Mixed Feelings – 2005 Toyota Corolla XRS

Mostly, RustyButTrusty’s domain is confined to cars 30 years and older, but every so often, something interesting pops up that’s hard to avoid featuring. You’re probably asking yourself why a Corolla would even be here, as, apart from being trusty, it’s pretty much the antithesis of everything ever featured here. Well, there are a couple of interesting features on this car that make it a viable successor to many of the front-wheel-drive 4AGE-powered Toyota and Geo products of the 1980s. Check out this 2005 Toyota Corolla XRS for sale for $4500 in Corvallis, OR.

2005 Toyota Corolla XRS right front

Only built for 2005 and 2006, the XRS version of the E120 Corolla rides on a 1/2″ lower sport suspension, and features shock tower braces front and rear, alloy wheels shared with the Matrix XRS, together with 4-wheel discs and some other electronic safety systems nobody cares about. Most importantly, it features the Yamaha-developed 2ZZ-GE 4-cylinder, good for 170hp, paired with a 6-speed manual and shared with the Matrix XRS, Celica GT-S, and LOTUS ELISE!! So you’ll get a big fat helping of bland like on any other Corolla, until you hit 6700rpm and then awesome happens.

2005 Toyota Corolla XRS left rear

Blah blah blah gray Toyota Corolla blah blah blah. It’s easy to knock these for being boring, but it’s not entirely inaccurate – before a TDI-of-Lies was backup for the RustyButTrusty fleet, there was an E120 Corolla LE with automatic. This is a different animal, but period reviews agreed there were better alternatives out there, like the Ford Focus SVT. This particular car has 215,000 miles, and if well-cared-for, should be good for a bit more – check compression and ask if the timing chain has been replaced. It’s said to have been well-maintained and to have no mechanical issues, and the completely stock look suggests it hasn’t been “upgraded”.

2005 Toyota Corolla XRS engine

So here’s the part you care about the most. A garage full of 2ZZ-GE cars and 4AGE cars – say a Corolla XRS, Celica GT-S, and Elise to pair with your Nova Twin-Cam, Corolla GT-S, and MR-2. All your neighbors would think you were sensible, except for the fact that you had six cars. How many times could you get into the high-lift cam profile before you lose your license or your engine?

2005 Toyota Corolla XRS interior

Blah blah blah gray Corolla interior blah blah blah. Sport seats were part of the package, and these look to be in good shape. Everything else appears stock, shared with the faux-sporty Corolla S. If you’re looking for a true sleeper, more than a Civic Si or Golf GTI could ever be, this might do the trick. And your parent/spouse would finally think you made a sensible decision – just stay out of the cam while they’re in the car.

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2 Responses to “Mixed Feelings – 2005 Toyota Corolla XRS”

  1. bluetoes591 Says:

    There is a car I did not know existed. 170hp Corolla almost sounds interesting.

  2. Dane Says:

    I understand and agree with the sentiment. In looking for a fun, little commuter with a bit of character, I considered the XRS Corolla. This does not have IRS like the previous generation of Corolla and the 2ZZ-GE must REALLY be wrung out to experience its performance (from what I understand.). Had more 2000-2001 Corollas been optioned with a sunroof and 5-speed, I might have settled on one. My commuter of choice ended up being a 8-valve 5-speed 190E. Though I would have settled on a M10 E30 4-door sedan if one more locally had turned up.

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