As the Toyota Corolla's styling has gotten more and more extreme over the years, its lack of driving character has become more and more glaring in contrast. The newest iteration of the venerable compact car, the 2020 Corolla sedan, is here with the intention to change that. With the same powertrain and underpinnings that pleased us in the new Corolla hatchback, and significantly more attractive styling, this sedan is shaping up to be the first desirable and competitive Corolla in quite some time.
This 12th-generation lineup is also the first truly "new" Corolla in a while. Although the last few generations have used mostly carryover platforms, this Corolla is truly novel underneath, riding on a platform that fits under the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) umbrella. Its wheelbase is the same as before, but the track is wider and the suspension arrangement is new and significantly more sophisticated. The independent multilink setup in the rear that replaces the previous sedan's torsion beam aims to provide much improved ride quality and and handling.
L, LE, and XLE versions of the new Corolla sedan use a carryover 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 139 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. But the more interesting story under the hood is the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder that ups output significantly to 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. It'll be in the Corolla's sportier SE and XSE trim levels, which also get visual tweaks including a different front grille and larger 18-inch wheels. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) will be standard, with a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching capability available on the SE with the 2.0-liter engine.
Inside, the Corolla sedan's cabin mostly mimics the Corolla hatchback's, which is a good thing given that car's uptick in material quality and design. The base L model has a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, but all other trims get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is not on the menu, unfortunately). Two-tone leather upholstery will be optional, as pictured here, with a few different color combinations.
As with the outgoing Corolla, several active-safety features standard across the lineup, including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and automated emergency braking. Blind-spot monitoring will be optional.
Expect pricing to mostly hold the line compared to today's Corolla, with the base L starting around $20,000 and better-equipped trim levels pushing past $25,000. It will start arriving at dealerships in spring 2019.
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