2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets a bold new look in its 12th generation

Like the Corolla Hatch, the sedan moves to the TNGA modular platform.

Jake Holmes Reviews Editor
While studying traditional news journalism in college, Jake realized he was smitten by all things automotive and wound up with an internship at Car and Driver. That led to a career writing news, review and feature stories about all things automotive at Automobile Magazine, most recently at Motor1. When he's not driving, fixing or talking about cars, he's most often found on a bicycle.
Jake Holmes
4 min read
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan
Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

The 2020 sedan has been fully revealed, marking the first full redesign for the US-market version of the popular car since 2013. The Corolla made its debut today at a media event in California, concurrently with the car's reveal at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in China.

2020 Toyota Corolla

The 2020 Corolla follows many other recent models in switching to the automaker's TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) modular platform. Most notably, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback that was introduced earlier this year at the New York Auto Show already rides on TNGA. It's no surprise that the sedan and Hatchback have a lot in common.

As had been suggested by an earlier teaser photo, the 2020 Toyota Corolla looks a lot meaner, angrier and more angular than before. That begins with sportier proportions: the new car is lower and wider than its predecessor, and though the wheelbase is unchanged, Toyota says it shortened the front overhang and extended the rear one -- all moves that can help give a car a better visual stance on the road.

Watch this: 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan boasts bolder styling, more features

Up front, the LED headlights are squeezed into an ultraskinny band beneath the hood, which extends forward and down, and the massive grille. The sporty-ish SE and XSE trim levels also have a lip spoiler and "aero stablizing fins" for looks. Around back, too, the Corolla's bodywork is creased and sharp, with the LED taillights wrapping onto the fenders and, on SE/XSE models, a trunklid spoiler and smoked taillights. Overall, it's certainly a different and more interesting design than the outgoing Corolla -- though we'll need to spend more time with it in person to warm up to that mouthy, grille-intensive nose.

It certainly looks sportier and more aggressive than the old Corolla.


It's a little easier to get used to the inside of the 2020 Toyota Corolla, which mostly follows in the footsteps of the earlier five-door variant. The clean, tidy dashboard design features centrally mounted climate controls, and a 7- or 8-inch (depending on trim level) touchscreen infotainment system mounted front-and-center. Toyota says the center-console armrest is larger, while a storage space ahead of the shifter can optionally feature wireless phone charging. The instrument cluster features a 4.2-inch trip computer as standard with an upgraded 7-inch one offered as an option.

Compared to the last Corolla sedan, Toyota says the new one has much-improved visibility, thanks to tweaks like a lower cowl and beltline. The cabin is also said to be quieter, owing to extensive use of sound-deadening materials. And the driver's seating position has been moved almost an inch lower and 1.57-inches farther rearward, adjustments said to improve both comfort and the car's weight distribution.

The 2020 Corolla offers two engines, each of which is offered only with specific trim levels. The standard choice is a 1.8-liter inline-four from the old Corolla, rated for 139 horsepower and mated only to a continuously variable transmission. Fuel economy has yet to be announced, though Toyota does promise the 1.8-liter engine offers "better fuel efficiency" than before. We'll likely have to wait until closer to the Corolla's on-sale date next year for official numbers.

2020 Toyota Corolla

The basic dashboard layout is familiar from the Corolla Hatchback.

Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

The SE and XSE models use the same 2.0-liter engine as the Corolla Hatchback, albeit here rated for 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The XSE model comes only with a CVT -- specifically, Toyota's Dynamic-Shift unit that has a fixed first gear ratio for sportier take-off -- while the SE can also be equipped with a six-speed manual. As on the hatchback, the manual has an electronic rev-match feature.

Along with the horsepower increase and different styling, Toyota says the Corolla SE and XSE will have a "sport-tuned" suspension, as well as lower-profile tires on their 18-inch wheels compared to the 16-inch wheels on other trim levels. All Corollas will use multilink rear suspension instead of the old car's torsion-beam setup, while the front McPherson strut-type suspension has been redesigned and Toyota says new shock absorbers provide "exemplary ride comfort."

All trim levels but the base Corolla L receive an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Toyota's Entune 3.0 software, with one USB port and support for Apple CarPlay and Amazon 's Alexa. The LE and SE models have two USB ports, while the XSE, XLE and optionally the SE CVT trim level feature the Entune 3.0 Plus system that adds satellite radio and HD radio. On XSE and XLE models, buyers can also opt for an Audio Premium package with a JBL sound system and integrated navigation.

Active safety tech is in abundance, with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite standard on every model. It includes precollision warning and braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-centering steering on the highway, automatic high beams and traffic sign recognition. Blind-spot monitoring is offered on certain trim levels and packages.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla goes on sale in spring 2019. Given how much we've enjoyed the Corolla Hatchback, we're expecting good things from the new sedan, too.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla wears a striking new face

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