I’m not going to lie — I wasn’t exactly looking forward to my weekend with the 2009 Toyota Corolla. I’ve driven a series of vanilla four-door sedans since May, and it’s gotten a little boring. There was nothing inherently wrong with any of the cars, but “responsible” isn’t usually how you’d describe your summer dream car. Fortunately, I was spared total boredom when I discovered the Corolla I’d be driving was the sportier XRS version.
Loved: Sporty handling
Although the Corolla XRS isn’t going to win any land-speed records or anything, I was pleasantly surprised with its zip. With some of the other economy cars I’ve driven this summer, merging onto the expressways required stomping the gas pedal into the floor and crossing my fingers. The Corolla needed far less coaxing to ease into high-speed traffic. Changing lanes on the crowded Chicago-area interstates can even be a pleasant experience in a car that moves without hesitation, like the XRS did.