A New Year, Another Corolla: Toyota’s 2020 Flagship Sedan

The all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla debuted at the LA Auto Show in late 2018 and rides on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform. And drivers and auto experts alike discovered the new Corolla places a big emphasis on fuel economy, driving dynamics, and vehicle safety.

The focus on these characteristics certainly shows when you take a closer look at the 12th-generation Corolla. Yet while the packaging might bring the Corolla to the precipice of the cutting edge, the same tried and true formula of years past still lies beneath the metal skin.

Performance Specifications

Get ready for more options if you’re considering the 2020 Corolla. Available powertrain options for the 2020 model year include a 1.8-liter and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. And don’t forget about the first ever Corolla hybrid variant, which is comprised of the 1.8-liter and an electric motor.

Non-hybrid 1.8-liter engines are paired with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) for 139 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque. Hybrid models will see a combined 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the 2.0-liter engine mates to either a CVT or a 6-speed manual and puts out 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.

Safety Features

The 2020 Corolla still needs to be rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, there are quite a few standard safety features available from Toyota.

In addition to Toyota’s Star Safety System (which features, among other components, a back-up camera), customers may also enjoy “adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, road sign assist, a pre-collision system, lane-departure alert with steer assist and lane tracing assist.” Blind-spot monitoring is an add-on.

Trim Levels

Starting at an affordable $20,000, the 2020 Corolla is available in 5 different trim levels. The first is the L model, powered by the 1.8-liter and shifted via the CVT. Both the LE and XLE models share the same engine-transmission pairing as well. LE models ride on 16-inch wheels and carry their passengers via cloth seating. Also available are an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and Bluetooth. Opt for the XLE model if you’re looking for all the sound system upgrades, including Entune 3.0 Audio Plus.

Choose the SE model if you’re looking to keep the manual transmission alive. The 6-speed stick-shift drives 18-inch wheels and flaunts sportier styling than base models. Smoked lenses are standard on the SE as well as the XSE model, which also features newly-designed front seats.

Optional features include a 9-speaker JBL audio system, among others. Customers can choose from a variety of colors for their interior appointments, from a blue-on-black color scheme to Moonstone or Macadamia.

These are just a few of the possibilities you can find on the 2020 Corolla. Navigate to Toyota’s website as details are updated after the model’s official release.   

Fuel Efficiency

According to FuelEconomy.gov, the 2020 Corolla posts miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings as follows. Corollas powered by the 1.8-liter hybrid engine should see 53 city and 52 highway EPA-estimated MPG. Choose the 2.0-liter engine with an automatic transmission to see 31 city and 40 highway. The XSE trim is powered by the same 2.0-liter engine but sees 38 highway MPG rather than 40.

Alone, the 1.8-liter engine, when paired with an automatic transmission, achieves 30 city and 38 highway MPG. The manual transmission alters those numbers to 29 city and 39 highway MPG. The Corolla XLE model with the 1.8-liter paired to an automatic transmission achieves 29 city and 37 highway MPG. Finally, the manual transmission-equipped 2.0-liter achieves 29 city and 36 highway MPG.

How the 2019 Corolla Compares

Fierce competition has pushed even industry leaders like Toyota and Honda to amp up their game when it comes to the sedan market.

Considering the 2020 Corolla, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) complimented the XSE model for its “best engine response” of the lineup. The 2.0-liter is no Corvette-chaser, for sure, but it’s enough to get any high-school kid’s blood pumping. Especially when Toyota’s made the Corolla’s rear-end more responsive via independent suspension.

Toyota sums up the model well: “equal parts sporty and elegant, and, as always, Corolla-comfortable and durable.” That’s really what the Corolla is all about. Like many vehicles, it strives to check a number of boxes most consumers have at the top of their car-buying list.

Safety is one of the biggest concerns for purchasers, especially when young(er) children are involved. Toyotas have that in spades when it comes to standard equipment. Value is perhaps one of the next sought-after characteristics. If the 12 generations of Corolla didn’t already tell you the model is a great seller, there’s not much we can say to sway you. Finally, fuel efficiency often comes up in the discussion as well. Even the sportiest Corolla engines sip where others might gulp.

Having given the Corolla its props, there are some drawbacks to the cute sedan. You’ll trade lots of horsepower in for those fuel economy points, so if you have a need for speed, look elsewhere. Other manufacturers may offer better interior trimmings and a bit sportier styling, but that will come at a cost.

Pros

  • No Android Auto available
  • Hybrid engine now available
  • Tons of available safety features
  • Affordably-priced

Cons

The full spectrum of the 2020 Toyota Corolla spans from $20,000 to just above $26,000, depending on your location. For a versatile sedan that caters to almost every driver’s needs, that’s saying a lot. Toyota says the 2020 Corolla will be built in Mississippi, Japan, or Alabama. The real question is, however, will one find a home in your garage?

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