2020 Toyota Corolla First Look
- One of the country's best-selling vehicles is totally redesigned for 2020
- Lineup grows to include first-ever Corolla Hybrid
- Available new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers 169 horsepower
- Available Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility
- Should continue to start around $20,000
- Goes on sale March 2019
Toyota has injected new life into the Corolla for 2020. The all-new compact sedan will be based on a longer version of the platform that underpins the new Corolla Hatchback, which went on sale earlier this year. The hatchback has attitude and sportiness that the Corolla hasn’t traditionally been known for, and we expect some of that spirit and response to come to the 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan. But Toyota hasn’t lost sight of what people like about the Corolla – Toyota’s 12th-generation compact sedan is designed to be roomy, comfortable and quiet, and still infused with Toyota's legendary reputation for reliability.
First-Ever Toyota Corolla Hybrid
If you like the idea of the Prius but would gladly trade a few of its 52 mpg for a car that looks more like a car, the new Corolla Hybrid might be the balance you seek. Pricing, fuel economy and a release date have yet to be announced, but we'll get more answers on November 28th during the Corolla Hybrid's official unveiling at the 2018 LA Auto Show.
Five Trim Levels
With the 2020 Corolla, Toyota’s goal is to increase both fuel economy and power compared with the current model. The Corolla will come in five trim levels, with a choice of engines: The L, LE and XLE come with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. It’s an updated version of the engine that’s in the current Corolla, but for 2020, the engine will have 139 horsepower, compared to the 2019 Corolla's standard 132. The 2020 Corolla is also said to have better fuel economy -- the 2019 model’s combined fuel economy ranges from 30-34 mpg, depending on trim level, transmission and wheel size. XSE and SE trim levels will come with a new 2.0-liter direct injection 4-cylinder engine, the same engine that’s in the Corolla Hatchback, which puts out 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.
All Corollas are front-wheel drive, and most will be sold with a continuously variable transmission, a transmission type known to optimize fuel economy. The CVT used in the 2020 Toyota Corolla is designed to feel more like a traditional automatic transmission, thanks to a physical first gear that’s used for initial acceleration before switching over to a pulley system the rest of the time. This combination also makes shifting speeds faster than in a conventional CVT, simulating 10 speeds in all, and it comes with paddle shifters and Sport Mode. Corollas powered by the 2.0-liter engine will also be available with an all-new 6-speed manual.
New Look Inside and Out
The new Corolla definitely looks related to the current model, but there are styling changes that give the small sedan more attitude. While it’s on the same length wheelbase as before, the front and rear track are wider, the front overhang is shorter and the car sits lower. Up front, there’s different styling depending on trim level, with more aggressive looks for the sportier SE and XSE models. The LED headlights have a narrow profile and the fog light treatment is noticeably different for the 2020 Toyota Corolla. Optional adaptive front lighting moves the light beams toward where you’re turning to improve visibility in corners. Along the sides, body lines are better defined, and there are new tire options. The LE has 16-inch steel wheels with covers, the XLE comes with new 16-inch alloys with twisted spokes, and SEs and XSEs come standard with 18-inch wheels, a size that’s new to the Corolla inventory list. Rear styling has narrow lights and a long, narrow crease in the trunk lid. All 2020 Corollas use LED lighting, and sportier models use smoked lenses.
Inside, the Corolla XSE is airy and upscale, with a black and ivory color scheme on the doors, dash and seats. With the 2020 Corolla, Toyota moved the driver’s hip point down and back, making the seating position more comfortable. The seats have been redesigned, too, with new headrests and seatback shapes, and the SE and XSE’s seat designs emulate competition bucket seats. Cloth seat material is standard, and SofTex is available. The Corolla has a lower roofline than in the previous model, but headroom hasn’t been compromised. This Corolla keeps with tradition, and the interior remains roomy. There was a strong emphasis put on a quiet interior, and Toyota made key changes to the powertrain, plus added generous amounts of strategically placed sound-absorbing materials in the cabin.
New Tech, Connectivity, Safety
There are plenty of appealing tech and convenience choices: The driver gets a 4.2-inch multi-information display (MID), and an optional 7-inch MID allows you to switch between an analog and a digital speedometer. At the top of the center stack of controls is an 8-inch multimedia touch screen with the Entune 3.0 multimedia system. (Entune includes apps that can use the vehicle’s GPS location to provide emergency assistance in the event of an accident; can remotely lock, unlock and start your car; and can connect as many as five devices though the 2020 Toyota Corolla’s in-car 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.) This pair is standard on every model except the L, which uses a 7-inch touch screen. The screen also serves as the information and control hub for such features as audio, vehicle settings and navigation. Sitting in a slim horizontal strip below the touch screen are knobs and buttons to control temperature settings. Except for air vents, the rest of the dash is essentially simple and clean. There are two USB ports, as well as Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa, and Siri Eyes Free. Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, standard on XSE and XLE (and optional with the SE models that have the CVT), adds several features including HD Radio, Sirius XM with cache, and Entune 3.0 Connected Services. Another option: a 9-speaker, 800-watt JBL audio system.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla also comes with an impressive array of standard safety equipment. The list starts with eight airbags and a backup camera, and continues with Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control, electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist, and smart stop technology. Also standard: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, with 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 and brake hold are options.
How much will the 2020 Toyota Corolla cost?
Toyota hasn’t yet announced pricing, but it’s safe to say the all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla will start around $20,000. As for the Corolla Hybrid, we'd expect it to be priced in line with the Honda Insight hybrid, which currently starts around $23,000 and stretches to about $28,000.
What is the fuel economy for the 2020 Toyota Corolla?
The EPA hasn’t rated the 2020 Corolla’s fuel economy yet, but here’s what we do know: the current Corolla engine, a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, has a fuel economy that ranges from 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway, to 29 city/38 highway. Toyota has upgraded the new version of the 1.8-liter to offer better fuel economy than the current numbers. For the new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, we can estimate that the fuel economy will be slightly lower than the range of 28/37 to 32/42 it provides in the smaller -- and likely lighter -- Corolla Hatchback. As a clear competitor to the new Honda Insight hybrid, we expect the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid will achieve an EPA combined fuel economy rating in the neighborhood of 50 mpg.
Where will the 2020 Toyota Corolla be built?
The Corolla will be built in three plants: in Blue Springs, Mississippi, at the same plant where the current Corolla is built; in Takaoka, Japan; and in Huntsville, Alabama.
When does the 2020 Toyota Corolla go on sale?
The 2020 Toyota Corolla will go on sale in March 2019.