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2005 Toyota Corolla XRS
2005 Toyota Corolla XRS New Car Review

Jeff Voth

I'm impressed, no I mean really impressed! The 2005 Corolla XRS is a superbly crafted, small sized sedan that is more than competent at seating four-five people in complete comfort.

2005 Toyota Corolla XRS Review

I should say that while I am impressed, I'm not surprised at the quality of the new Corolla. After all, it is a Toyota, and it is built in the award winning Cambridge, Ontario plant, (TMMC) the same renowned factory that produces the stylish and versatile Lexus RX330.

What does surprise me however is the notion that a Corolla could ever legitimately be considered a sports sedan.

A new model in the Toyota's lineup for 2005, the XRS makes the bold declaration that sportiness can include practicality, safety and reliability. A regular Corolla at heart, the XRS receives several unique features. With these additions, it provides a compelling argument that you can have your cake and eat it too.

Included in this list is a 1.8 litre, 4-cylinder DOHC engine that produces 170 hp at 7400 rpm and 127 lb-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm. A punchy engine, it revs freely and does so with only a modest amount of noise.

One transmission is offered in the Corolla XRS, a 6-speed manual stirs the gears. A slick operator, my only concern is due to the fact that first gear is so close to third, that many times I found myself leaving an intersection in the wrong gear. Of course, being a well designed car, the Corolla was more than capable of starting off in a higher gear, but it left me fumbling for first on several occasions.

Both engine and transmission are shared with the Toyota Matrix XRS and the soon to be discontinued Celica GT-S. In the case of the Corolla XRS, it turns what is generally considered to be one of the docile sedans in the market, into a high performance, domesticated beast.

The new Corolla XRS makes full use of its sport-tuned suspension. This includes front dampers mounted between the shock towers for improved handling and ride. Increased rate coil springs and shocks are featured at all four wheels; while ride height is decreased by 15 mm. A front wheel drive car, steering is power assist, rack and pinion.

Featured wheels are 16" aluminum alloy equipped with 195/55R Michelin performance summer tires. Tire pressure sensors monitor inflation rate, with 4-sensor ABS and EBD, (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) offered as standard equipment.

Sporty exterior touches include side skirts, a rear spoiler with LED taillight and a colored front grille.

High strength steel surrounds the passenger compartment in safety and silence. Side impact beams, floor crossmembers and front crush zones utilize varying thickness steel to help disperse impact energy.

Inside, three-point seatbelts are located at all five sitting positions, and rear headrests are now standard for all rear seats passengers. Advanced dual-stage airbags further increase the security of what is arguably one of the safest small cars on the road today.

The list of interior standard features on the new Corolla XRS is impressive to say the least. Sport style seats offer excellent lateral support, while proper seat cushion length ensures your legs won't get tired after a few hours on the road.

Back rest support and angle adjustment are first class, as is the quality of materials used both in the front and back seats, door panels, the roof liner and carpeting.

Keyless entry power door locks, power windows with one-touch driver-side down and power mirrors are standard. Also included is a power moonroof with sunshade, tinted glass and illuminated entry.

2005 Toyota Corolla XRS Interior

The 3-spoke leather wrapped sports steering wheel and leather shifter adds a dash of spiciness to the interior. The Corolla XRS is equipped with cruise control, air conditioning and an AM/FM single disc CD changer with six speakers. If there is any room for improvement on the inside, the stereo system would be it. Sound quality is first-rate for both CDs and FM stereo music, but as a regular listener of talk radio, I found AM reception to be spotty at best.

The line between sport sedan and family sedan has been blurred several times before. The difference here is that Toyota has taken one of the most practical and reliable cars sold in North America and turned it into a true performer. In many ways, the Corolla XRS is just too good to pass up. But then, Toyota has been on quite a winning streak for the past two decades, so why should we expect anything less.


Description: Small-size sedan
Model options: XRS
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Overall length: 178.3 inches
Engine size: 1.8 L 4-cyliner
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Braking: 4-wheel disc, ABS/EBD
Air bags: 2 (front)
Fuel mileage city/hwy: city/hwy: 31/44
Base MSRP: $17,995

For More Information Click: Toyota Corolla XRS
For the Toyota 2005 Model Guide : Click Here