2023 Toyota Corolla XSE


REVIEW: 2023 Toyota Corolla XSE

Written By: Amy Plemons | Feb 16, 2023 9:15:39 PM

The 2023 model year is a big one for the Toyota Corolla. It's a year that brings new tech, safety and style in a slew of major updates that really elevate the lineup. The new multimedia system is my favorite new feature - but the terrific upgrades don't end there. The Corolla also receives Toyota's latest advanced driver technology system and some style updates.

Deciding between a new vs used Corolla? We've reviewed it and written about it many times since 2019. Here's a list of those articles.

2023 Toyota Corolla

While the 2023 Corolla lineup expands with four new hybrid grades  - my test model is the XSE gas-only model.  There are three gas-only trims - the LE, SE and XSE.   


2023 brings some style updates that varies across the grades. The XSE, along with the SE, is sporty indeed with a glossy black mesh-pattern lower grille and revised, more sculpted front end, along with a new rear sport diffuser. The XSE also features gray metallic sport sport rocker trim, smoked LED taillights, a dark gray rear spoiler, single exhaust dual chrome tips. 


Both the XSE and SE also feature new LED headlights designed to look like the eyes of a bird of prey and they also receive new wheels for 2023: 18-inch Gloss Graphite-colored alloys.

Also new for 2023, all Corolla's receive daytime LED running lights.


For 2023 the entire Corolla gas-only lineup shares a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that delivers 169-horsepower, which feels appropriate. The engine is mated to continuously variable transmission, but you'd never know it since Toyota gave it a "first gear" for off-the-line acceleration. It's equipped with stop/start technology.


The top-of-the-line XSE Corolla welcomes you with soft-touch materials along with a mix of glossy black and contrasting matte elements. You'll also find metallic trim with chrome interior door handles.

SofTex®-trimmed heated, comfortable front sport seats with sport fabric inserts feature new red stitching, a change from the blue previously used. The driver's seat is 8- way power-adjustable with power lumbar support. The front seats are also heated. You'll also get a leather-wrapped steering wheel.  


For 2023 the XSE  upgrades to a redesigned 7-inch all-digital, bright and colorful gauge cluster. The font is on the smaller side compared to some competitors.

You'll find a slim center console bin with a leather-wrapped gear shifter, drive mode controls, cupholders, and electric parking brake and auto brake hold. I like the unique placement of the USB-C port up front next to the glove box - it's unexpected and very well placed. 


I consider the Corolla roomy overall for a compact sedan with a back seat offers a 60/40 split if you need more cargo space. Be forewarned though that headroom and legroom are both tight for the middle seat passenger. A drop-down center offers two cupholders. The rear seats are on the flatter side, but they're comfortable.  Features include two new rear seat USB-C ports, nice carpets and soft-touch seat backs.


2023-toyota-corolla-xse-trunk-carproCargo space is ample for sedan this size. 

Other standard features for the XSE include a moonroof with a sunshade and variable intermittent windshield wipers.


Stepping into the 2023 Corolla is like entering a new world when it comes to technology. The Corolla receives a new standard 8-inch touchscreen with Toyota's latest Audio Multimedia system. It takes technology to exactly where it needs to be.


The new system allows for dual Bluetooth along standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its "Hey Toyota" voice command feature is also a home run.  Note though that you can't get weather and other cloud-based services including navigation without a subscription to Toyota Drive Connect, which was not included on this model. A WiFI hotspot is available if you subscribe through AT&T.

Another huge highlight for me was the Corolla's available 9-speaker JBL Premium Audio system, which is a must in my book. It sounds great in here. The upgrade includes a wireless charger.

Other tech updates: new for 2023, a standard Smart Key System with Push Button Start for the SE and XSE. Two new rear USB-C ports make for four total.

Ride and Drive

The Corolla is such a zippy, easy car to get around town in and it's equally as comfortable and confident on the highway. I'm all about the XSE's enhanced sport suspension for 2023, which improves handling. (Toyota also says it worked on Sport Mode tuning). For a comparison, unlike the VW Jetta which has steering on the looser side, the Corolla's steering is on the firmer side which would appeal to those looking for sportier handling.  


Proactive Driving Assist - Obstacle Anticipation Assist and Deceleration Assist. I was not expecting this exciting safety advancement at all. This semi-autonomous feature actually applies the brakes and slows you down in city driving. It's included in the new Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 System standard on all 2023 Corollas. A really amazing enhancement to the system. TSS 3.0 also enhances:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)  
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
  • Road Sign Assist (RSA)
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)

The XSE also comes standard with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. I will say Toyota's seat belt alert will get your attention (and it's probably designed to.)  


There are three options are my test vehicle: The 9 speaker JBL sound system and wireless charger ($675), carpet mat package ($289) and door sill protector ($179.) All great adds if you ask me. The JBL sound system would be a MUST in my book.


The 2023 upgrades are so substantial it feels like a whole new Corolla this year and at just under $29,000 for a top-of-the-line model, the value is exceptional.

  1. What I liked most:   The noteworthy tech and safety upgrades.
  2. What I would change:    I'm still waiting for Toyota to improve backup camera resolution.
  3. MSRP: Base price: $26,700.  As equipped: $28,938.
  4. Fuel Economy:  31 city/40 highway/34 combined. 
  5. Odometer reading when tested:  880 miles.
  6. Weight:  3,150 pounds 
  7. Spare Tire:  Temporary Spare.
  8. Length-Width-Height:  182.5" long/ 70.1” wide/56.5” high.
  9. Fuel Tank Capacity:  13.2 gallons with filler on the driver's side.
  10. Official Color:   Dark Gray w/F Sport Black Interior
  11. Towing Capacity: N/A.
  12. 2023 Toyota Corolla XSE in a few words:  An exceptional model year for this best-selling nameplate.

  13. Warranty: 36 months/36,000 miles basic warranty; 60 months/60,000 miles powertrain.

  14. Final Assembly Location:  Aichi, Japan.
  15. Manufacturer's Website:  Toyota 

New call-to-action