There is nothing like driving off in your very first new car and experiencing that one-of-a-kind feeling of freedom. It’s like Christmas morning, but instead of smelling fresh pine, you’re intoxicated by that distinctive new car smell. It’s all yours! And the folks at Toyota understand how important it is to help new buyers successfully navigate their first big-ticket purchase, so they’ve created a line of entry-level vehicles that are affordable, reliable, and safe. Take the popular 2020 Toyota Corolla, for example. This may be an entry-level car, but Toyota engineers have designed the Corolla to feel roomy and luxurious, and they’ve wrapped it up in a sleek, aerodynamic body so you can show off your good taste. There aren’t too many no brainers in life, but the Toyota Corolla is undoubtedly one of them!
So, what’s so special about the 2020 Corolla? A better question might be, what isn’t? This vehicle is loaded with great features that today’s buyers demand. The extensive model lineup includes options for different budgets and lifestyles that, even in the high end of the range, keep the focus on value. First-time new car buyers have lots of options as there is no shortage of entry-level vehicles on the market today, but when it comes down to brass tacks, the 2020 Toyota Corolla delivers in all the big categories with a twist. Thoughtful touches, tech, and surprisingly dynamic performance tell an even bigger story. So let’s take a more in-depth look into what makes this sedan so special.
A Look at the Selection
The 2020 Toyota Corolla is available in eight exciting and different trims. Starting at a low MSRP of $19,600, the entry-level Corolla L is where the story begins. With a standard 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine, the efficient Corolla is so inexpensive to drive; you’ll have plenty of money leftover for frequent visits to the car wash to keep your baby looking sharp. LED headlights and taillights are standard, as are Daytime Running Lamps. Power outside mirrors and a sleek roof fin antenna are also standard.
Next up is the LE, which adds more standard features usually only found on luxury cars, like heated power outside mirrors and available blind-spot warning indicators. The LE is also available with a power tilt and sliding moonroof. Standard wheels go from 15-inches to 16-inches, giving the LE a sportier curb appeal. With a small price bump to $20,050, the extras found on this LE add up to a great value.
The LE also comes in a Hybrid version starting at only $23,100. Not only does the Hybrid LE offer a huge bump in fuel economy, but Toyota adds some extras like upgraded LED headlights and a choice of driving modes to personalize your ride. The instrument cluster gets an upgrade, too, giving the dash a more refined look.
The 2020 Corolla SE and SE Nightshade edition trims are offered with MSRPs of $22,050 and $22,750. The SE Nightshade spiffs up the exterior with sporty blacked-out exterior features, including badging, lower fascias, door handles, and more. The most significant change, though, is under the hood. The SE and SE Nightshade receive increased power with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Plus, Toyota also offers the Corolla SE with a manual transmission.
On the upper end of the model lineup are the XLE and the XSE, and with the increase in price comes much more standard safety and driver-assist features, as well as upgraded interior comfort features. The Corolla XLE starts at an MSRP of $24,050, and the top-of-the-line Corolla XSE begins at $25,550. Both models include blind-spot warning indicators on the outside mirrors and Toyota Safety Sense, which consists of a dynamic range of driver-assist systems. Overall, no matter which trim you opt for, you will receive a plethora of features, with the highest trim consisting of the very best, of course.
Powertrain and Fuel Efficiency
Everyone wants to get the most performance out of their new car, and compact car buyers are no exception. The Corolla delivers, with a 1.8 liter inline 4-cylinder engine standard on the L, LE, and XLE models, delivering a respectable 139 horsepower and fuel economy ratings of 31 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway.
The SE Hybrid takes fuel economy to the next level, with an impressive 53 MPG in the city and 52 MPG on the highway. The Hybrid achieves this with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 121 hp. The SE Hybrid’s cool 18-inch wheels and aggressive exterior styling make it an excellent choice for first-time buyers looking for efficiency and style.
The Corolla SE and XSE models are equipped with a more powerful 2.0-liter 4-cylinder motor that delivers a peppy 169 hp, upping the performance game and delivering a more exhilarating driving experience. The larger engine doesn’t compromise fuel economy, offering numbers as excellent as 30 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. In general, no matter the configuration, the Corolla is a very fuel-efficient vehicle, allowing for less time at the gas pump and more time on the road.
Inside the Corolla
On the interior, the base Corolla L includes air conditioning with a special dust and pollen filter to keep cabin air clean. A handy backup camera is also standard to assist with backing out of parking spaces. Power door locks and power front and rear windows with one-touch auto up/down are also included. A 7-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Alexa compatibility, is equipped in the Corolla from the get-go to keep you connected and entertained.
All Corollas come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, except the XSE, which includes a larger 8-inch touchscreen. All touchscreens feature expansive connectivity technology, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa compatibility, Siri Eyes Free, and advanced voice recognition. Toyota’s Safety Connect is available as a subscription on all Corolla models. Safety Connect gives drivers access to a live agent 24/7 to assist with roadside assistance and emergency services in the event of a collision or medical emergency.
On the high end of the model range, the XSE piles on the standard comfort and luxury features. Sink into heated power front sport seats with 8-way power for the driver and 4-way power for your lucky passenger. A leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium instrumentation cluster, a larger 8-inch touchscreen, and chrome interior touches give the cabin a luxury car feel. Optional features available only on the XSE include ambient lighting and a wireless smartphone charger. The XSE makes available a Premium 9-speaker Audio System with subwoofer and amplifier, and Dynamic Navigation.
The best thing about the Corolla is that it offers something for everyone. Its versatility is the very thing that makes the Corolla a standout in the cluttered compact car segment. Within the broad range of trims are so many choices that you’re almost guaranteed to find the best mix of affordability and features that won’t require any compromises. The Corolla is a great first car to introduce you to the well-respected family of Toyota owners.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, compact car buyers can rejoice! The snazzy, budget-friendly 2020 Toyota Corolla continues to be an easy choice for all the reasons we know so well – amazing reliability, fuel economy, and value – but now you don’t have to compromise style and performance in the name of budget. The Corolla delivers on all fronts and gives you a reason to look forward to your daily commute. Say goodbye to lackluster styling and sparse, plastic interiors, and say hello to this little gem sprucing up your driveway.