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2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

$19,600 - $25,550
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Corolla Sedan

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Review

by Jay Traugott

Emerging from a chrysalis that has led it into its 12th generation with the most prominent transformation it has gone through in ages, is the 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan. Forged on Toyota's New Global Architecture, the revered Corolla is now equipped with a long list of cutting-edge underpinnings that compound its reputation as the "people's car." Fresh off a complete redesign, the Corolla takes the fight to the sportier Honda Civic and futuristic Mazda 3, finally rivaling the best instead of being relegated to rental-car royalty. Nevertheless, the Corolla's appeal soars on with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with peak outputs of 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque equipped in the upper-level trims. The old 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (producing 139 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque) is still available on lower-level trims. A continuously variable automatic transmission services the standard-fit front-wheel-drivetrain in all but the SE 6MT trim, which utilizes a six-speed manual by default.

Read in this review:

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 Corolla Sedan?

The 2020 Toyota Corolla kick-starts the 12th Corolla model generation with a full redesign from the tires up. The sedan receives an all-new dynamic, lightweight design with a lower, wider, and more aggressive body based on a new TNGA platform which was designed for improved agility, comfort, and efficiency. The platform also includes a more refined rear multilink suspension setup, which replaces the previous year's torsion-beam arrangement. As standard, the Corolla now comes readily fitted with Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 suite as well as with standard Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and Wi-Fi Connect. All Corolla models are now also equipped with LED exterior lighting and automatic emergency braking by default.

Pros and Cons

  • Plenty of standard features
  • Luxurious and soft ride quality
  • Decent fuel economy figures
  • Exceptional safety test ratings
  • Above-average reliability
  • No Android Auto functionality
  • Limited rear cabin headroom
  • Poor powertrain performance

Corolla Sedan Exterior

For 2020, the Corolla is given a sportier aesthetic with sleeker dimensions and a wider stance, while the SE and XSE exhibit the sportiest design elements. The completely redesigned grille and the front fascia is augmented by slim, J-shaped bi-LED headlamps that wrap deeply into the front fenders; narrow combination LED taillamps are incorporated into the rear. The SE and XSE models boast triple J-shaped clearance lamps with LED light-guides and turn signals. Base models start off on 15-inch steel wheels, increased to 16 inches on the LE, with alloy wheels introduced at XLE level in a 16-inch diameter. SE and XSE models ride on sportier 18-inch alloys with dark gray painted accents, while also receiving more aggressive chrome-tipped dual exhaust pipes.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Front Angle View
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Side View Driving
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Side View
See All 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 2020 Corolla was designed on a working concept fittingly referred to as "shooting robust", since its practicality as a sedan is uncompromised by its tauter, tighter, and more compact dimensions. Although now shorter than before, with an overall length of 182.3 inches, the Corolla still keeps its 106.3-inch wheelbase. It's sleeker too, with a total height of 56.5 inches while a width of 70.1 inches serves to open up cabin space. This range now rides lower to the tarmac with a ground clearance of 5.1 inches. Curb weights increase with each trim level; the entry-level L model weighs in at 2,910 lbs, the LE at 2,955 lbs, and the XLE at 3,045 lbs. The SE in manual guise has a curb weight of 3,055 lbs while the auto gearbox adds an extra 55 lbs. The XSE is the heaviest model at 3,150 lbs.

Exterior Colors

The 2020 exterior color palette consists of eight hues with varying availability based on trim choice. For all but the base L model, the Blizzard Pearl paint option carries an extra charge of $425 but is particularly elegant on the new design. Standard exterior color options available across the lineup include Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, and Super White. The Super White hue is surprisingly adept at emphasizing the black exterior accents of the Corolla. For SE and XSE models, either the Barcelona Red Metallic or Blue Print hues best complement their sportier aesthetic.

  • Super White
  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Black Sand Pearl
  • Celestite
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Blueprint
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Blue Crush Metallic

Corolla Sedan Performance

The Corolla offers fairly average performance and leans more toward comfort and efficiency rather than truly robust power and rapid acceleration - many rivals provide better performance capabilities than the Corolla. At any rate, the Corolla models equipped with the 169 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine perform the best in the range, with the XSE model returning a 0-60 mph time of eight seconds flat. That is a lot slower than most rivals in the segment and only a slight improvement over the smaller and less powerful 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 139 hp. The Honda Civic and Mazda 3 sedans easily outperform the Corolla with their seven-second 0-60 mph runs.

The model options in the 2020 Toyota Corolla lineup are exclusively configured as front-wheel-drive, so for buyers needing the all-weather advantages of an all-wheel-drivetrain can only look towards the Mazda 3 or the Subaru Impreza.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Front View Driving
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Front View Driving
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Wheel

Engine and Transmission

The Corolla's base 1.8-liter inline-four engine is virtually an identical carryover from the powertrain of the prior Corolla generation, with some added refinement. Its outputs of 139 hp and 126 lb-ft feel deficient in most driving conditions, and the continuously variable automatic transmission adds insult to injury with its inconsistent power delivery and dawdling off-the-line acceleration.

The new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the S-based models does not make the Corolla fast, but the 169 hp and 151 lb-ft are far more sufficient, providing more impressive acceleration from a stop and greater overtaking proficiency. The CVT in the SE and XSE is also more polished, cooperating with the powertrain in a smoother more responsive manner overall. There is also a slick-shifting, smooth six-speed manual gearbox equipped in the Corolla SE 6MT model which, compared to the CVT, delivers better performance with more eager responses matched to those of the much-improved 2.0-liter engine. The powertrain in its entirety is a great improvement from the previous generation but is still nothing to phone home about; its outputs are below par for the best in the segment and its responses clearly and purposefully calibrated for the average everyday commute.

  • Engines
    1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Compared to its predecessor, the 2020 Toyota Corolla's balance between ride quality and handling dynamics has been vastly improved by virtue of the new TNGA platform, particularly in regard to the enhanced suspension setup. Along with the sportier-tuned suspension in the SE and XSE models, the standard suspension also effectively keeps the sedans ride soft and smooth, suitably absorbing most road undulations and imperfections in its path. Its recent chassis refinement is also clear-cut, keeping the sedan well-composed, most notably around highway ramps and sharper turns. Still, the Corolla manages to remain firmly planted to the tarmac and is always easy to control. Insulation of the cabin could do with some improvement, although it's quite fine for the non-luxury segment, as road and engine noise do notably infiltrate the cabin in most rivals too.

The steering, though considerably improved from the prior model and now adequately weighted in general, feels more suited to lower speed maneuvers and is not nearly sharp or responsive enough to inspire truly enthusiastic driving. The standard brakes provide ample stopping power and are comfortably responsive for everyday drivability too. The Corolla's performance and handling capabilities have been improved, but still have nothing on compact rivals such as the Honda Civic and Mazda 3, both of whom offer far sportier and more capable dynamics. That said, however, the Corolla wasn't designed with a performance-centric appeal, but is by-design positioned within the market as one of the best passenger-oriented solutions for everyday drivers.

Corolla Sedan Gas Mileage

With fuel efficiency made a key resolve in the new Corolla, mileage estimates from all models are phenomenal. The L and LE models equipped with the 1.8-liter inline-four engine return EPA estimates of 30/38/33 mpg city/highway/combined. With the same engine, the XLE performs marginally worse in terms of gas mileage, returning EPA drive figures of 29/37/32 mpg. Equipped with the 2.0-liter engine, the SE CVT returns EPA estimates of 31/40/34 mpg while the SE 6MT manages 29/36/32 mpg. The XSE manages estimates of 31/38/34 mpg. The SE is the most economical trim and has a range of around 448 miles with its 13.2-gallon gas tank filled.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 30/38 mpg
* 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan L CVT

Corolla Sedan Interior

The interior cabin design and quality offer major improvements from the outgoing model; previously characterized by bland design and the bare minimum standard of creature comforts, the new Corolla evolves into a modern, minimalistic, and mid-to-high quality effort from the Japanese brand. The cabin and seating upholstery and trim are high-quality for such an affordable vehicle. Only a few hard-touch plastics are utilized here and there with most key touchpoints covered in soft-touch elements. As with most Toyota vehicles, overall build quality is exceptional; the doors close with a solid feel and there are no prominent noises emitted from the cabin's fixtures. The cabin itself is spacious throughout, and the seats are comfortable and roomy enough to sit through long drives. While lower-level trims offer only manually-adjustable front seats, upper-level trims offer eight-way power-adjustable and heated front seats.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Dashboard
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Steering Wheel
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Infotainment System
See All 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Toyota Corolla four-door sedan comfortably seats a total of four passengers. The front and rear seats are all comfortable enough for a daily commuter but bolstering and support in the lower-level trim options are minimal. The standard front sports seats in the SE and XSE models provide better support and are also upholstered in better quality material and trim. In terms of interior cabin room and considering the decrease in the overall room from the outgoing model, head and legroom remain adequate throughout even for adults in the rear seats. Getting in and out of the front or rear of the sedan couldn't get easier with the Corolla - doors open wide and there is ample space. The Driver's seating position is ergonomic and the standard level of adjustability is good enough for most sized drivers to find a suitable driving position. Overall visibility is sufficient all around.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

All but the L model feature metallic interior trim elements on the doors and dash, with chrome interior door handles and color-keyed door panel piping. With the exception of the LE, all trims are fitted with a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel. The L trim comes with standard Light Gray fabric upholstery, while the LE has the option of either Light Gray, All Black, or Macadamia Beige premium fabric choices. The XLE features premium SofTex in either All Black or Macadamia Beige. The interior of the SE model is equipped in standard all Black or Light Gray/Moonstone fabric with sport fabric inserts, while the XSE receives either all Black or Blue/Black SofTex mixed media, with sport fabric inserts.

Corolla Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

Trunk space in the 2020 Toyota Corolla is limited to 13.1 cubic feet, which is enough room for a week's worth of grocery shopping or two medium-sized suitcases with a few smaller items on top. To expand trunk space for larger cargo items, the 60/40 split-folding rear seats can be folded down.

For in-cabin storage, all models offer a small overhead console, a moderately sized center stack storage compartment, a decent passenger-side glove box, wide front, and rear door storage pockets, and two front and rear cupholders. All but the L trim additionally have a passenger-side seatback map pocket and a rear center fold-down backrest with dual cupholders.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Top View
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Rear Angle View
  • Trunk Volume
    13.1 ft³

Corolla Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

Standard features for the base L trim include air conditioning, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat, and an integrated backup camera. The LE trim is additionally fitted with automatic climate control and remote keyless entry. As standard, the XSE trim receives a power tilt-and-slide moonroof with sunshade, eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat which - together with the front passenger seat - is heated, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Additionally, a seven-inch color multi-info instrumentation cluster display, blind-spot monitoring, and a front door and trunk Smart Key system with push-button start are included. The SE 6MT, SE CVT, and XSE are equipped with premium front sports seats, while the SE trims have six-way manually adjustable driver's seats and lose the heated front seats and Smart Key System. The XSE receives an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat while benefiting from the front seat heating and Smart Key System as well. Standard driver-assist features include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, and road edge detection. Finally, automatic high beams, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control top off the list of standard features on higher trims.

Infotainment

The Corolla L trim is given a standard audio suite which includes a seven-inch touch-screen display and six-speaker sound system, along with Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The system allows for Bluetooth wireless technology and audio streaming, advanced voice recognition, and hands-free phone capabilities but it lacks Android Auto functionality. Scout GPS Link compatibility and Connected Services Safety Connect are equipped and include a three-year complimentary subscription. Similarly, Wi-Fi Connect Powered by Verizon is available. There is a single USB port available for device charging and connectivity. Higher up in the range, the LE, XLE, SE CVT, and SE 6MT come equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen display, and receive an additional USB port allocated to device charging. The XSE comes standard with the Audio Plus suite which adds HD Radio and SiriusXM Radio to the existing audio suite.

Corolla Sedan Problems and Reliability

There have been no recalls issued for the 2020 year model of the Toyota Corolla sedan, but as an all-new model that has only just been released, reliability is still up for evaluation. J.D. Power gave the new 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan a class-leading, perfect predicted reliability rating of five out of five stars. As standard, the Toyota Corolla Sedan is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. A two-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance plan is also standard.

Corolla Sedan Safety

Though the 2020 model of the Toyota Corolla sedan hasn't been evaluated for crash test safety by the NHTSA, the hatchback's perfect five-star overall rating should apply as the cars are mechanically identical in most regards. The IIHS tagged the 2020 Toyota Corolla as 2019's Top Safety Pick in the four-door sedan segment and scored it with a top rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its frontal crash prevention features.

Key Safety Features

At its base level, the 2020 Toyota Corolla comes equipped with eight airbags, an integrated backup camera, hill-start assist, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The new Corolla is also equipped with Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 suite which comprises a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection even in low-light, as well as daytime bicyclist detection. It also includes lane departure alert with steering assist, road edge detection with a sway warning system, automatic high beams, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control. The SE 6MT receives only standard dynamic radar cruise control and does not have the benefit of the sway warning system.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan a good car?

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan may not be the most premium sedan or feature as a luxury family carrier, but it is most certainly a safe, practical, and reliable pick. The base 1.8-liter engine does feel underpowered for the four-door sedan; however, it's easily avoided by opting for one of the upper-level trims which don't cost considerably more. Not only does the upper-level trim's 2.0-liter engine feel better suited to the sedan in terms of acceleration, but it also performs competitively in terms of fuel economy. Regardless of the engine option, however, the ride quality delivered by the sedan is prime for a family cruiser and fares well within the segment. The 2020 Corolla received exceptional crash-test safety ratings as well, along with a Top Safety Pick allocation by the IIHS. Pair this with exceptional predicted reliability and it's a record for success. The Toyota Corolla may have a bland and predictable reputation, but the new one finally brings style and excitement into battle without compromising on the traits that made the old ones so dependable.

What's the Price of the 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan?

The "people's car" is kept competitively affordable with the base 2020 Corolla L-trim priced at $19,600. From there, the LE costs only marginally more at $20,050; the XLE comes in at an MSRP of $24,050. In the higher-end trims, the SE CVT is marked to sell at $22,050 while the SE 6MT will costs a fraction more, at $22,750. Finally, the top-tier XSE is available at an MSRP of $25,550. All prices are excluding Toyota's processing, handling, and delivery charge of $955 as well as any tax, registration, and licensing fees.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Models

The 2020 Toyota Corolla lineup boasts six trim options, namely the L, LE, XLE, SE 6MT, SE CVT, and XSE. The L, LE, and XLE are all equipped with a 1.8-liter inline-four engine paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The SE 6MT, SE CVT, and XSE are all powered by a larger more powerful 2.0-liter inline-four engine, with all but the SE 6MT paired to a CVT automatic; instead, the SE 6MT receives a six-speed manual transmission.

The L trim is fitted with 15-inch steel wheels and all-LED exterior lighting. It comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen display, air conditioning, and fabric-trimmed manually-adjustable seating

The LE trim rides on 16-inch steel wheels and additionally receives color-keyed heated power outside mirrors. It receives an eight-inch touchscreen display, an added USB media port, automatic climate control, premium fabric-trimmed seats, and a rear center seat armrest with two cup holders.

In the middle of the range, the XLE is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels; it receives high-grade LED headlights along with blind-spot monitors on the exterior mirrors. Building on the features from lower models, the XLE receives HD and SiriusXM Radio. As standard, it is fitted with a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a Smart Key system, and SofTex-trimmed eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support.

The SE CVT trim cuts back on some features, following instead on the LE trim and not the XLE. Added to this variant is sportier exterior styling along with 18-inch machined alloy wheels, dual chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, and dark gray metallic sport side rocker panels. It also has a color-keyed rear spoiler. Its manual counterpart, the SE 6MT receives a Smart Key System and power-tilt-and-slide moonroof with sliding sunshade.

The XSE is equipped similarly to the XLE only with sportier cosmetic styling such as dark gray metallic sport side rocker panels and a rear spoiler.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
L
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,600
LE
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$20,050
SE
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,050
SE 6MT
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,750
Nightshade
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,750
See All 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Available for the LE trim is a $2,000 LE Premium Package which equips the LE with 16-inch alloy wheels. It also adds a Smart Key system, a power moonroof with a sliding sunshade, and a blind-spot monitoring system on color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators.

The XLE and XSE can be optioned with a $1,715 XLE/XSE Connectivity Package which comprises a nine-speaker premium JBL audio system with Dynamic Navigation and Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging. Going for the $2,165 Connectivity Package with Options includes the Connectivity Package, along with an Advanced Lighting Package which comprises an adaptive front lighting system and ambient interior lighting.

Optional for the SE trim is an SE Premium Package which, for $1,500 extra, adds the Smart Key system, a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, and a blind-spot monitor on color-keyed heated power outside mirrors. The $2,315 SE Premium Package with Options includes the features in the standard SE Premium package, as well as the Audio Plus suite, which upgrades the standard infotainment system to the eight-inch touchscreen display and adds HD Radio and SiriusXM Radio. Included in this is a three-month All Access trial as well as Remote Connect functions for six months. Lastly, an SE Connectivity Package with JBL Audio includes top-ups on existing features by adding a nine-speaker premium JBL audio system and the Audio Plus suite for $2,915.

What Toyota Corolla Sedan Model Should I Buy?

The range is comprehensive and quite broad, but we recommend opting for the XSE trim which costs only around $5,000 more than the base model; it offers a more powerful engine and a lot more onboard features. The 2.0-liter engine in the XSE is considerably more powerful and performs far better than the 1.8-liter version, especially in terms of acceleration and fuel economy. The XSE is also enhanced with a sportier aesthetic and various drive modes that add to the character of the vehicle in both looks and driveability. We also suggest adding the XSE Connectivity Package for the upgraded JBL audio system, navigation, and wireless charger which are worth the additional costs for superior sound and added tech.

Check out other Toyota Corolla Styles?

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Comparisons

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs Honda Civic Sedan

The 2019 Honda Civic Sedan is similarly priced to the 2020 Toyota Corolla. Both sedans have good fuel economy stats that are very much on par, but the Civic impresses with its superior performance figures. It offers greater acceleration along with superior handling dynamics, while still delivering a segment-worthy ride quality. The Civic also offers greater practicality with a larger trunk capacity of 15.1 cubic feet. The Corolla receives the nod for its more contemporary tech layout and an intuitive infotainment interface, but the Civic wins back favor for its standard inclusion of Android Auto functionality. Though not selected as a Top Safety Pick like the Corolla, the Civic also received class-leading crash test safety ratings from both the NHTSA and IIHS. However, it did receive a far below-average predicted reliability rating of two-and-a-half out of five. The Honda Civic Sedan is the go-to model for those who appreciate a touch of sporty dynamics, affordability and the comfort needed for daily driving. In this comparison, it is the Civic Sedan that offers far greater value for money considering its superior powertrain, greater tech functionality, and improved practicality.

See Honda Civic Sedan Review

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs Toyota Camry

For around $4,500 more than the Corolla, shoppers can opt for the more powerful and more practical midsize Toyota Camry. Equipped with a larger 2.5-liter engine and an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission, the Camry offers greater acceleration along with similar fuel efficiency. Its larger wheelbase affords it greater in-cabin passenger room than the Corolla and better trunk capacity with 15.1 cubic feet of available space. The 2019 Toyota Camry received top crash test ratings from the NHTSA and a 2019 Top Safety Pick + designation from the IIHS, giving it one up on the Corolla. It did, however, receive a lower predicted reliability rating of four out of five. Though the Corolla has been considerably improved for 2020, the Camry offers a little more than the basics that the Corolla has. The Camry is the better all-round family vehicle and daily commuter, with comfort and convenience features that the Corolla doesn't offer - yet.

See Toyota Camry Review

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