By Althea Champion × Vaughn Lowery
TMNA is releasing a new and updated version of the faithful Toyota Corolla in 2021: the limited edition Corolla Apex Edition. The company will manufacture only 6,000 editions of the SE and XSE editions.
As a bonus, Puma and Toyota collaborated on a limited edition Corolla Apex sneaker that corresponds with the car’s launch. Only 50 units were fabricated – we got number 25! They perfectly match the vehicle and they came just in time as we celebrated the Los Angeles Lakers Championship win, honking and flickering our lights in Downtown LA near the Staples Center. Just like LeBron during the NBA playoffs, this compact car was the star attraction. After all, it is one of the top selling cars in the world.
This new model has the same horsepower as its predecessor, same TNGA-C platform, but is nearly unrecognizable in its new form.
Most of the editions will be equipped with the Dynamic Shift CVT, otherwise known as a continuously variable transmission, and colloquially known as an automatic. For those who love driving stick, Toyota is also offering just 120 models based on the SE edition that are equipped with a 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission.
This car leans into sportiness that has never been characteristic of a Corolla, yet does so gracefully. The new model rides lower to the ground, flaunts bronze accents, a front spoiler, fog light covers, side moldings, a rear diffuser aid in high-speed vehicle stability, and an optional rear trunk aero spoiler for those who wish it theirs.
Chrome exhaust tips accent the vehicle and black mirror caps give it an edge. Low profile, black, 18-inch wheels that are lighter than Corolla’s standard and unique to the Apex, according to Anthony Alaniz of Motor1, add to its humble discretion. LED headlights, turn signals, and taillights make sure you are safe, while the smoked-out light lenses of the taillights add to its undeniable dominance, and a large sunroof is an added bonus, especially on lazy summer nights.
The SE model is attired in premium fabric upholstery, while the XSE edition sports black SofTex®-trimmed fabric upholstery, heated front seats, and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support.
This Corolla is powered by its 2.0-liter Dynamic Force Engine, which obtains its power from high-compression Toyota D4-S fuel injection system (13:1), according to Toyota’s press release. The VVT-i on the exhausts uses an electric motor instead of oil, making for a more eco-friendly and efficient exhaust.
The limited edition model has a 169 peak horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,800 rpm, which is standard in previous Toyota models.
With the automatic transmission in the SE model, the EPA-estimated fuel economy is 31 city / 41 highway / 34 combined MPG, and the XSE’s is 31/38/34, respectively. With the manual transmission, the fuel economy is 29/36/32 MPG.
Toyota also took the model one step further in safety. The Apex Edition, along with all 2021 Corolla models, will have Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver-assist technologies, standard. This includes a pre-collision system with daytime/low-light vehicle and pedestrian detection, plus daytime bicycle detection, full-speed range dynamic cruise control (CVT only), lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, automatic high beams, lane tracing and road sign assist.
In addition, rear side airbags were added to the design, bringing the total number of airbags in the vehicle up to 10. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert with a Blind Spot Monitor is now standard on XSE models, and optional for SE models with CVT. In addition, all 2020 Corollas gain an Automatic Engine Shut-Off. This add-on will automatically turn off the engine after a designated period in the event it is left running.
As a special value, Toyota’s press release notes that, “the 2021 Corolla LE grade (gas model) will offer a new Convenience Package that combines Blind Spot Monitor, Smart Key system and 16-inch alloy wheels.”
The new Corolla Apex Edition sports new Android Auto compatibility, which complements the Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa potential connections already standard in this model’s predecessor, the 2020 Corolla. In addition, SiriusXM and its 3-month trial period is now available across every Corolla model.
Furthermore, the vehicle is endowed with a more efficient cooling system; the two-discharge-port oil pump and variable cooling system with an electric water pump maximizes engine engine performance and efficiency. This ensures quicker cabin heating on cold days and quicker cool-down when the A/C is on. When combined with ultra-low internal friction, the 2.0-liter engine operates at a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is among the highest for a current passenger vehicle, according to Toyota.
The least expensive edition of the Corolla Apex, the Corolla Apex SE with a CVT, is $2,695 more than its predecessor, which brings it to $25,070. The Corolla Apex SE with a six-speed manual transmission clocks in at $25,460, and the Corolla Apex XSE at $28,210.
Ultimately, the new model’s suspension and fresh look are most noteworthy. New coil springs with internal rebound shocks allowed designers to lower the suspension 0.6 inches. This, combined with rigid, stabilizer bars, creates a stiffer suspension. Roll stiffness is now 47% more stiff in the front and 33% more in the rear—a marked improvement. And, its look undeniably transforms any preconceived notions about the Toyota Corolla, as it seems to have evolved into a chic sports car.
If you are looking to surprise your significant other with a luxurious present, look no further. If you are a young professional looking to impress your colleagues in the parking lot, you have come to the right vehicle. If you are a new parent concerned with style, safety, and reliability, this is your car. Whoever you are, the Toyota Corolla Apex can be the ideal vehicle for you.