2020 Toyota Corolla

Wise with Age - But Keeping it Young!

2020 Toyota Corolla

With a clear vision, the 2020 Corolla is Greater than Ever

By Kevin Joostema, Partner, Car-ED.com | February 2019

The 2020 Toyota Corolla brings a long list of technology updates and new engine choices to its major cycle refresh that allow it to continue to be a wise choice to get you through the grind of daily life.   Whether it is your trip to high school, to college, your commute to work, daily runs to the grocery store and Target or even Starbucks runs,  the Corolla provides a safe and secure feeling to leave home with and return every day.

What is this vehicle?

As the best-selling nameplate in the world, the Toyota Corolla vision is to offer a model for everyone.  It is only fitting then that this is among the first 2020 model year vehicles to appear.  Yes, that’s right, the 2020’s are here!

It has been over 50 years since the first Corolla introduction in 1966.  The Corolla is the compact sedan offer from Toyota – and became the best selling model in the world back in 1997 – surpassing the VW Beetle.  The 2020 model is the 12th generation and over 46 million have been sold worldwide.  The Corolla, along with the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra and to a lesser extent the VW Jetta, define the continuum of the Compact Sedan segment in the US marketplace.

Who is this vehicle for?

Anyone looking at a Compact Sedan; there is no one type of owner, but it often can be for the first time vehicle owner that is focused most strongly on Quality, Reliability, Fuel Economy, and Price.  The 2020 Corolla lets you confidently satisfy your want for technology as well.

With its heritage and top global sales title, the Corolla is positioned to appeal to first time buyers.   The Corolla achieves this already with a 24% first new car buyer penetration.

For 2020 the Corolla is also for the hybrid buyer with the first ever Corolla Hybrid offering.  As well, it can satisfy those looking with a Sport Enthusiast angle with the Corolla Hatchback bodystyle and higher output 2.0L engine.

For the US market it is also important to note that the Corolla is the spearhead for Toyota reaching the increasing multicultural makeup of the marketplace.  By 2020, 50% of those under 18 will be multicultural.  The Corolla is hitting this target and achieving 57% multicultural ownership rates already.

Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer?

The king of Quality, Reliability, and Durability – the Corolla provides everything one needs in a sedan; and for 2020 it leads with the latest technologies for safety and connectivity.   It often, after the Korean-brand offers, has some of the most aggressive transaction prices – meaning one can expect to get one of the best deals possible in the market with this model.

With the offer of a hybrid model the 2020 Corolla also now provides all this for those wanting to make the switch to an alternative powertrain.  All with the same great value equation of the historical Corolla.

It is also made in Blue Springs, Mississippi, supporting jobs in the USA.  Production will move to a brand new factory in Huntsville, AL in 2021.

Interesting facts about the Corolla!

  • Corolla means “Small Crown” in Latin; it was named this because Toyota had a tradition of naming its sedans in relation to their original Toyota Crown model – and this was the “small” sedan  in relation to the original, larger Crown sedan.
  • The Corolla has been made in the US since 2011 – and passed the 1 million production milestone back in 2017.
  • It is produced or assembled in 12 countries around the globe – truly a global product.

What Impressed Us / Top Likes:

1 – We have been a big supporter of the standardization of the newest safety and driver assistance technologies that some manufacturers are pursuing.  Toyota has led this charge with its Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) – which is standard on all Toyotas since 2017.

The 2020 Corolla leads the brands’ roll out of TSS 2.0 – with a suite of technologies standard on the Corolla.

This is  quite impressive.  Especially to be offered in what is an entry point offer for the brand – and the first new car for so many.

TSS 2.0 brings the following upgrades from the original TSS:

  • The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) works in a full range (not partial) of speeds – down to 0 mph.
  • Lane Tracing Assist is an added feature
  • It adds road edge detection to the Lane Departure / Steering Assist offer – not only based on lines on side of the road.
  • The car can be automatically stopped from a speed as high as 37mph.
  • It adds low-light and cyclist detection to its Pedestrian detection capabilities.
  • It adds expanded Road Sign Assist (recognition and display in car) to the offer

Toyota leads in offering these technologies as standard – and has sold over 10 million vehicles globally with TSS.   This gives it a lot of experience and data to keep evolving the technologies ahead of others.

2 – A new technology in the 2020 Corolla is LTA – Lane Tracing Assist.   We found this to be the most surprising new technology for the good of the everyday driver.

In a nutshell the LTA keeps the vehicle centered in the lane/road.  Using both the DRCC and LDA systems, it uses the cameras and lidar to create a “center-line” with the road and vehicle in front on which to keep the vehicle centered.  This is significant as it means the vehicle will begin to turn on curves or small shifts in flow patterns and ”guide” the drive to do so.  As such it does not need new mapping software or details to achieve this.

As a driver we found this so intriguing and helpful.  As promised, it reduced strain and fatigue when driving.  Most importantly, it acted as an education tool – teaching me, the driver – if I was on center or not.  I often found myself driving to far to the right or the left with the LTA engaged – so it was teaching me how to be a better, more “centered”, driver.   I loved it.

With a target of the first time buyer – this is a HUGE benefit for the driver.

3 – An amazing Premium Audio System offer.  Available on the 2020 Corolla – on the SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels – is a 9 speaker, 800 watt JBL premium audio system with a 10 inch subwoofer.  Wow!   Again, with a target of young, first time buyers, this is perfect.   And for anyone that likes to listen to music in the car – which is EVERYONE!

This is strongest audio system offered in Toyota’s lineup excluding the luxurious Avalon.  Again, a wow – that is can be made available to the every-person Corolla shopper/buyer.

4 – The offering of a Hybrid alternative powertrain.

The Hybrid offering on the Corolla is very appealing.  Here is why:

  • 4 driving modes – Normal, Power, Eco, and EV only (up to 0.6 miles)
  • With up to 53 mpg – it has a range well over 600 miles on a tank of gas – so less frequent stops to fill up. That is enough to get you from DC to Savannah, GA (where the Corolla was tested) on a single tank of gas with some leftover. Wow!
  • No loss of space due to the battery pack anymore – same huge space as the regular sedan in the rear.
  • The extra weigh in the rear helps the vehicle actually feel more “planted” and stable for driving feel – which is preferred by most (like us!) And it technically actually makes the weight distribution more balanced than is typical in a front-wheel drive car with a lot of weight in the front.

5 – The “Triple-J” LED headlights design is a defining character of the vehicle design now.  All vehicles need some defining character elements.  Along with this there are Adaptive Front Lights available.  This technology is usually only offered in luxury-branded – and priced – products.

Items to Make Better (Least Favorite Things):

1 – It is amazing the plethora of all the connected services that Toyota can offer on the 2020 Corolla.  Some of these are definitely not available on luxury makes or most of the marketplace yet.  However, besides this great content,  the graphics and basic look of the multimedia touchscreen are a bit dull.  We appreciate the larger size of the screens available, but the software that makes the “design” of the look is pretty basic.   A bit more character while still making use easy is certainly doable.  It would be great if some of the data shown on the center gauge cluster could be seen , in larger form, on the center multimedia touchscreen for the technologies in use, etc.

2 – USB ports:  Additional USB connections should be available simply for charging purposes in the back seat.   USB ports are like the cup holders of the 90s – you can’t have too many.  And the highest charging speeds should be available – not the slowest speeds.

Segment and Competitors:

  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Mazda 3
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Kia Forte
  • VW Jetta
  • Ford Focus (cancelled)
  • Chevrolet Cruze (cancelled)

Lately, Compact SUVs and Small SUVs are also giving the traditional Compact Sedans additional competition through expanding offerings and similar price points but SUV imagery and AWD offers.

Unique Specifications:

TSS 2.0 (Toyota Safety Sense 2.0) as standard

JBL premium audio system with 9 speakers, 10 inch subwoofer, and 800 watts

10 speed manual mode with the automatic CVT transmission of the higher output 2.0 TSS engine option – on trim levels SE and XSE.

CVT technology that has evolved to include a Dynamic Shift CVT – which has a physical 1st gear to start then then the CVT pulleys kick in after.  Contributes to better driving feel from a stop and getting up to speed.

For other specifications and equipment go to:


or www.Car-ED.com

and see if the Toyota Corolla or other Compact vehicles best connect to you.

Pricing and Availability:

MSRP starts at $19,500, going all the way up to 25,450 for the XSE trim, with additional optional content available as well.  Delivery and Handling adds another $930 to this range of pricing.

Available in end February and March 2019 at all Toyota dealers

2019-02-27T13:48:21-05:00Feb 2019|Car Reviews|