2020 Toyota Corolla Review
The 2020 Toyota Corolla finishes in the bottom half of our compact car rankings. Despite a great predicted reliability rating, it lags behind many competitors when it comes to performance and cabin space.
Rankings & Awards
The 2020 Toyota Corolla’s #8 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2020 Best Compact Car for the Money award. Currently the Toyota Corolla has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 21 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
Is the Toyota Corolla a Good Car?
Yes, the Corolla is a good compact car. It earns great fuel economy estimates and has a terrific predicted reliability rating. It also has lots of standard driver assistance features and an easy-to-use infotainment system. It does have some notable drawbacks, however. This Toyota doesn’t deliver the engaging driving experience that many classmates offer, and the base engine is uninspiring. Also, the Corolla doesn’t have the passenger and cargo space of some rivals.
Should I Buy the Toyota Corolla?
The Corolla has a base price under $20,000 and comes standard with an infotainment system and lots of standard safety tech. However, it’s difficult to recommend the base model because of its weak engine. Moving up in price to get a stronger engine undercuts its value proposition. We recommend taking a look at some of the top picks in the class, such as the Mazda3 and Honda Civic. These fellow Japanese rivals have dynamic performance and more upscale interiors.
Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Corolla?
Toyota fully redesigned the Corolla sedan for 2020. In addition to updated interior and exterior styling, the Corolla now comes standard with Apple CarPlay and additional advanced safety features like lane tracing assist and traffic sign recognition. A 139-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder base engine carries over into the new generation with a 7-horsepower increase. A 169-horsepower 2.0-liter engine is newly optional. You can likely save lots of money by shopping for a used Corolla sedan, but know that you won’t get the benefits of the redesign.
The Toyota Corolla hatchback was introduced for the 2019 model year, and there are no major changes for 2020. If you want the hatchback, you may be better off going with a 2019 model, which could be less expensive.
If you’re considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Corolla and 2019 Corolla reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.
We Did the Research for You: 21 Reviews Analyzed
We analyzed 21 Toyota Corolla reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 Corolla is the right new car for you.
Why You Can Trust Us
U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.
How Much Does the Toyota Corolla Cost?
The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan starts at $19,600, which is a little high for a gas-only compact car. The Corolla has several higher trim levels that climb to around $25,500. Toyota offers the 2020 Corolla hatchback model, which starts at $20,290. Pricing for top trims of the hatchback model reaches as high as $23,240 before adding options.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.
How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Toyota Corolla?
The cost of insuring a Toyota Corolla will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.
Toyota Corolla Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Toyota Corolla or Mazda3?
The Mazda3 is much stronger than the Corolla from a performance viewpoint. Its standard engine is peppy, and its handling is engaging and sporty. The Mazda3’s upscale interior is impressive as well. Both cars are available as sedans or hatchbacks, and neither has a clear edge in passenger room. The Corolla comes standard with many more driver assistance features, and it boasts a better predicted reliability rating. The Mazda is more expensive than the Toyota, but it’s the better car.
Which Is Better: Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic?
The Honda Civic is another extremely well-rounded compact car that sits near the top of the class. The Civic comes in sedan, coupe, and hatchback body styles and gives you the choice of several potent engines. The Corolla has a standard touch-screen infotainment system, while the Civic’s infotainment system is optional. Still, the Honda is more fun to drive, it has a nicer interior, and it serves up more back-seat space than the Corolla. Cargo space is also pretty good throughout the Civic lineup. These rivals are both safety-oriented, with a long list of standard driver assistance technologies. With comparable prices across the board, there’s little reason to consider the Corolla over the impressive Civic.
How Many People Does the Corolla Seat?
The Corolla sedan and hatchback both hold five people. Front-seat space is OK: Taller drivers or passengers might feel a little cramped, and the standard seats don’t have a lot of support. Higher trim levels come with sport seats that provide better side bolstering and support for longer drives. The Corolla sedan’s back seat has adequate space for adult passengers, but it’s a little more cramped than the outgoing model. The Corolla hatchback offers little second-row space, and its sloping roofline cuts into headroom.
Corolla and Child Car Seats
The Toyota Corolla has two complete sets of LATCH connections on the rear outboard seats. The lower anchors are behind removable plastic flaps, making them easy to find and reach.
Corolla Interior Quality
The redesigned Corolla has a minimalist, sleek interior design. The infotainment system’s screen sits prominently on top of the dash for easy access. Materials quality is average for the class, with few hard plastic pieces in the cabin.
Corolla Cargo Space
The 2020 Corolla sedan has about 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a bit below average for a compact car. Though the trunk opening is wide and large, utility is hampered by big trunk hinges that cut into cargo space. The back seats fold down, but not entirely flat, which might prevent you from hauling some items.
The Corolla hatchback has 17.8 cubic feet of space behind its back seat and 23.3 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Those numbers are unimpressive for a small five-door car, but unlike in the sedan, the hatchback’s second row folds mostly flat. That opens a big storage area to carry bulky cargo.
Corolla Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
The Toyota Corolla’s standard infotainment system includes a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot. Nearly all your controls are in one place – the touch screen sits high on the dashboard, and there are physical buttons on the side of the screen for shortcuts. Physical knobs for audio volume and radio tuning flank the screen as well. Directly under the screen are large, easy-to-reach knobs for climate controls.
The infotainment system responds quickly to your touches, and though a few graphics look outdated, it’s generally user-friendly. All trims above the base level come with an 8-inch screen and upgraded Entune app functionality. Other optional features include HD Radio, satellite radio, a 7-inch digital driver information display, navigation, wireless device charging, and a nine-speaker JBL premium stereo.
Corolla Engine: Bad, and Just a Bit Better
The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 139 horsepower and feels weak in most situations. Despite the redesign, this base powertrain is pretty much a carryover from the prior generation. Making matters worse is a standard continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that’s inconsistent in power delivery and exhibits a delay in acceleration from a stop.
Another inline-four is optional in the Corolla sedan and standard in hatchback models. This 2.0-liter engine puts out 169 horsepower, but it doesn’t make the Corolla fast. Still it’s a clear improvement over the weak base engine. Your transmission choices with this engine are an enhanced CVT or a smooth-shifting six-speed manual.
Corolla Gas Mileage: Strong on Both Fronts
With the base engine, the 2020 Corolla gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Those fuel economy figures are good for a compact car. A CVT-equipped Corolla with the 2.0-liter engine is even more efficient, with excellent estimates of 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. With the manual transmission, the Corolla gets up to 29/36 mpg city/highway.
Corolla Ride and Handling: Well-Balanced
Toyota introduced a new suspension system in the 2020 Corolla that improves ride quality compared to the previous generation. The Corolla is composed around turns and drives comfortably over most surfaces. All hatchback models and some sedan trims have a suspension tuned for sportier performance. Steering is better-weighted at low speeds, but the ride feels stiffer.
Is the Toyota Corolla Reliable?
The 2020 Toyota Corolla has a great predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.
Toyota Corolla Warranty
Toyota covers the Corolla with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Toyota Corolla?
Corolla Crash Test Results
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Toyota Corolla an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The car received five stars in the frontal and side crash tests, as well as four stars in the rollover test.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla also earned good crash test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS gave the Corolla sedan and hatchback the highest score of Good in all six crash tests. The Corolla’s standard front crash prevention features received the highest rating of Superior for their effectiveness.
The Corolla’s standard headlights earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well they illuminate the road ahead. Upgraded optional headlights performed slightly better and earned the next-highest rating of Acceptable.
Corolla Safety Features
The Corolla comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety and driver assistance features, which includes pre-collision pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, and traffic sign recognition. A rearview camera is also standard. Optional safety technologies include blind spot monitoring and adaptive headlights.
Corolla Dimensions and Weight
The Corolla sedan is 15.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,910 to 3,150 pounds.
Where Is the Toyota Corolla Built?
Toyota builds the 2020 Corolla in Mississippi and Canada.
Which Toyota Corolla Model Is Right for Me?
The 2020 Toyota Corolla is available in several configurations. The Corolla sedan comes in five trim levels – L, LE, SE, XLE, and XSE – and with a 1.8 or 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Corolla hatchback comes in SE and XSE trims, with only the 2.0-liter engine available. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard, and you can get the larger engine with a six-speed manual transmission.
Your best bet is an SE or XSE model, in either body style. These trims come with the 2.0-liter engine, which is much better for everyday driving. These trims also have features you won’t find in lower trims, like automatic climate control, more-supportive front sport seats, and an upgraded infotainment system with a larger screen.
Toyota Corolla L
The 2020 Toyota Corolla L sedan starts at $19,600 and comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a CVT. Standard features include LED headlights and taillights, cloth upholstery, and manually adjustable front seats. A standard infotainment system includes Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.
Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, and traffic sign recognition.
Toyota Corolla LE
The Toyota Corolla LE retails for $20,050 and adds heated outside mirrors, automatic climate control, premium cloth seats, and keyless entry. The LE also comes with the upgraded Entune infotainment system, with an 8-inch touch screen and an extra USB port.
The $2,000 Premium package includes alloy wheels, a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and blind spot monitoring.
Toyota Corolla SE
The Corolla SE (MSRP: $22,050) features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a CVT. This model adds front sport seats, alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a sport driving mode, and upgraded exterior design elements. The optional Premium package costs $1,500 and includes a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and blind spot monitoring. Another package retails for $2,315 and has all the features of the Premium package, along with HD Radio and satellite radio.
The Corolla SE with the available manual transmission starts at $22,750. It comes standard with the moonroof, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start.
Toyota Corolla XLE
The Toyota Corolla XLE starts at $24,050 and comes with the 1.8-liter engine. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated front sport seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a moonroof, a 7-inch digital driver information display, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, HD Radio, and satellite radio.
Optional features include navigation, wireless device charging, a nine-speaker JBL premium stereo, ambient interior lighting, and adaptive headlights.
Toyota Corolla XSE
The Toyota Corolla XSE has mostly the same standard and available features as the XLE, but it comes with the 2.0-liter engine. Prices start at $25,550.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.
The Final Call
The 2020 Toyota Corolla gets great gas mileage, has plenty of driver assistance technology, and earns the best predicted reliability rating in the compact car class. However, it’s not as fun to drive as many rivals, and several classmates are more well-rounded. That’s why shoppers should explore all their options before committing to this Toyota.
Writer: Bryan Siwik
Published: 9 July, 2020
Photo Credit: Toyota of Orlando