A perennial go-to car in the compact segment, the all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla builds on that reputation with an all-new design. In addition to delivering good fuel economy, the Corolla has also upped its fun-to-drive nature thanks to its new chassis.
You'll Like The 2020 Toyota Corolla If...
This all-new Corolla offers affordable, economical transportation and good handling and a wide choice of different trim levels from sporty to efficient. The all-new Toyota Corolla covers a lot of bases.
You May Not Like The 2020 Toyota Corolla If...
You’re looking for expressive, extrovert styling to go along with Android Auto compatibility (Corolla’s Entune infotainment system offers only Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa).
The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan is all-new from the ground up. Although it shares the 106.3-inch wheelbase of its predecessor, the new model has a lower ride height, shorter front and longer rear overhangs, a wider track and lower cowl. The Corolla boasts a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine on higher trims and an updated version of the standard 1.8-liter engine as well as a hybrid version that mates the smaller engine to an electric motor and battery pack. The new platform, which is shared with the hatchback, features an independent rear suspension that greatly improves the Corolla’s handling.
Toyota describes the Corolla’s interior design philosophy as “sensuous minimalism.” The layout is clean and horizontal with few lines, the dash dominated by an infotainment touch screen (7-inch diagonal on the L trim, 8-inch on all other models). The screen is flanked by conventional buttons, volume and tuner knobs beneath and a climate-control system below. The instrument cluster is also digital with a standard 4.2-inch display, while a 7-inch configurable layout comes on higher-trim levels. Soft-touch materials can be found on all the upper surfaces, and on the SE and XSE, the front bucket seats are more contoured to provide additional support. Cloth upholstery is standard and can be upgraded to a SofTex Leatherette. The cabin has a light, airy feel to it along with materials and a level of fit and finish you’d expect in a more premium vehicle.
Like the cabin, the 2020 Toyota Corolla has a contemporary look with a front end dominated by a large trapezoidal mesh grille. The headlight units feature LED daytime running lights with two or three elements per side depending on trim level. The Corolla’s profile is clean, with a soft character line rising from the front wheel arch through the rear deck. From the back, the taillights are connected by a single strip running across the decklid, and on Sport models the rear diffuser accentuates the car’s wider stance. While the front end shares a family resemblance to the redesigned Camry and Avalon, the overall shape and look of the Corolla are more on the understated 4-door side of the ledger than a flashy, Euro-inspired sports sedan.
The competence of the new platform shines in the 2020 Toyota Corolla driving experience. The car is solid, quiet and offers a comfortable ride without backing down when pushed. The steering is crisp, yet tends a touch toward the light side, which makes it easy to wheel about. Toyota has refined its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) to take some of the elasticity out of its response. Most drivers won’t be aware of its presence and those who do notice, probably would be better suited to the manual version to more effectively exploit the Corolla’s independent suspension. The Hybrid does feel down on power compared to its conventional counterparts, but the instantaneous torque from the electric motor gives it acceptable off-the-line acceleration. Its handling is closer to the standard L and LE models than the slightly sportier SE and XSE.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla has a base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,430 for the L model (including $930 destination charges) comparably equipped, price increases on the new Corolla range from $815 to $1,300. The LE is priced from $20,880, while the top model with the base 1.8 engine, the XLE, starts at $24,880. Sport models equipped with the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder start at $22,880 for the SE CVT, while the 6-speed-manual SE is $23,580 and includes extras like a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The XSE is $26,380. The Hybrid LE is priced in the middle of the range with a sticker starting at $23,880. Check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area are paying for the new Corolla, and rest assured that when the time comes to sell your used Corolla, it will command a high resale value.
All Toyota Corolla models come with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of assists. This includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, radar cruise control (with a stop-and-go feature on CVT models), road-sign assist and lane-tracing assist that helps to keep the vehicle centered in its lane. XLE and XSE model comes with blind-spot monitoring. Sport models (SE and XSE) feature larger 18-inch wheels, contoured sport seats and a rear decklid spoiler. All models feature power windows and locks, standard 6-speaker audio with Apple CarPlay compatibility, and one or two USB ports. Automatic climate control comes on all models except the base L trim.
Among the upgrades available on the new Corolla are a Premium JBL sound system with nine speakers, connected navigation with over-the-air updates, wireless cellphone charging, Bluetooth, ambient lighting, smart key with push-button start, premium 7-inch TFT (thin-film transistor) configurable instrument cluster display, SofTex Leatherette upholstery, 16-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, adaptive front lighting, color-keyed outside mirror with turn signals and blind-spot monitor, Wi-Fi hotspot and satellite radio.
No one will confuse a Corolla for a Subaru WRX; however, if you like to shift for yourself and experience the nimbleness of the independent rear suspension, the Sport trim level with the 6-speed manual transplants the fun factor from the Corolla Hatchback into the sedan.
Smooth, quiet and comfortable, the Corolla Hybrid is a great choice for those who want Prius-level fuel economy in an affordable conventional-looking sedan body. The operation of the powertrain is seamless, including the stop/start function. The Hybrid’s pricing starts in the middle of the Corolla range.
Under the Hood
The 2020 Toyota Corolla comes with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder in L, LE, LXE trims. This updated engine has a 7-horsepower gain in output and is mated to a CVT. The new 2.0-liter engine offered in the Sport versions makes 169 horsepower and offers a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or the CVT. The Corolla Hybrid incorporates a 53-kW electric motor with the 1.8-liter engine and a CVT for combined output of 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque.
139 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
126 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/38 mpg, 29/37 mpg (XLE trim)
169 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/36 mpg (SE manual), 31/40 mpg (SE automatic),31/38 mpg (XSE)
1.8-liter inline-4 + 53-kW electric motor
121 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (combined output)
105 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm (combined output)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 53/52 mpg
Following its launch of an all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback last fall, the Japanese automaker has migrated its sedan to a slightly longer version of the hatch’s platform, which is known as the Toyota New Generation Architecture. The goal here is to infuse some driving excitement into the 2020 Toyota Corolla and new Corolla Hybrid, thanks to a rear independent suspension that supplants the traditional torsion-beam setup. But more important, it also seeks to offer class-above comfort in ride and cabin quietness as well as a long list of standard features to better rival the Honda Civic. As part of that effort, there are new engines, a first-time hybrid option with fuel economy that rivals the Prius and Honda Insight, as well as a Sport trim with the availability of a manual transmission for the enthusiast set.