It could well be Toyota’s most important car, and so the 2020 Corolla is leaving nothing to chance. The sedan version of the 12th generation Corolla made its debut earlier this year at Toyota’s SOMI event, and it’s promising just as much driver engagement, tech, and style as the Corolla hatchback launched last year.
Where the hatchback whet the appetite, the Corolla sedan is the main meal. It’s the best-selling body style of a car that, since the first Corolla launched in 1966, has sold more than 45 million units globally.
Like the surprisingly impressive hatchback, the all-new Corolla sedan is based on Toyota’s TNGA platform. It’s a big deal, not least because it should give the four-door a far more sporting feel from behind the wheel. From the outside, it’s lower and leaner than the old model, with bolder fender flares and a broader stance.
The wheelbase is the same as before, at 106.3-inches, but shorter front overhangs and longer rear overhangs combine with a lower height to leave the Corolla sedan looking more purposeful. The bonnet is a full 35mm lower, meanwhile, for better forward visibility. Depending on trim, there are different front fascia finishes, while J-shaped bi-beam LED headlamps give the car a distinctive look.
Adaptive front lighting is available, steering the beams around corners as you turn the wheel and depending on vehicle speed. At the rear, LED lamps are standard, with lens design varying by trim. As for paint, a new Celestite Grey Metallic has been added to the existing options: Pearl White, Glacier White, Satin Silver, Moonlight Ocean, Crimson Red, Dark Blue Metallic, and Scarlet.
16-inch alloy wheels kick off the XS trim, while the XR gets ultra-stylish turbine-shaped 18-inch alloys.
Inside, there’s a more streamlined cabin with a greater amount of tech. Silver and piano black accents can be paired with contrast stitching, and Toyota says it has tightened up the switchgear gaps and pared back the labelling to give it a cleaner overall finish. The options list gets a large 7-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
For the driver, a 4.2-inch digital instrumentation display is standard; a 7-inch upgrade is optional. Assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control, and all 2020 Corolla sedan trims get Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 on the XR model.
That includes pre-collision brake assistance, lane departure alerts with steering assistance, and – on CVT cars – lane tracing assistance to keep the car in the center of the lane. Automatic high beam lighting is included, too, as is road sign assistance. Blind spot monitoring is optional.
As for the engine, the 2020 Corolla sedan XS carry over the 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol engine from before, though now delivering more power and better fuel economy. The 2020 Corolla sedan XR, meanwhile, get a new 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force inline four-cylinder engine, with 125kW of power and 200Nm of torque. There’s both a CVT and a six-speed manual transmission, too, the latter having downshift rev-matching.
All in all, the 2020 Corolla sedan sets out to strike a tricky balance: the dependability that the nameplate has been known for, but with more excitement to encourage new owners into the fold. We’ll see how well that works out when monthly figures come in. Pricing is as below.
Corolla 1.8 XS CVT – R 380 200
Corolla 2.0 XR 6MT – R 420 500
Corolla 2.0 XR CVT – R 433 700
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