Crapwagon Outtake: 2005 Toyota Corolla XRS

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
crapwagon outtake 2005 toyota corolla xrs

As a father, I have to rationalize my automotive wanderlust at times. I can’t go buy a sportscar on a whim, no matter how great the deal, as I still have to feed and transport my children. But something interesting with four doors gives me pause. Also, as my oldest child creeps closer to driving age, I ponder what would be ideal for her.

The Corolla hasn’t been an exciting car for decades, and I’d imagine that few Americans even considered the vaunted AE86 chassis to be a performance car until a dozen years (and countless imported DVDs) had passed. The Corolla is the car that cemented the “beige” reputation of Toyota. Reliable, boring, dependable, slow.

After all, my mother has driven nothing but Corollas for 25 years. Need I say more?

Occasionally, however, someone in Toyota City accidentally switches from decaf for a day, and something special happens. The 2005 Toyota Corolla XRS is the result.

The 170-plus horsepower VVTi engine, typically found in Celicas and Lotus Elises, makes the basic commuter penalty box a relative rocketship. A six-speed gearbox was the only transmission available. Beware when shopping, however, as the XRS nameplate came back a few years later. That car offered a big-bore 4-cylinder out of a Camry that had some extra power, but never had the high redline of the early car.

There are a half-dozen or so of these for sale right now. At $8,300, this is priced right in the middle, and looks pretty good save for a possible dent on the passenger door — it’s hard to tell in dealer photos, so often taken with Motorola RAZR phone at best.

I love the deep grey paint; perfect for blending in with the rest of the more basic Toyotas on the road.

I’d consider the door dent a bit of urban camouflage: I’d even consider pre-denting a bumper or two.

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Dec 04, 2015

    $8300 for a 10 year old Corolla with Takata air bags and the highest failure rate of all Takata equipped vehicles of over 2%..Unrepaired body work screams deferred maintenance. Forget it.

  • Ajla Ajla on Dec 04, 2015

    One thing that I've learned from this series is that used car prices remain way higher than what I'm willing to pay.

  • Jeffrey An all electric entry level vehicle is needed and as a second car I'm interested. Though I will wait for it to be manufactured in the states with US components eligible for the EV credit.
  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.