2022 Toyota Corolla SE Apex Review: Not Fast, Still Fun

corolla apex

The Toyota Corolla is known for being a reliable and affordable compact sedan. However, what if you want something more than just a practical commuter car? Enter the 2022 Toyota Corolla SE Apex. In this review, we’ll explore how the Apex package transforms the Corolla into a sportier and more engaging car without sacrificing its everyday usability.

A Sporty Upgrade

The Corolla Apex comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. While not blisteringly fast, this engine provides enough power to make the Corolla feel lively, especially when paired with the available manual transmission. The six-speed manual offers smooth and precise shifts, allowing even first-time stick-shifters to enjoy the experience. Additionally, the Apex package includes a sport-tuned exhaust for a more aggressive sound, gold-colored body trim for added style, and a retuned suspension for improved handling.

Nimble and Fun

Despite its sporty upgrades, the Corolla Apex remains comfortable for daily driving. The suspension is stiffer than the standard Corolla, but it strikes a good balance between sportiness and everyday usability. The 18-inch Dunlop SportMaxx summer tires, available as a no-cost option, further enhance the car’s handling capabilities, making it a joy to drive on winding roads. While the Apex still exhibits some body roll, it adds to the overall sensation of speed and makes the driving experience more engaging.

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Fuel Efficiency and Quality Interior

Fuel efficiency has always been a hallmark of the Corolla, and the Apex is no exception. With an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy of up to 34 mpg with the automatic transmission, the Corolla Apex offers a good balance of performance and efficiency. Inside, the Corolla’s interior is basic yet comfortable, with hard-wearing materials that can withstand the rigors of daily use. The touchpoints inside the car feel surprisingly upscale for its price range, showcasing Toyota’s attention to detail.

Technology and Safety

The Corolla Apex comes equipped with a host of technology features. The 8-inch touchscreen display includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, allowing seamless integration with your smartphone. The infotainment system, although not exceptional, is user-friendly and responsive. Safety-wise, the Apex includes Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite, which offers driver-assistance features such as automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control (even with the manual transmission), and more. Hill start assist is also included, adding an extra layer of convenience.

The Price and Competition

The 2022 Toyota Corolla SE Apex with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $26,735 including the destination charge. It competes with the likes of the Hyundai Elantra N-Line and the brand-new Honda Civic Si. While the Elantra N-Line offers slightly more power at a slightly lower price, it lacks adaptive cruise control and may not appeal to all buyers in terms of styling. On the other hand, the Civic Si offers more horsepower and a more attractive design but comes at a higher price. Positioned in the middle of these options, the Corolla Apex stands out with its reputation for longevity and dependability, making it an appealing choice for those seeking both fun and reliability.

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1. Is the Corolla Apex available with an automatic transmission?

Yes, the Corolla Apex can also be equipped with an automatic transmission, which offers slightly improved fuel economy.

2. What makes the Corolla Apex different from the standard Corolla?

The Corolla Apex features sporty upgrades such as a retuned suspension, a sport-tuned exhaust, and gold-colored body trim. These enhancements improve the car’s handling and give it a more aggressive appearance.

3. Does the Corolla Apex come with advanced safety features?

Yes, the Corolla Apex includes Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite, which provides advanced driver-assistance technologies like automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.


The 2022 Toyota Corolla SE Apex offers a refreshing take on the popular compact sedan. With its sporty upgrades, including a retuned suspension and a manual transmission option, the Apex adds a touch of excitement to the Corolla lineup. Despite its sporty nature, the Corolla Apex remains comfortable for daily driving and retains the excellent fuel efficiency Toyota is known for. If you’re looking for a reliable and fun-to-drive compact sedan, the Corolla Apex is definitely worth considering.

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