The SE is the image car for the Corolla brand, with its extra trim and 18-inch alloy wheels. It also gets the more powerful four-cylinder engine. Photo: Toyota

The SE is the image car for the Corolla brand, with its extra trim and 18-inch alloy wheels. It also gets the more powerful four-cylinder engine. Photo: Toyota

2020 Toyota Corolla: need to know

A car known for being safe and reliable now has other attributes: More style and technology

More than 46 million Toyota Corollas have been sold since the nameplate’s beginnings in the 1960s, making it the most popular one in automotive history.

That means there’s constant pressure on Toyota to keep the ball moving forward in terms of comfort, reliability, and resale value.

The new 12th-generation Corolla sedan, which joins the new-for-2019 Corolla Hatchback, might not be the sharpest-looking sled on the block, or the quickest, but it’s special for other reasons. The Corolla is ideal for people who don’t want to think about how the car works, but believe it will work faithfully and safely well past the powertrain warranty stage and/or the monthly loan or lease commitment.

The 2020 model does however shed much of its previous design frumpiness, including a nose that keeps faith with Toyota’s signature open-mouth grille. A reduction of about 2.5 centimetres in body height — plus a hood that’s 3.5 centimetres lower — means a noticeably sleeker silhouette. More curves and creases elsewhere give the Corolla a much-needed character injection.

The adoption of Toyota’s latest TGNA platform hasn’t resulted in any increases to the Corolla’s length, width, trunk volume or distance between the front and rear wheels, but the available powertrains now sit slightly closer to the ground, which means a lower centre of gravity. As well, a new independent rear suspension replaces the previous torsion-beam unit and is claimed to improve both handling and ride comfort.

A redesigned dashboard includes a tablet-style touch screen, larger floor console and armrest, and better-quality trim and seat fabrics.

For 2020, there are three different powerplant choices for Corolla buyers to ponder. The base unit is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder that basically carries over from 2019 and is rated at 139 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque.

Optional is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder — standard issue in the Hatchback — that produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the 1.8, while a continuously variable unit (CVT) is optional, but standard with the 2.0.

For the first time, the Corolla can be ordered with a hybrid system that’s similar to what’s used in the Toyota Prius. Its 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine (with a CVT) combines with a pair of electric motors to produce 121 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque.

As with the Prius, the Corolla Hybrid’s battery pack is located beneath the rear seat (and not within the trunk) so there’s no reduction in storage space with the seatback in place or folded flat.

Best-fuel-economy honours go to the Hybrid with 4.5 l/100 km in combined city-highway driving. That trounces the next-best 2.0-litre four-cylinder model that earns a rarting of 6.7 l/100 km (combined). Interestingly, the base 1.8/CVT is a bit thirstier at 7.1 l/100 km, combined.

The base Corolla L starts at $19,800, including destination fees. That gets you fleet-level basics, a seven-inch touch-screen with navigation, and Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of dynamic safety technologies.

The LE trim comes with an eight-inch touch screen, automatic climate control, premium fabric upholstery and up-level interior trim. The SE gets a unique grille and rocker-panel trim, paddle shifters for the CVT, and 18-inch alloy wheels (smaller steelies for the L and LE). You’ll pay a bit more for the SE, but you get the 2.0-litre engine plus sport-type front seats with more side bolstering.

The XLE comes with a power moonroof, adaptive headlights (pivoting left and right as you turn), heated front seats and a premium JBL-brand audio package. The top-rung XSE receives most of the SE’s content (including the more powerful engine with normal and sport driving modes) plus a premium sound system.

Note that the Hybrid costs $3,000 more than the comparably equipped non-hybrid LE.

As a cornerstone vehicle for Toyota, there’s a lot riding on any Corolla redesign, and perhaps more so in the face of a declining small-car market. After more than 46 million vehicles sold, reliability is perhaps a given for the Corolla. This time around there’s greater emphasis on style and powertrain technology, further enticement for buyers to join the club.

What you should know: 2020 Toyota Corolla

Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact sedan

Engines (h.p.): 1.8-litre DOHC I-4, (139); 2.0-litre DOHC I-4 (169) 1.8-litre DOHC I-4 plus electric motor (121 net)

Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT); six-speed manual (opt.)

Market position: The world’s best-selling automobile brand has a history of success spanning five decades. With each successive generation, the Corolla’s reputation as a trusted and trouble-free conveyance has remained intact.

Points: Much improved in the looks department. • New interior treatments and a modern-design touch screen should help bolster interest. • Available 169-horsepower 2.0-litre engine is quite an improvement over the underwhelming base 1.8. • For more space, the Hatchback is a viable alternative. • An all-wheel-drive option is rumoured to be on the way.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (std.); emergency braking (std.); pedestrian detection (std.)

BY COMPARISON

Mazda3

Base price: $19,800

High-style model is available in sedan or hatchback with up to 186 h.p on tap.

Kia Forte

Base price: $18,950

Great style, roomy interior and standard 147-h.p. engine make it a fun ride.

Volkswagen Jetta

Base price: $21,300

The Passat’s junior relation has a punchy turbo I-4. GLI version can really hustle.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

2020 Toyota Corolla: need to know

The SE can be ordered with a manual transmission and is the sporty member of the family with more supportive seats. Photo: Toyota

The SE can be ordered with a manual transmission and is the sporty member of the family with more supportive seats. Photo: Toyota

With the available seven-inch screen at the centre of the gauge display, the driver can switch between analog and digital speedometer styles. Photo: Toyota

With the available seven-inch screen at the centre of the gauge display, the driver can switch between analog and digital speedometer styles. Photo: Toyota

The Corolla’s dashboard really shows how far this entry-level model has come, even in the last decade. Now, designers go for style as much as function, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. Note how few buttons there are, other than on the steering wheel. Photo: Toyota

The Corolla’s dashboard really shows how far this entry-level model has come, even in the last decade. Now, designers go for style as much as function, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. Note how few buttons there are, other than on the steering wheel. Photo: Toyota

Just Posted

Additional COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Arbutus Global Middle School and Mount Doug Secondary School. (Google Streetview)
Additional COVID-19 exposures reported at two Saanich schools

New dates of exposure added to Arbutus Global Middle School and Mount Doug Secondary School

Former Saanich councillor Dean Murdock hosts a live episode of his podcast on April 14 and tackleto tackle housing issues in the region. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Live episode of Saanich podcast focuses on region’s housing issues

Dean Murdock, panel of guests go live on Zoom for Amazing Places podcast April 14

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a recipient at a vaccination clinic. Peoples Pharmacy in Colwood is offering AstraZeneca vaccines for Greater Victoria residents from April 12 to 18. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
AstraZeneca vaccinations continue at Colwood pharmacy

Vaccines offered to people aged 55 to 65 from April 12 to 18

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. and Victoria’s overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip wave goodbye to the crowd at Vancouver International Airport in October 2002. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam)
SOOKE HISTORY: Remembering dinner with the Queen and Prince Philip

Royal couple visited Victoria for Commonwealth Games banquet in 1994

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Most Read