The Venerable Toyota Corolla Stands Strong

The 2022 Toyota Corolla soldiers on in the shrinking compact car segment.


2022 Toyota Corolla
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan.

More than a half-century has passed, and the Toyota Corolla is one of the most recognized models in the world. In the U.S. market, sedan and hatchback versions are available, as is a hybrid. The Corolla remains a value-oriented model with premium features available and a reliability record second to none.


2022 Toyota Corolla Overview


Toyota offers the 2022 Corolla in L, LE, XLE, SE, SE Nightshade Edition, SE Apex Edition, XSE, and XSE Apex Edition trims. A Hybrid LE model is also available. The Corolla Hatchback is marketed separately and is available in three trims. Toyota prices the 2022 Corolla from $20,175 to $28,460, plus a $1,010 freight charge.


2022 Toyota Corolla three-quarter front
2022 Toyota Corolla profile


Highlights of the 2022 Toyota Corolla


Exterior Features

The Toyota Corolla is a compact front-wheel-drive sedan (or hatchback) with room for five. We see styling similarities with the midsize Camry, although with a less ambitious canvas. The gaping grille, subtle body sculpting, and tame character lines supply interest. The Corolla isn’t a vanilla bean model, but it also is not as evocative as the Honda Civic and the Mazda3.

A full contingent of LED lights comes standard with the 2022 Corolla – headlights, accent lights, tail lights, and stop lights. The L and LE models come with 15-or 16-inch steel wheels, then give way to 16- or 18-inch alloy wheels on the other trims. Intermittent windshield wipers and power side mirrors are included. Among the options are heated side mirrors, an assortment of spoilers, dual-chrome tips, and adaptive lighting.


2022 Toyota Corolla front seats
2022 Toyota Corolla rear seats


Interior Highlights

The Corolla’s interior is roomy. It is ideal for four or it can fit five in a pinch. The 13.1 cubic foot trunk is slightly smaller than other models in its segment, but the rear seat folds down to expand the storage area.

On the lower end trims, the Corolla has a decidedly spartan vibe. Move up through the trim range and soft-touch materials cover the dashboard. In any case, hard plastics cover the lower sections of the dashboard.

Full power accessories, an adjustable steering column, and air conditioning are standard. Fabric-trimmed seats on some trims give way to imitation leather elsewhere. Among the list of options is a power-operated driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, and a power tilt-and-slide moonroof.


2022 Toyota Corolla dashboard
2022 Toyota Corolla front row


Key Safety Features

Choose a Corolla and you are guaranteed to find a package of driver-assist technologies. Bundled under the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 umbrella, this package includes automatic high beams. A pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and road sign assist are included. The bundle rounds out with lane tracing assist and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control. If you have a Corolla with the manual transmission, lane tracing assist is not part of the bundle.

There is only one feature not included with the bundle. And that is blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. That is not unusual for manufacturers are most separate it from the usual package.

Technology Overview

The standard multimedia package includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, six speakers, and one USB charge port. Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay are included. A three-month satellite radio trial and connected services are also standard.

Make your move to the LE trim and an 8-inch touch-screen display comes in. Other features available elsewhere include an additional USB port, a wireless charging pad, and a 9-speaker JBL audio system.


2022 Toyota Corolla rear three-quarter view


Competitive Set


Manufacturers are cutting back on their car models, with the domestics leading the charge. Neither Ford, Chevrolet, nor Dodge offers a compact car these days.

Toyota doubled down in recent years by adding a hybrid Corolla to the mix. They also brought back a hatchback and added the Corolla Cross utility vehicle. The Corolla name will soldier on and in a variety of permutations.

As for its competitors, the Honda Civic is the Corolla’s chief rival, followed by the Nissan Sentra. Other models in the segment include the Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Impreza, and the Kia Forte.


Drive Impressions


Toyota supplies a pair of engine choices with the 2022 Corolla. All L, LE, and XLE trims come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine generating 139 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. This engine routes power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

All other trims have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the front wheels with a CVT or in select trims a 6-speed manual gearbox is available.


2022 Toyota Corolla engine


Our test SE model had the larger engine and the manual gearbox. It supplied adequate step-off acceleration and passing power. Controlling the gear shifts is certainly a personal favorite, therefore it was a pleasant surprise to receive a Corolla equipped with one.

We found that the Corolla shifted cleanly in most cases, with a bit of hesitation felt from time to time. It may not match the precision of expensive sports cars, but it is far from the grinding shifters common to econoboxes in days past.

With a stick in hand, we held our gear shifts long and played with it enough to get a decent feel for the way it works. Third, fourth, and fifth gears were our favorites while on the highway. We climbed to sixth only when we didn’t need a burst of power to get around a semi or push down our favorite back roads. You won’t mistake the Corolla for a sports car, but the sporty interaction of three-pedal driving never gets old. Add in a downshift rev-matching and the difference is noticeable.

We recently drove a Volkswagen Golf R with a souped-up turbo engine, manual transmission, and all-wheel drive. Although we do not see this combination ideal for the sedan, a hot hatchback version of the Corolla might pull it off. This is something Toyota can do as the platform underpinning the Corolla also supports all-wheel drive.


2022 Toyota Corolla rear


Parting Thoughts


The 2022 Toyota Corolla fulfills its mission as an affordable, people mover. The current Corolla seems more sophisticated than in years past. We credit its suite of driver-assist features and technologies for raising the bar.

With more than 50 million Corollas sold since this model rolled out, the nameplate has stood the test of time. Its quality and reliability take second place to no one. As for shopping for one, we believe you can find a well-equipped model for under $25,000, or within the price range of today’s small sedans.


2022 Toyota Corolla logo


See AlsoIntroducing the 2023 Toyota Sequoia

Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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