What can we say about the Toyota Corolla that hasn’t been said a million times? Toyota’s compact sedan has a well-deserved reputation for quality and durability, and has more recently gained more memorable styling and a touch of driver engagement. The current 12th-generation Corolla arrived in 2020.
What’s New/Key Changes From Last Year
This year, the Corolla’s big news is an AWD option for its hybrid powertrain; all Corolla models gets an upgraded driver safety assist suite, revised infotainment, and refreshed styling; finally, gas-powered models now all use a 169-hp engine formerly reserved for upper trim levels.
Toyota offers the Corolla with gas engines in L, LE, SE, and XSE trim levels, and with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain option in LE, SE, and XSE. In gas cars, power is from a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Hybrids match a 1.8L engine with electric power and a CVT; in base form, there’s a single motor under the hood, while AWD models add a second at the rear axle; AWD is optional in LE Hybrid and standard in SE Hybrid and XSE Hybrid.
Corolla L comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio, a 4.2-inch driver info display, A/C, 15-inch steel wheels with covers, heated side mirrors, and LED headlights.
The Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package comprises forward collision mitigation, automatic high beams, lane departure prevention, lane tracing assist, adaptive cruise control, and road sign recognition.
LE adds heated front seats, automatic A/C, 16-inch steel wheels, and a wiper de-icer. LE Hybrid upgrades to a digital gauge display, and LE Hybrid AWD gets a heated steering wheel.
SE gains passive keyless entry, sport seat fabric, 16-inch alloy wheels, and fog lights. SE AWD Hybrid gets wireless phone charging, 18-inch wheels, and a sunroof.
XSE brings wireless phone charging, a 7.0-inch gauge display, heated rear seats, softex/cloth upholstery, a power driver’s seat with lumbar, a heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, and a sunroof.
Corolla LE gas models offer an upgrade package of a heated steering wheel, alloy wheels, a sunroof, wireless phone charging, and passive keyless entry. SE gas trim can be had with an upgrade pack of a heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, sunroof, and wireless charging.
Toyota’s fuel consumption estimates for the Corolla are as low as 7.4/5.7 L/100 km (city/highway) for the gas powertrain; hybrid models are rated for 4.4/5.1 L/100 km with front-wheel drive, and 4.6/5.3 L/100 km with AWD.
If the Corolla is on your shopping list, you might also want to consider the Hyundai Elantra – the only other car in this class to offer a hybrid option – and the Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Sentra, Mazda3, and Subaru Impreza – which is the only other compact with AWD.