With a fresh face and a new hybrid model
, the Toyota Corolla seems set out to prove that there is still a market for small cars after all.
Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the 2020 Corolla sedan will share engineering and materials with its hatchback brother. Let’s hope it gets infused with the hatch’s feisty personality, too.
The 2020 Corolla sedan L, LE, and XLE trims will use the 1.8-litre engine found in the previous generation car but with an unspecified power bump from its current rating of 132 horses. The XSE and SE grades are powered by a new 2.0-litre direct-injection inline four-banger said to be good for 169 ponies. A brace of transmissions will be on offer: a CVT that’s apparently programmed to act like a ten-speed or a six-speed manual. Toyota says the stick will have rev-matching and hill-holder technologies.
The 2020 Corolla sedan rides on a 2,700 mm wheelbase, just like its predecessor, but the company says any similarity with the old car’s body ends right there. Overall height is down by 20mm but, in a neat twist, the hood is 35mm closer to the pavement. This effectively increases forward visibility while giving the car its new aggro appearance.
The bold front fascia details vary by model grade, with the SE and XSE putting on the sportiest face, including a body-color chin spoiler that juts out like a spoilt child’s bottom lip. The rear leaves a distinct lighting impression as well, with narrow combination lamps that wrap deeply into the fenders. All 2020 Corolla sedan models use LEDs, the type and style varying by model grade.
On the safety front, parents and new drivers will be glad to learn all 2020 Corolla models are equipped as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a suite of integrated active and pre-collision safety features that includes helpers such as lane departure alerts and forward collision braking.
Toyota is touting plenty of interior goodies, such as revamped infotainment options and a nifty 7-inch gauge package they’re calling a multi-information display. The latter, available on upper trims, will be custom configurable to show all manner of speed and vehicle information. Gee-whiz TFT displays are no longer solely the domain of luxury manufacturers.
For the first time in Canada, the Corolla will also be offered in hybrid form. Details are scanty about its powertrain but the company promises to reveal all at the LA Auto Show later this month. Toyota currently offers electrification technology in its Prius family plus hybrid versions of the Camry, RAV4, and Highlander vehicles. A low(er)-cost fuel sipper in Corolla form will serve to strengthen Toyota’s hold on that segment.