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

Toyota Corolla XSE Vs. Toyota Corolla SE—which popular trim wins?
Written by Rob Shapiro
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2022 Toyota Corolla is a popular sedan that comes in several trims, including the XSE and the SE. The XSE is the higher trim level, and it beats the SE in performance and drivability. Despite a higher starting price, it offers more value. 
Economy cars are popular, and for good reason—they’re budget-friendly. Toyota has built its reputation by manufacturing economy sedans like the Corolla, but choosing the best trim can be challenging. On the surface, they both offer Corolla practicality and dependability. So how are they different?
Luckily, with a little closer examination, their differences become more pronounced.
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Toyota Corolla insurance costs
, regardless of which one you pick!
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One reason for the 2022 Toyota Corolla’s popularity is its price. This is an affordable, dependable car that should fit the budgets of most drivers. 
The XSE is more expensive at $29,050, compared to $22,750 for the SE. The difference of several thousand dollars is a lot for most drivers. So, if the starting price is the biggest factor for you, then you should go with the SE trim level
But if the overall cost is more important to you and you’re okay with paying more upfront, then you have a bigger decision on your hands. In this case, you need to review the projected five-year ownership costs of each car.
According to Edmunds, the overall cost over five years to own a Corolla SE is around $39,015. This figure includes $$2,298 for fuel and the annual
Toyota Corolla SE insurance cost
of about $1,344
The five-year ownership cost of a
Toyota Corolla XSE
, however, is only slightly higher at $42,051. This means that the savings of buying a SE over an XSE are a bit of an illusion—it’s only about $3000 more to own an XSE over five years, rather than the $6000-plus difference in the starting costs of the two trims.
MORE: Every Toyota sports car you should know


Both the Toyota Corolla SE and the Toyota Corolla XSE feature solid engines, strong acceleration,and handlingthat most owners would describe as above average. Granted, this is compared with other models in its class and its car type. 
The 2022 XSE has a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower. It can go 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, and its top speed is 117 mph. The 2022 SE has the same engine and generates the same horsepower—the only difference is that its 0-60 is slower at 9.4 seconds.
It’s hard to gauge which trim is better based on this information. The XSE gets the slight edge—but is it enough of a determining factor? 

Fuel efficiency

The ‘22 XSE gets 31 city mpg, 38 highway mpg, and 34 combined mpg. And you won’t find much difference between trims—the ‘22 SE gets 31 city mpg, 40 highway mpg, and 34 combined mpg
Let’s look at the combined fuel economy of some of the other Toyota trim levels to see how they stack up. 
Fuel economy (combined)
2022 Toyota Corolla L
33 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla LE
33 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
52 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla XLE
37 mpg
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid wins hands down, as it should. The other trims are too close to crown a winner, but the XLE does get a few more miles per gallon.


In addition to the standard tech of the 2022 Corolla, the XSE comes with Scout GPS Link and App Suite, voice recognition for the display audio system, Siri Eyes-Free, Bluetooth connectivity, and more. 
The 2022 SE doesn’t offer a ton of additional tech. It does have Sport Mode, a rearview camera,and adaptive cruise control
Both models offer Toyota’s Safety Sense™, a safety package with the following: 
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Dynamic radar cruise control
  • Lane departure alert
  • Automatic high beams
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Road sign assist
The XSE offers more tech, increasing its performance and safety. All in all, most people buy a Corolla for safety and price, not tech features. There is enough to suffice as long as you keep your expectations in check.
MORE: 6 cruise control safety tips you should never ignore
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The 2022 Corolla received an 85/100 reliability grade from J.D. Power, which should apply to both the XSE and the SE trim level.
Additionally, the 2022 Corolla got 4.5/5.0 from RepairPal across trims, and it also ranks the Corolla as the top pick out of 36 compact cars
For its price and class, the 2022 Corolla is dependable. It shouldn’t pose too many problems for drivers.
MORE: 2016 Toyota Camry oil capacity guide


Neither trim level offers an impressive interior. They’re serviceable, though, providing just enough comfort and space for five passengers.The XSE has SofTex leather, ambient lighting, sport fabric seat cladding, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated rear seats,and a 7” digital speedometer—none of which is offered with the SE. 
Both Corollas offer similar cargo space and leg-and headroom.This table breaks down the cargo volume, legroom, andheadroom measurements for the 2022 XSE and SE.
Toyota Corolla XSE
Toyota Corolla SE
Cargo volume
13.1 cubic feet
13.1 cubic feet
Headroom (front seats)
38 inches
38 inches
Legroom (front seats)
42 inches
42 inches
Headroom (rear seats) 37 inches
37 inches
Legroom (rear seats)
34.8 inches
34.8 inches
As you can see, the interior space is identical. Both trims offer a good amount of space for the driver, the passenger in the front seat, and those seated in the rear. The extra legroom is especially useful if you often have adults or tall children sitting in the back. 
The cargo volume is decent and in line with other sedans in its class. Ultimately, the interiors for the XSE and the SE are similar and not a big departure from the 2022 base model.
MORE: How to protect, clean, and organize your car trunk

The final word

Let’s start with the big difference: the starting price. The SE costs less money upfront, so if you’re on a tight budget, it’s probably your best bet. That said, when five-year ownership costs are taken into account, the difference is marginal.We recommend looking at total costs so you don’t get stuck paying only a small amount more for a lesser trim year over year. 
If price is the main (or only) consideration, consider buying Corolla’s base L trim. It offers good value at only $21,450.If you have a bit more money to play with, the XSE does offer some nice upgrades to the base L trim. 
With trims, the higher you go, the more you should get. That does apply to the 2022 Toyota Corolla XSE and the SE. There is a difference between the two, but it’s up to you (and your budget) to decide if it’s worth the extra cost. 

How to find cheap car insurance for a Toyota Corolla

Toyota insurance costs
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The Toyota Corolla XSE has a wheelbase of 106.3 whereas the Toyota Corolla SE has a 103.9-inch wheelbase. Overall, they are fairly similar in their size.
Both are considered to be fuel-efficient sedans. The SE is slightly better on gas as it gets 31 city mpg, 40 highway mpg and 34 combined mpg compared to XSE, which gets 31 city mpg, 38 highway mpg and 34 combined mpg.
Yes, the XSE is more expensive. It costs $29, 050 compared to $22,750 for the SE. The difference is lower when five-year ownership costs are taken into account.
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