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Toyota Corolla LE Vs. Toyota Corolla S: Which Is Better?

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The Toyota Corolla LE and S models are two peas in a pod. While their exteriors are markedly different, the rest of their components are just about the same. It’s hard to decide between the two. 
If you’re looking for an affordable used car that’s packed with technology and safety features and is extremely reliable, a 2016 Toyota Corolla might interest you. But which trim level should you choose? What are the differences between the most popular trims?
Thankfully
Jerry
, the licensed insurance broker app, is here with a comparison guide between the 2016 Toyota Corolla LE and S trim levels. We’ve also got hot tips on how to save on your
car insurance
and slash your
Toyota Corolla insurance costs
by hundreds every year. 

Pricing 

The Corolla is Toyota’s economy compact sedan. You can save money on either the LE or the S by picking up a slightly older model, but which one is less expensive upfront? We’ve broken down the original pricing versus the depreciation in the table below.
Model
Starting MSRP
Average used price
2016 Toyota Corolla LE
$18,735
$12,953
2016 Toyota Corolla S
$19,365
$14,478
You’ll save a few thousand dollars upfront if you opt for the LE trim. This is a good way to shop if the upfront cost is your biggest priority when browsing used cars. Another factor to consider is the true cost of ownership for each car.
A good way to calculate the true cost of ownership is to look at the estimated five-year ownership cost for each vehicle. This will roughly break down what you can expect in terms of reliability, maintenance, and insurance costs for each vehicle. We checked with Edmunds for both models.
The five-year cost of ownership for the LE is $32,759. The ownership cost for the S is $33,735. That’s not to say this will be your cost since you’re buying the car used, but rather if you bought the car brand-new back in 2016. The tool gives you an overview of the costs you can expect as you continue to drive the car.
One of the biggest factors in the true cost of ownership is the cost of car insurance—thousands of dollars over five years! The
Toyota Corolla LE insurance costs
are $4,757 and the S insurance costs are $4,763 based on our calculations—nearly identical. As you go down the cost chart, the price difference between the two is negligible, which is why it might be better to go with the upfront cost when purchasing a used 2016 Toyota Corolla. 
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Performance

The Toyota Corolla S performs slightly better than the LE thanks to its sport-tuned suspension, but the differences between the two are few.
Since they are, at their cores, the same car, you wouldn’t expect the drive quality to be markedly different between the LE and the S, and you’d be right. Both have the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 140 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. It’s not a lot of power, but it’s enough to get you through your daily commute. 
You have a choice in transmissions with the 2016 Toyota Corolla: the four-speed automatic, a continuously-variable transmission, or a six-speed manual. Drivers looking for a more intimate experience with their car will want to choose the manual transmission, while the average driver will do just fine with one of the automatic options.
The steering has been slightly improved in the S model, giving it a slight edge over the stodgier LE. Still, even with the improvements, the S still steers stiffly and isn’t as responsive as you’d hope with a sport-tuned trim level. 
If you’re looking to upgrade your fun level while driving, the S might be a better choice, but it’s almost too close to call.

Fuel efficiency

Both cars have a combined gas mileage of 32 mpg.
If your decision comes down to fuel economy, the differences between the two don’t do you any favors. We’ve broken down the mileage of each vehicle in the table below.
Model
Engine
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined)
2016 Toyota Corolla LE
1.8L four-cylinder
29/38/32 mpg
2016 Toyota Corolla S
1.8L four-cylinder
29/37/32 mpg
The difference is negligible, but remember that if you choose the manual transmission, your fuel economy will drop by 2 to 3 mpg

Technology

The two trims are identical in terms of technology.
When you purchase a 2016 Toyota Corolla, you get a standard rear-view camera and a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display. You also get access to the Entune App Suite, which offers connectivity through an app to online services like Bing, Pandora, Facebook, and Yelp.
There’s also automatic climate control and a host of driver-assist features like cruise control and an Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control system.   

Reliability

The reliability ratings are also the same for the LE and the S. Both enjoy the unbeatable reputation of Toyota. 
J.D. Power has rated the 2016 Toyota Corolla with an 86/100 reliability score, while RepairPal gives it a 4.5/5.0 rating for reliability—the top of its class! You can expect an average maintenance cost of $370 when you purchase a used 2016 Toyota Corolla. 
MORE: 7 things to look for when buying a used car

Interior

The interior on the LE and the S are the same, with soft-touch plastics and cloth upholstery. It seems as though the designers weren’t exactly going for an upscale look with this design, because the interior doesn’t feel as classy as rival compact sedans. That being said, back seat passengers will enjoy class-leading legroom. 
The biggest difference between the two’s interiors is the type of cloth upholstery they have. The LE features standard gray upholstery while the S has mixed-media seats with sports bolsters and sports inserts. The S also has a leather-trimmed steering wheel. 
Curious about how the measurements shake out? We’ve broken them down in the table below.
Measurement
Toyota Corolla Sedan
Cargo volume
13.0 cubic feet
Headroom (front seats)
38.3 inches
Legroom (front seats)
42.3 inches
Headroom (rear seats) 37.1 inches
Legroom (rear seats)
41.1 inches
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If you’re frequently carrying backseat passengers, the 2016 Toyota Corolla is a great choice for you. Unfortunately, the interior won’t play a big part in deciding which is better for you: Toyota Corolla LE vs. S. 

Exterior

The exterior is where we have a little more room to talk about the differences between the LE and the S. The S trim has a sportier look with the addition of a rear spoiler and unique wheel caps
The LE trim has a gray front grille, 16-inch steel wheels, and heated power outside mirrors. The S trim features a front chrome grille with piano black inserts, 16-inch steel wheels with custom covers, heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, and a rear spoiler. 
If a sporty style is important to you when choosing a new car, it’s better to opt for the S trim. 

The final word

So how does it all shake out when weighing the Toyota Corolla LE vs. S? The two are evenly matched and we can’t declare a winner.
If upfront cost and slightly improved fuel efficiency matters most to you, you’d be better off with the LE. But if sporty style and steering are major influencers, the S is the superior choice. With so many similarities, it’s hard to make a choice based on features alone. We’d recommend going with your gut on this one and choosing the one you enjoy driving more. 

How to find cheap car insurance for a Toyota Corolla

Your
car insurance
costs won’t vary too much between the LE and S, but you could stand to save money all the same. Luckily, the
Jerry
app is standing by to help you find the best rates.
How does it work? Jerry is a
licensed insurance broker
who can help you browse quotes pulled from over 55 insurance providers for your Toyota car insurance. We don’t mean you’ll be looking at 50+ quotes—that’s where Jerry comes in! Jerry filters out the most expensive options, leaving you with roughly a dozen quotes that all fit your budget. 
Jerry continues to help by finishing up the paperwork so you can easily switch policies. Jerry will even automatically shop for a new policy when yours is up for renewal so you continue to save. That’s how Jerry saves its users an average of $800 per year or more
Jerry
made switching over to new insurance so quick and easy! My monthly payment went from $469 to $362 by switching me to Progressive. 10/10 would recommend!” —Luanne T.
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FAQs

While these two models are remarkably similar, the biggest difference is the exterior appearance. The S is a sportier model featuring custom wheel covers and a rear spoiler.
While the Toyota Corolla is an overall reliable vehicle regardless of the model year, Consumer Reports ranks the Corollas coming from the years 2014 to 2019 as the most reliable.
Reviewed by Julian de Sevilla.
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