, Yet surprisingly comfy

I’m not sure how, but Toyota has managed to build a compact sedan that feels much roomier—especially in the back. I went to a conference and had a ton of bags to bring home, they fit in the rear with plenty of room to spare. I didn’t even need to lay down the seats for space, but if you do there is a 60/40 split for even more cargo space.

Toyota Corolla Xse Best Compact Car

Plenty of room to spare in the back seat of this compact sedan. Photo: Jenn Greene

As for comfort, the Corolla is equipped with an eight-way power driver’s seat making it possible to find the perfect setting. If you have a picky passenger, their seat has four-way power adjustable seats.  The front seats are also heated—which I didn’t need for this trip, but I’m always happy to have. As for my purse, I was traveling with a larger tote and the best place for it to sit was the front passenger seat, as I was solo. It has a tiny center console, so you definitely don’t have a lot of extra storage in the front.

The SofTex seats were truly fantastic. This leather-like seat is not only comfortable and hugs you as you sit, but it is also water and stain resistant. During my three plus hour car ride I never had to get out to stretch, the seats were that comfy. Oh and to make sure you are all plugged in for your trip there is a 12V port, an aux cord port, and a USB port in the front.

Toyota Corolla Xse Best Compact Car

The SofTex seats in the Corolla are super comfy. Photo: Jenn Greene

Fuel efficiency to rival a hybrid

I was absolutely blown away by the Corolla’s fuel efficiency. Sure compact cars are efficient, and save on gas, but 41 MPG highway up and down mountains truly wowed me. With the simple push of a button the Corolla XSE was in ECO mode. That eases the gas pedal output and adjusts the air conditioner (if you are using it) to help enhance fuel efficiency. The new design also helps with fuel efficiency: sure it looks good on the road, but it’s also keeping MPG high.

2017 Toyota Corolla Xse Review Best Compact Car

Yes, you are reading that correctly. 41 MPG in the Corolla XSE. Photo: Jenn Greene

If you want a hybrid, here are 6 reasons to love a Prius 

Safety Comes Standard

One thing you can count on with the Toyota brand is safety coming before anything. With many vehicles you have to pay extra for top safety features. Not in a Toyota.

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection- using an in-vehicle camera and radar. This system will help you to avoid a collision. Simply put, if you don’t brake in time the car may do it for you to help reduce speed.
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Automatic High Beams ( a favorite feature of mine living in the country, you never know where the deer are)
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control- makes highway driving easier and less tiring on the driver by maintaining a safe distance with the vehicle ahead.
  • Back Up Camera
Toyota Corolla Xse Best Compact Car

You won’t pay extra for safety in the Toyota Corolla. Photo: Jenn Greene

What I loved

  • Sporty fun design and comfort in a small package
  • Roomy interior for a compact sedan
  • Power sunroof
  • Comfortable leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and hands-free controls
  • Excellent gas mileage with an estimated 35 mpg (I averaged 41 mpg)
Toyota Corolla Xse Best Compact Car

Sporty front facia on the Toyota Corolla XSE. Photo: Jenn Greene

What you should know

  • Corolla is available in six models, standard price starts at $18,500.00
  • Back-up camera is standard in all models
  • Toyota Safety Sense Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control -standard in all models
  • 8 airbags in all models

The 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE was safe, comfortable, and capable even in the mountains of Virginia. Whether you are looking to downgrade to a smaller vehicle, or are in the market for fuel efficiency, take a look at the Toyota Corolla.

2017 Toyota Corolla

Disclosure: Toyota provided the Corolla for my review. All opinions are my own.

Mom, Wife, Writer and Avid Traveler Jenn wears many hats. She grew up in the car industry and has... More about Jenn Greene