2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The Corolla hatchback proved Toyota still knows how to make good compact cars, but now it’s the hatchback’s sedan counterpart that is getting a makeover. The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same clean-sheet redesign as the hatchback, but will that be enough to steer customers away from crossovers and back toward traditional cars like the Corolla?

The 2020 Corolla sedan rides on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform as the Corolla hatchback, as well as several other recent Toyota models. We’ve had generally favorable impressions of TNGA-based Toyotas, which bodes well for the Corolla sedan. Unfortunately, the sedan has also inherited the styling of other recent Toyotas, which should prove polarizing. But it also gets multi-link rear suspension instead of the torsion-beam setup found in the previous-generation Corolla and many other cars in this price range. The swap should improve handling dramatically.

On the inside, the 2020 Corolla sedan gets an 8.0-inch central touchscreen on all trim levels except the base L, which gets a 7-inch display. The screens run Toyota’s Entune 3.0 infotainment system (which has been the source of many customer complaints), and Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay (sorry, no Android Auto) connectivity can be had as well. Also available are a 7-inch digital display that sits between the speedometer and tachometer, and a nine-speaker, 800-watt JBL audio system.

A 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that carries over from the previous-generation Corolla sedan provides motivation in the L, LE, and XLE trim levels. In a press release, Toyota promised “more horsepower and better fuel efficiency” from the 1.8-liter engine, but declined to quote specific figures. Other 2020 Corolla sedan models get a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. All Corolla models are front-wheel drive, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or six-speed manual. The Corolla will also get a hybrid powertrain option for the first time. That version will be unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2020 Corolla sedan gets the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver aids as standard equipment. Also installed on the Corolla hatchback and 2019 RAV4, the suite includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, Toyota’s Lane Tracing Assist automated lane-centering feature, and Road Sign Assist, which uses a forward-facing camera to recognize stop, yield, do not enter, and speed limit signs.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan marks the 12th generation of Corolla since the model’s introduction in 1966. But with crossovers currently accounting for the majority of Toyota’s U.S. sales, the 2020 Corolla will have to make a big impression in order to live up to that legacy.

Updated on November 15, 2018: Added live photos and confirmation of hybrid variant.

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