Toyota kicked off a new generation of Corolla last year with a redesigned hatchback version of the popular compact. We'd argue the 12th generation comes into its own for 2020, however, with the introduction of the sedan variant.
While the hatchback amps up the Corolla's attitude, the sedan is where the bulk of this car's sales happen. That's down to a lower starting price, more straightforward styling, a simplified list of standard equipment and a smaller base engine.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan adopts the company's TNGA (Toyota new generation architecture) platform, along with styling inspired by the hatchback. It also includes a hybrid powertrain for the first time in this model's long history.
Base Corolla spec includes a 1.8L four-cylinder engine making 139 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque in L, LE and XLE trims. SE and XSE trade that for a 2.0L good for 169 hp and 151 lb-ft. Corolla Hybrid pairs the 1.8L with an electric motor for combined output of 121 hp and an unspecified amount of torque.
Both gas engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission; the hybrid comes exclusively with a CVT.
That the Corolla has remained as popular as it is seems quite a feat in this age of small crossovers and SUVs. We'd argue this well-known car is a bigger deal in Canada than the U.S., as the latter's citizens tend to prefer utility vehicles and larger cars to thrifty compacts.
Corolla L, the model's base trim, comes with the 1.8L engine, six-speed transmission, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, air conditioning, six-speaker stereo with 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, six-way manual driver's seat, power windows, 4.2-inch multi-information gauge cluster display, 15-inch steel wheels with covers, power-adjustable side mirrors and automatic LED headlights. Standard active safety kit includes forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, radar cruise control and automatic high beams.
LE trim adds the CVT, an electric parking brake, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, 8.0-inch display audio, blind spot monitoring, automatic air conditioning and lane tracing assist. An LE upgrade package brings a heated steering wheel, passive keyless entry, sunroof and wireless smartphone charging.
XLE models get heated rear seats, an upgraded sound system with embedded navigation, power-adjustable steering wheel, digital gauge cluster and softex seat upholstery.
SE trim brings the 2.0L engine, six-speed transmission, a sport-tuned suspension and premium fabric seating. Otherwise, its feature list largely echoes that of the LE model, aside from the inclusion of passive keyless entry. An SE upgrade adds a heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, sunroof and wireless smartphone charging.
Corolla XSE brings ambient interior lighting, eight-way power driver's seat, heated rear seats, navigation, digital speedo and softex upholstery.
On the hybrid side, the base model (simply called Corolla Hybrid) comes with 8.0-inch display audio, Apple CarPlay, air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, digital gauge cluster, automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, blind spot monitor and the active safety features we listed above for the Corolla's gasoline models.
Corolla Hybrid Premium adds a leather-trimmed and heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, eight-way power driver's seat, ambient lighting and wireless smartphone charging.
Toyota's fuel consumption estimates for the 2020 Corolla are as follows. The 1.8L with six-speed transmission is rated at 8.0/6.0 L/100 km (city/highway), and 1.8L/CVT cars are estimated at 7.9/6.1 in base trim and 8.1/6.3 in XLE trim. The thriftiest 2.0L car comes with the CVT and is rated 7.6/5.8, or 7.7/6.1 for the XSE. 2.0L/six-speed cars are rated 8.2/6.5 L/100 km. Finally, the Corolla Hybrid's estimates are 4.4/4.5 L/100 km (city/highway).