2020 Toyota Corolla evaluation: Extra emotional, nonetheless wise

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The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling automotive of all time, and for good cause: it is a no-nonsense, simple compact sedan that oozes worth. The 12th-generation Corolla retains that custom alive, however this time round it packs character that has been sorely lacking in earlier generations to nice impact.

New face, who dis

When the Toyota Corolla Hatchback first debuted, I praised its styling, saying it gave the previously staid nameplate some visible vigor. The sedan adaptation is simply nearly as good, ditching the insectoid entrance fascia of its forebear in favor of one thing much more fascinating. My XSE tester’s sporty trim means this Corolla has extra aggressive bumpers than the standard mannequin. Whereas it is heavy on grille up entrance, it is not as overwrought as a few of Toyota’s different vehicles, just like the Avalon. The twee little diffuser on the again bumper is a cute little nod to the trim’s livelier aspirations, too.

Whereas it won’t be as capacious as its hatchback sibling, the 2020 Corolla sedan’s trunk is not too unhealthy. At 13.1 cubic toes, it is greater than sufficient to deal with a household’s price of groceries or a field’s price of flowers and mulch. That is nice in a bubble, however the Corolla’s capability truly lags behind opponents just like the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta.

The Corolla is a compact sedan, however there’s nothing compact about its inside quantity. The dashboard does not jut out too removed from the firewall, leaving the cabin feeling loads roomy for each driver and passenger. The story is even higher within the second row, the place a 6-foot-tall passenger can have no drawback sitting behind a 6-foot-tall driver. Even with the entrance seat slid manner again, my knees nonetheless fail to the touch the seatback within the second row. When it comes to headroom, there’s loads. The seats themselves are snug on lengthy journeys, and my XSE tester has sportier seats with engaging blue material inserts.

The inside follows the identical components as different new Toyota fashions, just like the RAV4. The dashboard makes fascinating use of layering, and the entire thing feels very nicely bolted collectively. The supplies aren’t essentially the most premium feeling, however the plastics aren’t so exhausting that I fear about scuffing them with a powerful look. Visibility is nice, partially as a result of Toyota moved the facet mirrors to the door panels, making area for an additional quarter-window throughout the door body. That wonderful vantage level applies to the facet and rear views, as nicely, leaving me to rely much less on blind-spot monitoring than I would in any other case have to.

Far much less of a bore than earlier than

Whereas it is not precisely truthful to harp on a mass-market sedan for missing dynamic enchantment, the Corolla has lengthy lagged behind competitors just like the Civic and Mazda3 in the case of enjoyable issue. Nevertheless, the 12th-generation Corolla has 4 little letters that assist it make up a few of that floor: TNGA.

The Toyota New International Structure is a versatile car platform that underpins all matter of latest Toyotas, from Camry to RAV4. It offers the brand new Corolla a solidity that it lacked in prior iterations, particularly at the side of my XSE tester’s sportier suspension tuning. The 225/40R18 Yokohama Avid GT all-season tires do not have quite a lot of sidewall to soak up street inconsistencies, but on a 700-mile spherical journey between Detroit and Milwaukee, I by no means grew bored with the trip high quality, because the suspension nonetheless translated little annoyance into the cabin.

Whereas the suspension does not contribute a lot to inside noise, the wind and tires most definitely do. Just like the RAV4 I lately reviewed, I feel Toyota scrimped a bit too exhausting on the noise-mitigation materials, as I discover the wind and street noise within the cabin to be above common, sometimes requiring an additional dose of stereo quantity to drown it out.

Lastly, a Corolla sedan that is not a complete yawn behind the wheel.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Decrease Corolla trims make do with a 139-horsepower, 1.8-liter I4, however the SE and XSE fashions supply a bit extra enthusiasm. My tester sports activities the identical 2.0-liter I4 as discovered within the Corolla Hatchback, placing out 169 hp and 151 lb-ft. Whereas it could not emit essentially the most nice be aware on the planet, it pulls strongly and easily sufficient to let an individual sit back and have somewhat enjoyable after dropping the youngsters in school.

A few of that comes from Toyota’s intelligent Direct Shift CVT expertise. This repeatedly variable transmission makes use of an precise first gear, bypassing the “rubber band impact” discovered in lots of CVTs for extra direct acceleration away from cease lights. As soon as first gear is finished, it acts like a standard CVT, and I favor its choice for smoother, extra conventional motion over the simulated gear adjustments I discover in a lot of different new vehicles with comparable drivetrains.

It is a bizarre world when the extra highly effective engine possibility is the extra environment friendly one, as nicely, however that is the case with the 2020 Corolla. My front-wheel-drive XSE tester is rated at 31 miles per gallon metropolis and 38 mpg freeway, however on my lengthy street journey, I can maintain freeway financial system at 40 or above. Within the metropolis, a light-weight contact on the fuel pedal delivers about 33 mpg.

Adequate tech for many

The XSE is the 2020 Corolla’s highest non-hybrid trim, and consequently, this ‘Rolla is loaded with nearly all of the tech obtainable within the lineup The one tech possibility is a $1,715 package deal that provides a 9-speaker JBL sound system and embedded navigation, which my tester lacks, however that is to not say I really feel like I am lacking something as-is.

As with different new Toyota fashions, my tester packs a 7-inch show within the gauge cluster that reveals a big analog speedometer with music and car data tucked below its graphical arch. It affords a much less distracting solution to sustain on varied car goings-on, and I am all the time appreciative of that.

Decrease trims make do with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, however my tester rocks an 8-inch display screen. It has Apple CarPlay, however although Toyota has began introducing Android Auto on sure 2020-model-year automobiles, it is nonetheless notably absent right here. Nevertheless, the Corolla packs loads of different methods, like HD radio and Amazon Alexa compatibility. With out the embedded navigation obtainable as an possibility, I am utilizing Apple CarPlay to get round, however there is a standalone Toyota app obtainable that gives turn-by-turn instructions, as nicely.

If you happen to do not thoughts the outdated graphics, Entune 3.Zero is a fairly nicely crammed out system, with nearly every thing the common household would wish. Besides Android Auto.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

On the entire, Toyota’s Entune software program is ok. The display screen responds comparatively shortly to my inputs, and I recognize the extra bodily buttons on both facet of the show for quick navigation between corners of the system. The USB ports cost my gadgets with haste, however the under-dash mounting place of the only real port that allows CarPlay means cords will usually be left dangling, dragging itself by means of no matter gunk is left on the passenger-side floormat. Placing each USB retailers within the heart console could be a greater manner of doing it.

Toyota’s eager on democratizing its suite of security programs and driver aids, and that is still the case on Corolla; all trims (together with the bottom L) come outfitted with Toyota Security Sense 2.0. This group consists of automated braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise management, lane-keep help, blind spot monitoring and automated excessive beam headlights. The adaptive cruise management takes a lot of the drudgery out of my lengthy journey to Milwaukee, by no means jarring the cabin with sudden actions. The lane-keep help solely affords a gossamer contact on the wheel, avoiding heavy-handed swerves to heart.

How I might spec it

Carrying only a set of $249 ground mats and no extra choices, my XSE tester clocks in at a palatable $26,629 together with $930 for vacation spot. Contemplating this Corolla has every thing I might ask for with a price ticket that is nonetheless about $10,000 beneath the common transaction value for a brand new automotive in 2019, that is the trim I might persist with. I favor embedded navigation, although, so I am going to go for the $1,715 package deal that provides it. That brings my out-the-door complete to $28,095 together with vacation spot, which is not unhealthy, however as soon as you have skilled the supplies and telematics within the newest (and equally priced) Mazda3, the Corolla’s worth pales a bit.

All the way down to brass tacks

The Corolla is extra compelling for 2020, positive, nevertheless it’s not good. If you happen to prioritize driving dynamics over every thing else, the Mazda3 will probably be your finest wager, with the Honda Civic sizzling on its heels, and each supply extra cargo capability. The Hyundai Elantra might be the closest automotive to the Corolla, providing nice trim packaging and a good drive at a great value. If you happen to actually need to get a deal on this section, the Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus aren’t lengthy for this planet, so there’s in all probability a good bit of wiggle room on their window stickers, however I discover neither automotive to be all that nice.

Whereas it is normally handled because the automotive equal of a toaster, Toyota has as soon as once more given the Corolla some character to bolster its credentials as a perennially secure alternative within the compact section. It drives nicely, it is not too shabby to have a look at and, maybe most significantly, it is priced aggressively for what it brings to the desk. You possibly can by no means go incorrect with a Corolla, however now, it would truly fire up an emotion or two.

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