2020 Toyota Corolla
A compact icon turns twelveby Jonathan Lopez, on
The Corolla is a true benchmark for the compact segment, with over 46 million units sold over the course of five decades since its release in 1966. Now, the Corolla enters its impressive twelfth generation for the 2020 model year. Earlier in 2018, we got behind the wheel of the new 2019 Corolla hatchback and loved its raucous styling and shift-happy manual transmission. Now, the Japanese automotive behemoth is offering a brand-new sedan version, and it promises even more refinement, more technology, and a new look to boot.
2020 Toyota Corolla
2020 Toyota Corolla Exterior Styling
- LED headlights
- Spoiler and aero fins on SE and XSE models
- 18-inch wheels standard higher in the range
- 0.47 inches wider front track
- 0.87 inches wider rear track
- Front overhang 1.3 inches shorter
- Rear overhang more than 0.5 inches longer
- Overall height 0.8 inches shorter
- New exterior colors
As expected, the 2020 Corolla offers a totally new exterior styling for its twelfth-generational changeover, once again drawing from Toyota’s latest design language palette.
The new look is also used with the latest Toyota Corolla hatchback, and features a low, wide stance, with lots of crisp edges and sharp lines throughout.
One of the most prominent styling elements is in the front fascia, where the Corolla comes equipped with a set of long, thin, J-shaped headlight housings, plus a pair of Bi-Beam LED lighting elements.
Further styling elements in the front fascia vary depending on the specific grade level, with unique details added to help differentiate across the lineup. For example, SE and XSE models get a “sportier” look, which includes a new chin spoiler that’s painted to match the body color, as well as “aero stabilizing fins” and an overall wider appearance. The SE and XSE models also utilize triple J-shaped clearance lights matched with LED light guides and LED turn signals.
On the safety front, the Corolla comes with an available Adaptive Front-lighting System as well, which helps illuminate the way forward by angling the projected light beam around corners while on the move.
Viewed from the side, the Corolla is now offered with 18-inch wheels from the factory, which is a first for the nameplate.
The 18-inchers come equipped as standard spec for the SE and XSE models, offering a multi-spoke design, a machined finish, and lightweight alloy construction. Lower in the lineup, the Corolla comes with 16-inch steel wheels for the LE grade, and 16-inch alloys for the XLE grade.
In back, you’ll find a pair of combination taillights, once again with LEDs equipped as the standard lighting element across the range. The specific taillight style varies depending on the model, with the sportier models equipped with smoked outer lenses. The sportier models also come with a subtle lip spoiler on the trunk lid.
To spice it up, Toyota added a new exterior color as well, throwing in a color dubbed Celestite Grey Metallic. Customers can also choose from shades like Super White, Black Sand Pearl, Blizzard Pearl, Barcelona Red, Blue Crush Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, and Blueprint.
Exterior dimensions get a shakeup for the 2020 model year.
The wheelbase is once again measured at 106.3 inches, just like the outgoing Corolla, but the latest model also gets an extra 0.47 inches for the front track width, plus an extra 0.87 inches for the rear track width. The front overhang is now 1.3 inches shorter, while the rear overhang is more than half an inch longer.
The overall height is now 0.8 inches lower, and the hood is 1.4 inches lower as well, with the latter change implemented as a means to increase forward visibility. Further visibility enhancers include a lowered instrument panel in the cabin, a lowered outer cowl, and a lowered belt line. Finally, the Corolla also offers a more svelte design for the instrument panel and A-pillars, plus repositioned side-view mirrors.
2020 Toyota Corolla exterior dimensions
|Track front/rear||60.77/61.27 inches|
2020 Toyota Corolla Interior Design
- Very few hard buttons on the dash
- Digital inputs for the climate control
- Cloth upholstery as standard, leatherette optional
- Armrest 0.8 inches longer
- Driver hip point 0.98 inches lower, 1.57 inches back
- 2.4 inches longer wheelbase gives more space in back
- Low ambient noise levels
- Entune 3.0 infotainment
- Standard 8.0-inch infotainment display
- Latest Toyota safety tech included as standard
One of the key areas for any sedan is the interior - how it coddles its passengers front to back, how it makes the miles fly by, how it keeps you entertained and at ease.
As such, the 2020 Corolla comes with the very latest interior spec that Toyota can muster, with some cues plucked from the high-end Lexus brand to help inform the overall look and layout (especially for those seated up front).
Standout features include a wide, sweeping dash design that connects directly with the door panels and ancillary trim. Speaking of trim, the Corolla offers a high-end feel thanks to goodies like glossy bits, silver accents, piano black surrounds, and optional contrast stitching for the upholstery. The button layouts was simplified, while the hard buttons that do remain appear to be minimized thanks to smaller gaps between the individual switches. The center stack also gets a digitized layout for the climate control.
Optional ambient lighting can be had for the front door trim, console tray, and front cupholder, while copious small storage cubbies are placed around the cabin to help keep track of items like your wallet or phone.
Customers are sure to enjoy the new seats in the Corolla, which were redesigned for the 2020 model year.
The sitters now include a unique, sporty “bucket-like” design for the SE and XSE grades, as well as more comfort-oriented design for the XLE and LE grades.
Upholstery options include cloth coverings as standard, while higher in the range, there’s SofText leatherette. Color options include blue on black (Blue/Black), dark gray on light gray (Moonstone), and cream (Macadamia).
The Corolla offers new cabin measurements as well, with the armrest now extended by 0.8 inches longer compared to the outgoing model. The driver will also feel more comfortable thanks to an overall lower hip point, which was reduced by 0.98 inches and moved towards the rear by 1.57 inches compared to the outgoing model.
We have yet to drive the new Corolla sedan, but during our drive experience in the 2019 Corolla hatchback, we felt as though we had plenty of space up front. That said, the rear bench was get a bit cramped for taller passengers.
Thankfully, the sedan does feel a bit more spacious when camped out on the rear bench, which is a crucial feature for a four-door sedan model.
The extra space is partly due to the fact the sedan has an extra 2.4 inches of wheelbase compared to the hatchback.
We also noticed that the sedan’s interior noise is quite low, which can be attributed to a plethora of sound-absorbing materials that were either added or improved throughout the vehicle.
Another interesting facet of the 2020 model year Corolla is a more-effective air conditioning system. It’s smarter too - for example, if it’s cold out, the system will automatically create dehumidified air for the upper windshield defogger, while warm air will get pumped out for the rest of the car.
On the infotainment front, the Corolla comes equipped with Toyota’s latest Entune 3.0 Audio system, which includes six speakers as standard.
The system also includes Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi Connect with support for up to five devices, Safety Connect, Siri Eyes Free, Scout GPS Link Compatibility, and the Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect.
Further standout features include Bluetooth wireless support, USB 2.0 support, MP3/WMA playback, hands-free voice command, an auxiliary audio input, and weather/traffic info.
Optional equipment includes HD Radio, SiriusXM, and Remote Connect, plus a high-end JBL stereo with nine speakers, 800 watts of power, 6.7-inch subwoofers, Clari-Fi technology, Dynamic Voice Recognition, and Dynamic Navigation. There’s also the option for a Qi smartphone charging system.
In the gauge cluster, you’ll find a 4.2-inch TFT Multi-Information Display mounted between the tachometer and speedometer, which provides quick reference for a variety of system updates. Optional equipment tosses in a 7.0-inch display as a replacement for the 4.2-inch unit, as well as the option to switch between an analog and digital readout for the speedometer.
Further configuration for the Multi-Information Display can include custom readouts for the audio system, navigation system, the average fuel mileage, the current tire pressure, and driver assist system status such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control activation.
Control over the various infotainment features and onboard technology is accomplished primarily via an 8.0-inch touchscreen on top of the dash, which comes as standard across the range, along with the Entune 3.0 multimedia system. The only exception is with the L grade, which comes equipped with a slightly smaller 7.0-inch touchscreen.
One of the biggest standout features for any Toyota these days is the Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems, which comes as standard across the Corolla range for the 2020 model year.
TSS 2.0 tosses in features like a Pre-Collision System with automatic braking, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steer Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist, and a Blind Spot Monitor, and it acts as a complement to more traditional safety features like eight airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, and ABS. All Corolla models also come with a standard backup camera.
2020 Toyota Corolla Drivetrain And Performance
- Offered exclusively with FWD drivetrains
- 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 139 horsepower
- 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 169 horsepower
- Available hybrid powerplant on the way
- Optional CVT or Six-Speed Manual
- TNGA underpinnings
- Independent suspension setup
- Should ride quite nicely
- Lower center of gravity
|Note: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback pictured here.|
The 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan offers the same powertrains as the hatchback body style, all of which once again connect to a FWD drivetrain.
The model lineup starts with the L, LE, and XLE, all of which come equipped with a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s the same 2ZR-FAE equipped in the previous generation Corolla, but this time around, it offers a bit more grunt and improved fuel efficiency as well. Peak output is rated at 139 horsepower.
Higher in the range, the Corolla comes equipped with a new naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder dubbed the M20A-FKS, which produces upwards of 169 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Incredibly, this engine also offers a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is surprisingly high for a mass-produced passenger vehicle application.
Finally, Toyota says it’ll offer the Corolla with a hybrid powertrain that will return upwards of 50 mpg.
It’ll mark the very first Toyota Corolla hybrid offered in the U.S., and it will come with the same powertrain as the current Toyota Prius. As such, it will feature a pair of electric motors, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder internal combustion gas engine, and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack.
Peak output from this setup will come to 121 horsepower, all of which will go to the front wheels exclusively. What’s more, the hybrid will get unique styling touches to help it standout amongst its ICE-only brethren, including new wheels and badging. Inside, the Corolla hybrid will get unique instrumentation as well, which will help the driver keep tabs on exactly how that battery-assisted energy is put to use.
Transmission options include a Dynamic-Shift CVT, which now comes with traditional first gear for more efficiency and quicker shifts.
The CVT also includes a simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic setup with a Sport Mode for a more traditional feel.
As a carryover from the Corolla hatchback, the Corolla sedan also gets a new six-speed manual transmission with an intelligent rev-matching system. We thought this system worked wonders in the hatch, and felt it was a fantastic three-pedal setup for any newbie to the clutch pedal.
Under the fresh body panels, the Corolla sedan once again utilizes the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) for the underpinnings. The TNGA structure features ultra-high-strength steel and a new structural adhesive to keep it from flexing, and comes with an impressive 60-percent increase in torsional rigidity compared to the outgoing model.
The suspension setup also includes a new multi-link rear end, which now offers more refinement and much better handling than the previous model’s archaic torsion beam setup. Up front there’s a MacPherson strut setup, which was revised for the 2020 model year. Overall suspension friction was reduced by 40 percent, as well.
Overall, we expect the 2020 Corolla sedan to soothe your backside on the road, as during our experience in the hatchback model, we noted how Toyota had created a ride that was “surprisingly even, handling bumpy pavement with aplomb and very little jostling.”
Indeed, Toyota claims this latest generation for the Corolla will offer the ‘smoothest, quietest ride’ ever experienced from the nameplate.
The Corolla sedan will also come with an available sport suspension setup if you’re looking for a splash of extra engagement in the corners. Overall, we found the hatchback to be a somewhat willing corner-carver when pushed with the right appointment, and we’d expect something similar from the sedan model.
To this end, the Corolla’s engine is mounted as low as possible up front, while the positioning of the passengers in the cabin gives it a more even distribution front to back. Finally, the Corolla’s overall center of gravity was lowered by 0.39 inches compared to the outgoing model, which, once again, helps with regards to handling.
2020 Toyota Corolla Specifications
|Type, Materials||2.0-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder DOHC 16-Valve D-4S Dual Injection with Dual VVT-i||1.8-liter, 4-Cylinder DOHC in-line 16-Valve with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), aluminum alloy block and head|
|Valve train||DOHC, four-valve/cylinder||4-valve per cylinder with Dual VVT-i|
|Displacement||1987 cc||1,798 cc|
|Bore x Stroke||3.17 x 3.84 in.||3.17 x 3.48 in.|
|Horsepower (SAE Net)||168 hp @ 6,600 rpm||139 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque||151 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm||128 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Ignition System||Electronic, Toyota Direct Ignition (TDI)||Toyota Direct Ignition (TDI)|
|Fuel System||Direct Injection, Port Injection||Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)|
2020 Toyota Corolla Pricing
The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan will hit dealers in the Spring of 2019. Pricing is so far unannounced, but it is estimated to start at just under $20,000, and reach as high as $24,000 or $25,000 for a range-topper with oodles of trimmings.
2020 Toyota Corolla Competition
While the Corolla might be the big name compact four-door in Toyota’s lineup, the Civic is arguably just as iconic. First put into production in the early ‘70s, the Honda Civic entered its tenth generation in 2016, and now comes with a range of body styles and powertrains to fit just about any buyer’s needs. Outside, you get sharp styling and a sporty attitude, while the cabin offers standout features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto support. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control are all standard. Engine options include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 158 horsepower and a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder making 174 horsepower, with both a CVT and a manual six-speed on the list for transmission options. Mileage slots in at about 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. If you want a true jack-of-all-trades sedan, the Civic fits the bill. Pricing starts at $19,450.
Read our full review on the Honda Civic Sedan.
Style and fun are hallmarks for the Mazda brand these days, and that’s most definitely evident with the latest Mazda3 sedan. Recently redesigned for the 2019 model year, the 3 is as head-turning as ever, employing Mazda’s latest Kodo design language to great effect. Inside, things are simple and streamlined, with a horizontal dash and top-mounted 8.8-inch infotainment screen. Safety tech isn’t as extensive as what you get with the Corolla, but the Mazda does include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a driver monitoring system. The big draw, though, is the way this thing drives, with Mazda’s legendary suspension tuning keeping you looking for the long way home. The setup is complemented by stout engine and drivetrain packages as well, including a muscle-bound 2.5-liter four-cylinder and, for the first time ever, available AWD. A six-speed automatic and six-speed manual round out the drivetrain options. If you want a little more flash and smile-inducing pleasure behind the wheel, then this might be the one for you. Pricing is so far unannounced, but the latest Mazda3 is expected to start at roughly $18,000.
Read our full review of the Mazda3 Sedan.
On balance, the latest Toyota Corolla looks to double down on the things we expect from the nameplate.
That means it will offer good value for the money, and come equipped with loads of tech for safety, infotainment, and convenience. With the latest hybrid model, fuel efficiency will be segment leading as well.
The cabin will be quiet and comfortable, and with the latest redesign, it’ll look pretty good too.
Sounds like a win across the board, no? Well, not so fast.
While the Corolla will handle the daily commute without issue, it will feel a bit out of place when it comes time to put the hammer down. For now, the engine lineup isn’t exactly all that exciting, with the top trim making just 169 horsepower. That said, with an available manual transmission and the optional sport suspension, it isn’t a total snooze fest, either.
In the segment, the Corolla stands out as a solid choice for those who prioritize comfort, features, reliability, and mileage. If that sounds like you, it’s definitely worth a test drive.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
Read our full driven review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
Read our full review on the previous generation Toyota Corolla.