2020 Toyota Corolla HSE – First Look, Official 2020 Toyota Corolla site. Find a new Corolla at a Toyota dealership near you, or build & price your own Toyota Corolla online today. – 2020 Toyota Corolla
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The 2020 Toyota Corolla shows how serious the company remains about small sedans and hatchbacks, even as rivals drop theirs in favor of crossover SUVs.
The latest Corolla sedan adds luster to one of the longest-lived nameplates in the business, and while it doesn’t bristle with some of the verve of the new RAV4—really—it’s become noticeably better in ways it probably doesn’t need to.
The latest Corolla sedan comes in L, LE, LE Hybrid, SE, XLE, and XSE trims. Hatchbacks come in SE and XSE trims—but for now, the hatchback’s still a 2019 model. We’ll treat it here as a carry-over for the 2020 model year, but when updated information is published we’ll add it.
Review continues below
We give the 2020 Corolla a 6.2 out of 10 based on the sedan outfitted with the smaller engine and CVT, the most common configuration. Safety data could soon boost its score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
THE CAR CONNECTION EXPERT RATING BREAKDOWN
6 / 10
5 / 10
Comfort & Quality
6 / 10
N/A / 10
8 / 10
6 / 10
In terms of styling, the new Corolla cuts a sharper figure as a sedan, but more forcefully as a hatchback. On the four-door, LED headlights shared with the Corolla hatchback give the compact sedan a more upmarket appearance than before. L trims—those with the less-powerful engine—have different front and rear bumpers than S trims. Those with the larger engine come standard with alloy wheels and feature dual chrome exhaust tips poking out of a mock rear diffuser. The Corolla hatchback wears a good look for the 12th-generation model. The front and rear are more expressive—without being exhaustive—and its body sides are more interesting. In both, the dash design hits a more upscale note. A standard 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment floats tablet-like above the climate controls.
Performance ranges from puttering hybrid form, to pedestrian shape, to sporty but safe. The Corolla lineup now is comprised of three powertrains. There’s a hybrid setup on loan from the Prius with predictably moderate acceleration; a mid-range inline-4 with a relatively quiet demeanor and smooth CVT shift action; and finally a 169-horsepower inline-4 that could use a round of refinement but brings 0-60 mph times below eight seconds.
On all models, an independent suspension gets into a tighter rhythm with the new Corolla’s stronger body structure. The Corolla handles well with light steering and light-footed handling; it feels engaged, if not exactly vibrant.
The cabin can hold four adults, but the front seat passengers fare better in comparison. In all 2020 Corollas, the front bucket seats get a grip on seat design; they’re better than more expensive vehicles we’ve driven lately. Hybrids may have the best seats with less padding but softer cloth; other cloth seats get thicker cushioning and better back support. Synthetic-leather versions and SE sporty buckets in particular have good grip, though all could use more lumbar padding. In back, rear-seat passengers should be shorter than 6 feet tall, as a lower roofline raises head-room issues.
It’s still among the more mildly flavored mass-market sedans, but the 2020 Toyota Corolla has dropped the bland from its diet.
All 2020 Corollas get automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control, but blind-spot monitors are less widely available.
Every 2020 Corolla sedan has LED headlights, touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay compatibility and power features. Synthetic leather upholstery and a sunroof figure into the more expensive models, but at less than $25,000 the very well-equipped Corolla XLE has those touches plus 16-inch wheels and a power driver seat. It’s a great small-car value.