2020 Toyota Corolla - This is It

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
2020 toyota corolla this is it

Toyota gathered media in California this week, myself included, to drive the new RAV4 (check back next week for my thoughts). The company also decided that, since they planned to take the wraps off the new Corolla in China at about the same time we’d be eating dinner, it made sense to show us the newest version of the best-selling nameplate of all time.

Perched on Toyota’s TNGA platform like the already-on-sale Corolla hatch, the 12th-generation sedan retains the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as before, but grows wider front and rear. The front overhang shrinks by over an inch, the rear overhang grows by over half an inch, and the hood is lowered nearly an inch and a half. Overall height decreases by a little less than an inch.

The SE and XSE trims are considered the “sport” models and get a different front fascia that includes a chin spoiler, and the SE is offered with a six-speed manual transmission for the crowd.

Eighteen-inch wheels are available for the first time on Corolla, standard on the SE and XSE. The LE and XLE make do with 16-inch rims.

Carrying over for the L, LE, and XLE trims is the 1.8-liter four-banger from the previous car, but Toyota promises more power and improved fuel economy. Promises only, as no numbers were released.

A 2.0-liter direct-injection four powers the SE and XSE, and the numbers are in on this one: 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.

If the manual, complete with rev-matching and hill-assist control to prevent rollbacks, doesn’t work for you, it’s CVT time.

Inside, all trims but L get an eight-inch touchscreen (L gets seven inches of touch), and Toyota’s Entune app package comes as standard equipment. Apple CarPlay is now standard, and premium JBL audio is available, while a Wi-Fi hotspot appears as an available perk.

Available safety and driver-aid tech includes Toyota’s Safety Sense system. That system includes radar cruise control, lane-departure alert, pre-collision assist, and other safety-oriented driving-aid systems. Blind-spot monitoring is also available.

At first glance, the Corolla vaguely reminded me of recently-departed Scion models, at least in terms of exterior styling. Inside, the cabin looks modern and sleek but, as usual, I’m annoyed by a “tacked-on tablet” infotainment screen that mars the look. The J-shaped headlights give the car a bit of an evil grin, but the gaping maw of the lower fascia will probably turn some buyers off. The styling isn’t head-turning, but neither is it boring – the Corolla is now at least 50 percent less anonymous.

There’s a lot more I’d like to know – power numbers for the 1.8, pricing, and fuel economy, for starters – but my first take is that the Corolla may actually have a personality now.

There was one other piece of news dropped at the event: There will be a Corolla hybrid, scheduled for a debut in two weeks at the Los Angeles Auto Show. We’ll be there to see the wraps come off.

[Images: 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC, Toyota]

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  • HotPotato HotPotato on Nov 19, 2018

    The Scion-turned-Corolla hatch is a decent handler...so given that the new Corolla sedan is on the same IRS-blessed platform, its two sporty trims may have promise for those who like reliability to go with their scoot. Together with the genuinely attractive new Camry---which itself has pretty athletic moves in the right trim---it seems like Toyota is rethinking boring-is-beautiful. Not to say the nose of this thing is beautiful, because good Lord, this must be what it feels like to be a rug when the Hoover approaches.

  • DougDolde DougDolde on Dec 01, 2018

    Such an ugly front end.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.