2017 Toyota Corolla XSE Review

October 11th, 2016 by

XSE front-min

The all-new 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE

It’s Canada’s best selling car of the year–the Toyota Corolla. Sophisticated and powerful, the new 2017 Toyota Corolla comes restyled inside and out, offers standard safety features across all models, and has new nameplates for the sport model. The adjustments to this car might seem minor, but Toyota has done a great job keeping up with sleek competition and keeping this car fresh every year. I had the opportunity to take this vehicle for a brief test drive around town and it performs well like its predecessors. I’ve always been impressed with the Corolla, and as a female driver, it definitely appeals to me despite its bold, and sporty appearance.


Toyota has introduced some new nameplates in regards to the Corolla Sport model. The previous “S” model becomes “SE” and the CVT sport model XSE replaces the previous tech package. I’m guessing they introduced these to align with other Toyota lineup models like the RAV4 SE and the Camry SE, to name a few. The XSE name sounds more luxurious for this model (which in fact it is) than the previous naming.

XSE back 2-min

The sport model has this fierce, threatening, and pointy front bumper that looks like it will fiend off other vehicles in front of you. You don’t want others getting in your way with this beast. The Corolla now features standard LED headlamps on the front and the rear, and these cool angular LED daytime running lights that are accentuated by this claw design also seen on the Toyota 86. You should have no problem seeing in the dark with these vibrant lights.

XSE front 2-min

The rear hasn’t changed much, but it still sports a rear lip spoiler.

XSE rear-min

Along with the Corolla SE upgrade package, the XSE has 17″ aluminum alloy wheels.

XSE 1-min


As far as the interior goes, there are quite a few updates with this model in terms of the dash, seats, and technology. The XSE model features beautiful black SofTex upholstery with a contrast of blue stitching on the seats, door trim and dash. The XSE comes with push button start, a 7″ customizable touchscreen display, premium navigation, integrated SiriusXM Satelitte Radio with a 6 speaker audio system, backup camera, Bluetooth®, and MP3 compatibility. Below the screen are some fun new toggle switches for climate control. Along with the LE and SE models, this package has standard Auto Climate Control equipment which allows you to set a desired temperature and have the system do the rest. The seats are comfortable and there is a fair amount of leg room in the back. You’ll also find some high and low settings for your heated front seats to keep you warm during the winter.

Other features include:

  • Power slide and tilt moonroof
  • 8-way power adjustable drivers seat
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror with HomeLink garage door opener
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Smart key entry system
  • Windshield wiper de-icer


The engine remains the same as with older models. It’s a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with FWD, 132 hp and 128lbs of torque. Smaller base packages like the CE now come with a 6-speed transmission. The XSE is only available in automatic CVTi-S (intelligent shift) transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters located on the steering wheel. It’s pretty fun to drive on manual mode and it shifts quickly. It also has sport mode which enhances acceleration when you’re trying to pass someone on the highway. The Corolla is still one of the most fuel efficient cars in the Toyota lineup. On the highway it gets 6.7L/100km, and for city driving, 8.3L/100km.


New car buyers not only look for reliability and fuel economy, but also maximum safety. Toyota has recognized that the Toyota Safety Sense™ should be available to every mainstream buyer in the compact sedan segment. All Corolla models now have this safety feature which includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; lane departure alert with steering assist; dynamic radar cruise control; and automatic high beams.

While I was on a test drive with this vehicle I played around with the features on the steering wheel, namely the lane departure alert with steering assist, and the dynamic radar cruise control below the multi-information display shortcut buttons. In the event that you may deviate from your lane, the lane departure alert with steering assist notifies you through visual and auditory warnings and corrects your steering input to help keep the vehicle in its lane. This works even when your turn signal isn’t activated, and it does this through an in-vehicle camera that detects visible white and yellow lane markings on the road.

XSE int 2-min

The pre-collision system with pedestrian detection is a nifty feature which also uses an in-vehicle camera and laser radar. It basically helps you avoid head on collisions by detecting oncoming objects, or people, in front of your vehicle. I intentionally didn’t fiddle around with this feature since I was only taking it for a test drive, and I wasn’t in the mood for scaring pedestrians. This feature will definitely be useful this upcoming winter with the added Brake Assist. This system automatically applies the brakes if the driver hasn’t depressed the pedal within a set time. Of course this only works if it detects a potential collision, not if the road is icy up ahead.

Dynamic radar cruise control isn’t the same as your normal cruise control. It actually sends out a sonar to the vehicle in front of you by tracking their speed and automatically adjusts your vehicle speed to maintain a safe following distance. Pretty cool right? It’s located in the front Toyota emblem which makes for a flush surfaced badge.

Lastly, the automatic high beam feature lowers your risk of getting into a nighttime accident. It uses an in-vehicle camera to detect both the headlights of oncoming traffic and the taillights of vehicles ahead. When activated, it automatically switches between high and low beams when appropriate, providing you with the most light possible without dazzling other drivers.

I loved driving the new 2017 Corolla XSE for the purpose of this review. It’s a fun little car to drive and the new features are quite impressive for this model year. However I would like to note that this almost-fully loaded model doesn’t come with a heated steering wheel like the SE upgrade package has. Nonetheless, I think the model specific features such as the 7″ LCD screen, HomeLink garage door opener, and tire pressure monitoring system make up for this minor loss. I can’t wait to see this car on the road and see if anyone makes any exterior modifications to it.


Posted in Edmonton, Models