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

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The 2022 Toyota Corolla has a number of different trim level options, but when it comes to which one is most desirable, the SE outperforms the LE trim courtesy of its upgraded 2.0-liter I-4 engine. 
The 2022 Toyota Corolla LE and SE share a lot of the same features, as they should, considering that they are, in essence, the same model. That being said, the SE boasts a starting price that is $200 higher than the LE, mainly due to its larger four-cylinder engine. 
Here to take a closer look at exactly which features and qualities separate the 2022 Corolla LE and SE trims is
—the #1-rated
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comparison shopping super app. We’ve crafted this side-by-side comparison of the two trims to make it easier for you to decide which of the trim levels gives you more bang for your buck. Then we'll show you the best way to save on your
Toyota Corolla insurance costs
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The entirety of the 2022 Toyota Corolla line-up is incredibly affordable, which makes sense considering that the model is marketed as Toyota’s economy sedan option. Even at its most expensive APEX trim, the 2022 Corolla will only set you back $26,665
The 2022 Toyota LE trim boasts a starting MSRP of $21,970, compared to the MSRP of the 2022 Corolla SE trim—$22,260. That’s a difference of less than $300 between the two trim packages. But how does that cost translate over the course of the Corolla’s lifetime? 
Taking a closer look at the true cost of ownership for the two Corolla trims is one way we can determine which model is a better choice. According to Edmunds, the projected five-year ownership costs for the 2022 Toyota Corolla LE will add up to approximately $28,722 by 2027. That’s including $3,284 for maintenance costs and an annual charge of $824 for the
Toyota Corolla LE insurance cost
The SE on the other hand, shows a five-year cost-to-own of $30,311, according to Edmunds. This similarly includes $3,728 in maintenance costs and an annual
Toyota Corolla SE insurance cost
of $807
All of this is to say that, even after five years of ownership, the Corolla SE is still only $2,000 more expensive than the LE trim level. This means that, while the LE is more affordable—both upfront and in the long term—it is barely so.  


When it comes to performance, the Toyota Corolla SE is the clear winner between our two contenders thanks to its larger I-4 engine and sport-tuned suspension. 
The Corolla LE features Toyota’s base 1.8-liter inline-four engine capable of producing 139 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the ever-so-slightly more expensive Corolla SE is upgraded with a larger 2.0-liter I-4 engine that produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. For a difference of $300 upfront, opting for the larger, more powerful SE engine is a no-brainer. 
Both trims are paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), though an optional six-speed manual transmission is available on the SE trim for an additional cost. 
But how does the SE’s larger engine translate in terms of on-road performance? While the Corolla isn’t known for its speed or acceleration, the SE’s 2.0-liter engine decreases the model’s 0-60 acceleration time from 9.4 seconds to only 8.0 seconds

Fuel efficiency

Unsurprisingly, the Toyota Corolla SE’s larger engine also grants the model a slightly better fuel efficiency rating compared to the Corolla LE. 
According to the EPA, the 2022 Corolla LE is rated to get 30 mpg in stop-and-go traffic, 38 mpg in highway cruising, and 33 mpg combined. Meanwhile, the SE trim is rated for 31 mpg, 40 mpg, and 34 mpg in each of those respective categories. It’s not much of a difference, but over the lifetime of the two models, opting for the more fuel-efficient SE trim can result in saving money on gas
Keep in mind, however, that should you opt for the SE trim with a manual transmission, you’ll suffer a slight drop in fuel efficiency—29 mpg city/36 mpg highway/32 mpg combined. 
MORE: Every Toyota sports car you should know


In terms of technology, the SE and LE trims are, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same. 
Both models feature the same 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen display equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa connectivity. Bluetooth and wi-fi integration are also standard on both the Corolla LE and SE. 
Similarly, both models share the exact same packages when it comes to driver assistance features with Toyota’s Safety Sense™. This package includes tech like lane-tracing assist, electronic stability control, a pre-collision system, lane-departure alert with lane-keeping assist, collision mitigation, and driver monitoring alert. 


In the same vein as technology, the Toyota Corolla LE and SE trims are indistinguishable in terms of reliability. This is mainly because cars are typically given the same reliability rating across all trim levels unless there is a glaring difference between the engineering of one trim and another. When it comes to the 2022 Corolla, the only real difference between the two trims is that the SE has a slightly larger engine—so it’s not going to be any more or less reliable than the LE. 
That being said, the 2022 Toyota Corolla received above-average predicted reliability ratings from J.D. Power (85/100), RepairPal (4.5/5), and Consumer Reports (4.0/5). RepairPal also rated the Corolla #1 out of 36 compact cars


The basic Toyota Corolla LE features many of the same interior elements that you’ll find on the slightly more expensive SE trim, such as a six-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, remote keyless entry, automatic air conditioning, and premium black cloth upholstery. 
The SE trim, however, adds Premium sport seats with sport fabric inserts—as well as a leather-trimmed steering wheel—on top of the features already included in the Corolla LE. 
When it comes to cargo and passenger space, the LE and SE are exactly the same except for the second row where the SE boasts slightly more headroom and slightly less legroom. Let’s take a closer look:
Toyota Corolla LE
Toyota Corolla SE
Cargo volume
13.1 cubic feet
13.1 cubic feet
Headroom (front seats)
38.3 inches
38.3 inches
Legroom (front seats)
42 inches
42 inches
Headroom (rear seats)
37.1 inches
37.6 inches
Legroom (rear seats)
34.8 inches
29.9 inches
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If you’ve got a back-seat passenger with particularly long legs, then the LE’s additional rear legroom might seem like an attractive feature. Otherwise, the two trims are essentially the same. 

The final word

Considering how little difference there is between the 2022 Toyota Corolla LE and SE in terms of price—both upfront and over the course of the cars’ lifetimes—it’s hard not to recommend the more powerful, more fuel-efficient Corolla SE trim. 
For only $300 more, the SE trim boasts an additional 30 horsepower, 25 pound-feet of torque, and an extra mpg of fuel efficiency courtesy of its larger 2.0-liter engine and sport-tuned suspension. All in all, the value of the Corolla SE is well worth the additional money you’ll pay for it upfront. 
MORE: The best cars for your commute

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The Corolla LE and SE are essentially the same size, though the LE offers second-row passengers an additional 4.9 inches of rear legroom. 
On the other hand, the SE offers second-row passengers an additional 0.5 inches of rear headroom.
The Corolla SE gets an additional 1 mpg on each of its fuel efficiency ratings when equipped with the same continuously variable transmission as the LE. 
Equipped with a manual transmission, however, the SE gets 1 mpg less fuel efficiency in every category compared to the LE.
Yes—but barely. Upfront the Corolla SE is going to cost you an additional $290, while over the course of five years, the difference in price between the two trims will grow to just over $1,500.
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett.
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