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Auto review: Toyota's best-selling Corolla compact gets a makeover and a hybrid for 2020

G. Chambers Williams III, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Automotive News

After getting an all-new hatchback version for 2019, the Toyota Corolla debuts a redesigned sedan lineup for 2020, including the brand's first hybrid model.

The 12th-generation Corolla sedan carries forward much of the new exterior styling that made its debut earlier on the hatchback version.

For the new sedan, prices start at $19,600 (plus $955 freight) for the base L model with a continuously variable automatic transmission, and range as high as $25,550 for the top-of-the-line XSE model with the CVT, which we tested for this report.

In between those are the LE CVT ($20,050); SE CVT ($22,050); SE6MT with manual gearbox ($22,750); Hybrid LE CVT ($23,100); and XLE CVT ($24,050).

On gasoline-only versions, there are two engines available, depending on trim level. L, LE and XLE models come with the 1.8-liter four-cylinder from the previous model, now producing 139 horsepower and 126 foot-pounds of torque.

SE and XSE models get an upgrade to a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower and 151 foot-pounds of torque.

 

The six-speed manual gearbox is offered only on the SE (Sport Edition) model, where it is a $700 upgrade over the SE with the automatic. All models have front-wheel drive.

EPA fuel-economy ratings are 29 city/36highway/32 combined for the SE 6MT; 3\0/34 for the SE CVT; 31/38/34 for theXSE; 30/38/33 for the L; 30/38/33 for the LE; and 29/37/32 for XLE.

Toyota says the 12th-generation Corolla sedan and its hatchback variant are based on the Toyota New Global Architecture, described as "far more than a new body structure, bringing together new approaches to engineering, design, assembly, and materials."

New styling cues include shorter front and longer rear overhangs, a lower hood, beefy fender flares and curved fender top surfaces, giving the car a sculpted, athletic appearance.

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