The Right Spec: 2022 Toyota Corolla

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
the right spec 2022 toyota corolla

It might surprise readers to learn that the writing staff at TTAC do not spend the majority of their time in gullwinged supercars or week-old BMWs. We do occasionally put down the jar of Grey Poupon and clamber aboard practical cars – y’know, the type which people actually buy.

The humble Corolla is likely at or near the top of the list made by shoppers who want simple transportation. Your author knows more than a couple of people for whom Corolla could actually be a parallel for the term ‘default car’. This series examined the Civic a couple of months ago, so it’s only right we do the same for the other popular machine in this segment.

We’ll return to six-figure hypercars next week.

Toyota is in a unique position – for now, until Honda shows up with the Civic Hatchback later this year – in that it has both four- and five-door options for those seeking a car with the word ‘Corolla’ on its rump. The sedan has a starting price of $20,075, branded as an L trim, and equipped with a 1.8L engine making 139 horsepower. That’s harnessed by the bane of all enthusiasts, a continuously variable transmission.

For just $450 more, dealers are likely to have the LE trim in stock, adding the likes of a better infotainment system and a fold-down armrest for rear seat urchins plus a USB port back there to limit complaining about not having anywhere to charge the all-important handheld device. The LE also includes 16-inch wheels (still steelies), automatic climate control, and – oddly – variable intermittent wipers compared to the single-speed intermittent motor on the L. Your author truly thought that latter feature went out in the ’90s.

Bumping up to the 2.0L four-banger with a much more acceptable 169 horsepower and the six-speed manual in sedan form means taking a walk to the SE trim which stickers at $23,225. If it is this type of powertrain you seek (and it should be), the smart money will look across the showroom to the Corolla Hatch. Its entry-level trim is the SE, equipped with a 2.0L and the all-important stickshift. Price? Just $20,815.

Other bonuses with the SE hatchback? Despite a sticker just $290 more than the LE sedan, it features – in addition to the better drivetrain – a boatload of equipment not found on the similarly priced four-door. Push-button start is part of the deal (and yes, that makes a difference for some drivers who hate digging for keys), as is a leather-trimmed steering wheel and extra USB charging ports. Other infotainment details are equal, so that’s a wash. In terms of driving aids, the manual transmission forces deletion of lane tracing assist but all other items like dynamic radar cruise control remain intact.

Plus, it’s a hatchback. While the sedan is about 10 inches longer than the hatch, the latter has equivalent headroom and front legroom, though rear seat occupants may feel the pinch with less hip and leg space thanks to platform differences. At least the cargo area is much more versatile, so judge your priorities accordingly.

Our priorities include a manual transmission and more horsepower, making our choice easy.

Please note the prices listed here are in United States dollars and currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Polka King Polka King on Aug 09, 2021

    Angry, ugly, hostile face. But what else is new.

  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Aug 09, 2021

    Why not a column on a vehicle that will actually sell more than a 'handful' of models, the Toyota Corolla Cross? I am eagerly awaiting TTAC's comments on that vehicle.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.