Next-generation Toyota Corolla Sedan to Bow in China

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
next generation toyota corolla sedan to bow in china

If you lose sleep this weekend, we’ll know why. Toyota plans to debut its next-generation Corolla sedan at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition on November 16th, completing a product revamp that began with this year’s introduction of the Corolla Hatch (formerly Corolla iM, formerly Scion iM).

It’s expected the sedan, now swapped to the TNGA platform, will appear with a familiar face and upgraded mechanicals borrowed from its five-door sibling. With compact cars on the decline, Toyota needs its aging Corolla gone in order to better compete with the Honda Civic. Both models, however, are alike in one way: they’re falling out of favor with consumers.

The 2020 Corolla won’t be alone when it launches next week. A gussied-up version, the Levin, will also appear, built to tempt discerning Chinese near-luxury buyers. Judging by other Corolla variants not found on this continent, the new sedan’s front end should closely mirror that of the Hatch (see above).

Despite selling in huge numbers, the current-gen Corolla never wowed with its power levels, nor were the front seats capable of not causing pain in this writer’s lumbar region. If the same seats from the Hatch make their way into the new sedan, you’ll be just fine. They’re comfortable chairs. Power shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore, either, as the Hatch debuted with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boasting 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Whether or not we’ll see a transmission carryover is debatable. The hatch model carries a Dynamic-Shift CVT with a physical launch gear to get things moving; after that, it’s a conventional continuously variable experience. While the hatch also comes with a six-speed manual, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the new Corolla sedan dispense with this fading piece of technology.

Due to the new platform, expect the 2020 model to grow slightly in size, with more cabin volume and rear-seat kneeroom a given.

Corolla sedan sales fell 11.9 percent in October, year over year, and volume over the first 10 months of 2018 show a volume loss of 12.7 percent. With its main rival, the Civic, sells in greater numbers, it’s also on a downward trajectory. Civic volume through October is nearly that of last year’s Corolla sedan volume over the same period. American buyers saw fit to give the Civic a 26 percent sales decline in October, with year-to-date volume down 11.8 percent.

[Images: Toyota]

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4 of 11 comments
  • Jdowmiller Jdowmiller on Nov 09, 2018

    I drive a ‘17 LE Eco. I’ve put 30,000 on it. Seats are not comfortable but the ride is. Driving extremely conservatively, I once managed over 45 mpg on a tank. Overall I get about 40. All systems work with zero drama. Bluetooth has not dropped out once. Came standard with driving assists. I don’t transport adults in the back but I’ve tested it myself and it’s spacious for my knees but a little tight on top at 6’1”. All three kids fit fine. Trunk seems huge to me. Paint seems thin. CVT drones but I’ve never had one before so don’t know if that’s typical or not. Engine power is perfectly adequate. On the rare occasion I have to launch into traffic, there’s no issue. Would buy again if I weren’t planning on it giving it to my kid in three years and going back to driving a Miata.

    • Riggodeezil Riggodeezil on Nov 10, 2018

      It’s a good car for giving to the kids. My daughter drove a 2015 until someone pulled out in front of her and folded it up like crushed Coke can. No injuries to her though which is another plus for this car. The paint was indeed thin. It flaked off like dandruff around the door edges. And, yeah, “CVT drone” seemed more apparent to me than in my Outback but not a huge deal. Corolla is a fine, drama-free, reasonable, driving appliance. Natch, enthusiasts hate them but for lots of folks they fit the bill. The new TNGA-based one will probably do just swell.

  • Akear Akear on Nov 11, 2018

    I hear this is the best selling car in the world.

    • Peter Gazis Peter Gazis on Nov 11, 2018

      akear Are you suggesting that Toyota fans in the U.S. start trading in their Camrys for Corollas?

  • Redapple2 My dad s buddy got a tire thru the windshield. DRT -dead right there.
  • Redapple2 Hope they fix the:1 ride. worse than a corvette2 seating position. ankles at the height of my butt is UNCOMFORTABLE .As is. Horrible truck
  • Redapple2 One time; doing time; for a long time.
  • Robert Good! Those things are hideous.
  • ScarecrowRepair Road trips by myself -- cherry tomatoes or seedless grapes. Gotcher nutrition, gotcher water, bite-sized, no sticky fingers. Light lunch, maybe; normal dinner.