Eric's Autos: 2020 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla hasn't changed much over the past 20 years -- because Toyota is smart enough to not fix what isn't broken.
No one has sold more cars than Toyota has sold Corollas -- something like 44 million of them so far, over the course of about 50 years. To put that number in context, Volkswagen sold only half as many Beetles in over 80 years.
The Beetle -- not the new one but the original model, with the engine in the back and cooled by air rather than water -- was made from the 1930s through 2003, when the last one was produced in Mexico.
Toyota has only been making Corollas since 1966 -- and is still making them.
Because unlike Volkswagen, Toyota didn't fix what wasn't broken.
What It Is
The Corolla is the world's bestselling car -- ever. It is also the bestselling compact car. Though it has been updated here and there over the years, the basic recipe has not changed much at all: Keep it affordable; keep it simple; keep it reliable -- and people will keep on buying them.
The $19,600 L-trim comes standard with sensible features such as 15-inch steel wheels -- tougher than aluminum and much cheaper to replace than aluminum (if you ever do manage to bend one), a 1.8-liter engine without a turbo and manual-control air conditioner. It also includes surprising features such as adaptive cruise control, in-car Wi-Fi, a 7-inch touch screen and a seven-speaker stereo with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Toyota also offers a larger 2.0-liter engine with an available manual transmission. The Corolla SE comes with both -- for $22,750.
The almost-top-of-the-line XLE comes with a digital gauge cluster -- the kind of thing you used to have to spend $80k to get (in an Audi or Lexus or BMW or Benz), plus a larger 8-inch touch screen, heated seats and Soft-Tex (simulated leather) seats.