I once had a Lotus. That was pretty cool, except when people would talk to me about it. People who didn’t know cars would always ask things like: “How much does it cost?” and “How fast does it go?” Of course, they were always disappointed by the answers.
Car people, on the other hand, would inevitably say: “Nice Toyota Celica!” This is about as funny as when people hear sirens and feel the urge to announce: “They’re coming for you.”
What most car people don’t know is that the Celica wasn’t the only Toyota that shared its engine with the Lotus Elise. For one, there was the Toyota Matrix XRS, which was a hotted-up version of the Matrix that makes for a very cool used car. That was mechanically twinned with the Pontiac Vibe GT. If you don’t know the car, think Matrix, but attractive.
Beyond the Matrix and the Celica, one more Toyota shared its engine with the Elise: the Corolla.
Yes, most people don’t realize it, but Toyota offered a high-performance version of its Corolla in 2005 and 2006. Dubbed the “Corolla XRS,” it excited practically no one, except for me, who loves weird special editions with a little extra power.
And extra power it had: the Corolla XRS made 170 horses, which was 40 more than the base model. And, like all cars with this engine, it only came with a manual transmission.
Of course, Toyota didn’t consider the biggest issue, which is quite simply that no one wants a sporty Corolla. The car didn’t sell, and it wasn’t long before it was gone for good. Nonetheless, the Corolla XRS exists.