2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Review: How Does It Drive & What Does It Cost?

Toyota invited us out to Savannah, Georgia to drive the all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan. Last week, we posted an article that contained all the information you need, save for pricing and driving impressions. That all was under embargo until this article published. So here, you can learn about the two missing pieces: How the new Corolla drives and what it will cost to buy one.


Pricing feels like the more important bit of information. So let’s start off with that. There are three trim ‘families’ to mention here, the ‘modern’ “L” trims (L, LE, XLE), the ‘sport’ “S” trims (SE, XSE) and the hybrid (LE). Here is how base pricing breaks down:


So, pricing ranges anywhere from $19,500 up to a hair over $25,000. Let’s dissect this a little, though. Some interesting points include the manual transmission version actually costing more than the CVT. Albeit, only $700 more. But still, this is a bit strange, considering that manuals have historically been the cheaper option. Another important figure is the price of the Hybrid. That $22,950 is now the least expensive hybrid in Toyota’s lineup. Toyota announced to us at this event that the Prius C will be phasing out, making the Corolla Hybrid an important vehicle for new Hybrid shoppers.

Here is how some of the competition stacks up:

ModelHonda CivicNissan SentraVW JettaHyundai ElantraKia ForteChevy Cruze
Base MSRP$19,450$17,790$18,745$17,100$17,790$17,995

The Corolla Sedan is the most expensive of the bunch. But, you have to remember that it comes with a lot of standard tech features. Most notably, all 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedans will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). This is a suite of driver safety and enhancement features that includes automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, road sign assist, adaptive cruise control, and adaptive high-beams.

Driving Impressions

Alright so how does it drive? Well, underneath, the Corolla Sedan shares a lot (almost all) of its componentry with the Corolla Hatchback. They are both built on the latest Toyota New Global Architecture – C platform (TNGA-C). The only major difference being that the sedan has a slightly longer wheelbase. The Sedan has a wheelbase of 106.3-inches vs the Hatchback’s 103.9-inches. They both have MacPherson-strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension as well. The result of all this being that the sedan drives a lot like the hatch.

Our tester for the day was an XSE trim, which features the larger 2.0-liter engine. This powerplant makes 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque and sends that power to the front wheels through either a CVT or a 6-speed manual. The CVT is rather unique in that it has a physical first gear that Toyota calls a ‘launch gear’. This engages from zero to around 20 miles per hour and makes launches a bit less rubber-band like. In fact, this is one of the most pleasant CVTs on the market for that reason. The manual is a nice option as well. The throws are on the longer side, and the clutch is rather light. But, the fact that a 6-speed is available is pretty amazing in the first place.

The biggest downside to the driving experience has to be the lack of power. 169 horsepower is the highest amount available. Many of its competitors at least have an option that comes close to, or surpasses 200 horsepower. Toyota has made it seem like a hot version may be coming, but nothing is confirmed. While the lack of power is slightly disappointing, the chassis and suspension tuning is really well-done. The ride is comfortable, forgiving and fun. Even though it is not fast, the 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan remains quite fun to drive.

What About the Hybrid?

The hybrid actually takes its powertrain directly from the Prius. It uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder in combination with an electric motor and an e-CVT that sends power to the front wheels. The combo is good for 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimated fuel economy sits at 53 city, 52 highway and 52 combined. So, very efficient.

The driving experience is rather familiar all around. You get the pleasant handling characteristics from the new Corolla’s platform and fancy suspension. Plus, the instant torque of a hybrid powerplant. It is no rocketship either, but around town it feels plenty punchy.

Watch the Video For More!

This article covers all the information that was under embargo at the time we filmed our full review. However, that video contains a lot of good information on features and specs. Be sure to watch the full video below to learn everything else you need to know: