2020 Toyota Corolla LE

Design transformation
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
March 18, 2019 Updated: March 18, 2019

Toyota Corolla entered the midsize sedan market all the way in 1968, and it has sold more than 46 million units. Now, the 12th generation Corolla enters the market with hatchback, sedan, and hybrid models.

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At the 2020 Corolla launch event in Savannah, GA. (Robert Guio)

There are seven Corolla grades: L/$19,500, LE/$19,950, SE CVT/$21,950, SE 6MT/$22,650, XLE/$23,950, XSE/$25,450, and the new Hybrid LE with an MSRP of $22,950.

The focus of this column will be the 2020 LE. Performance is provided by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with Dual VVTi, bringing a peak 139 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 126 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,900 rpm. The fuel economy is 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, for a combined 33 mpg. Even though the CVT automatic takes you precisely through the cycle, I would have preferred a little more power.

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Taking the Corolla for a spin. (Robert Guio)

The cabin is encouraging, warm, and inviting. Beautiful SofTex synthetic leather 6-way adjustable driver seat and 4-way adjustable passenger seat make for a comfortable front cabin. The infotainment system is centered around an 8-inch multi-touch screen and supports Bluetooth hands-free, Siri Eyes Free, and Apple CarPlay capabilities. Audio is ultimately produced through six speakers.

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The interior of the 2020 Corolla with SofTex synthetic leather. (Courtesy of Toyota)

A well-positioned instrument panel lends an open harmonious feeling and makes long-distance driving less stressful. At the top of the center stack is the infotainment system plus navigation system.

The passenger cabin space is a generous 88.6 cubic feet. The back seat has good hip and shoulder room, plus a substantial amount of leg room. The 60/40 split fold-down rear seat accommodates cargo larger than the 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space can hold.

The instrument panel, cowl, hood, and belt-line have all been lowered to improve visibility. Together with the great interior, they create an “open feeling.” However, I would like to have less road noise in the cabin.

Occupants in the back seat are kept nice and comfortable with automatic climate control. While push button controls help to maintain an ideal, cool, and clean-felt climatic atmosphere.

The LE grade gets 16-inch steel wheel with covers at the ends of the 106.3-inch wheelbase. The long wheelbase facilitates a smoother, balanced ride. The Black Forest grille with sport mesh inserts, Headlights, daytime running lights (DRL), taillights and stop lights are all LEDs for efficiency and longevity. Partnered with color-keyed outside mirrors, door handles, and roof-mounted shark-fin antenna, the new Corolla is given an assertive and authoritative look.

My vehicle was wrapped in Barcelona Red Metallic paint that matches perfectly with the black front grille.

Corolla has a whole passel of standard safety features. Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 includes features like Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. A new feature that gave me much assurance was the Whiplash-Injury-Lessening front seats.

A $2,000 LE Premium Package adds Smart Key System on front doors and trunk, Push Button Start, keyless entry system, outside mirror with blind spot warning and turn signal indicators, 16-inch alloy wheels, and power moonroof.

Much of this writing is spent on safety features, modern technology, and the pleasant atmosphere, but what was really the selling point of this vehicle was the sense of adventure one gets when driving the new Corolla.

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The shifter in the SE 6MT model. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The cabin is the focus point which invites you to blend into the experience. Every time you take the Corolla out, the joy you derive when you take a sharp curve and power out precisely reaffirms the quality of this sedan.

3-year/36,000-mile Basic Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
5-year/unlimited miles Perforation and Corrosion Warranty

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.


Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey