Toyota’s trusty Corolla compact sedan enters its 12th generation on a new platform that promises a quieter, more agile ride and engines tuned for more power and better fuel efficiency. The Corolla must prove it can deliver more stability and power to Toyota Motor Sales’ U.S. car sales, which are down 11 percent this year through October.
Underpinnings: The 2020 Corolla is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture, which underpins most of the brand’s car lineup, from the Prius to the full-size Avalon. Toyota says the vehicle incorporates new approaches to design, engineering, assembly and materials to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, safety and driving dynamics.
Interior: The instrument panel, cowl, hood and beltline height are lower than on the previous version to increase visibility and create a more open feel in the cabin. The cockpit provides an interior space that surrounds the driver while offering a spacious environment for all passengers. Minimized gaps between buttons and switches, along with the elimination of unnecessary lettering on switchgear. Available ambient lighting illuminates the front door trim, console tray and front cupholder. The tray can hold small items such as a smartphone or wallet, or houses the optional Qi wireless device charging pad.
Safety: The sedan comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite that includes a pre-collision alert and braking-assistance system, dynamic cruise control and lane-departure alert. Blind Spot Monitor is a standard or optional feature, depending on model grade. When an approaching vehicle is detected, the system is designed to alert the driver using indicators on the outside mirrors.
Brake Hold is also a convenient technology that helps reduces driver workload while waiting at a traffic light or while driving in traffic.
Powertrain: The L, LE and XLE trims carry over the 1.8-liter engine from the previous generation, but are tuned for more horsepower and fuel efficiency. The XSE and SE grades get a new 2.0-liter direct-injection inline four.
Three-pronged attack: With help from a recently launched hatchback and a hybrid to be introduced this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota seeks to shore up the nameplate’s U.S. sales, which are down 11 percent this year, dragging down overall U.S. sales.