The Honda Civic has taken the compact-car segment by storm the past few years, but Toyota is back with a new Corolla. The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan debuted last Thursday as it looks to further rival the Chevrolet Cruze.
The Japanese brand is keen to keep its Corolla a best-seller with a new platform, more powerful engine and an inbound hybrid model. Although compact car sales continue to slump in the United States, the Corolla has still found over 217,000 new homes this year.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla will be the 12th-generation of the car and rides on the automaker’s new TNGA platform. The brand said the new platform will elevate the car’s driver dynamics past the frumpy stereotype the car has garnered for years. Two powertrains will be available: a 139-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (the current engine) and a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 169 hp. A hybrid powertrain will join the fray based on the new 2.0-liter engine at a later date. A CVT takes over from the previous automatic transmission, but buyers will still be able to order a six-speed manual.
Compared to the Cruze, the Corolla will offer a more powerful gasoline engine, but Chevy’s compact still offers the 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine to differentiate itself. While the diesel only makes 137 hp, it produces a lofty 240 lb-ft of torque. The standard 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 153 hp—a sweet spot between the two Corolla engines to be offered.
And unlike the Cruze, Toyota’s Safety Sense system will be standard equipment. The system bundles active safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, road sign assist and adaptive cruise control. Chevrolet continues to price active safety equipment outside of entry-level models.
Buyers will find the 2020 Corolla at dealerships in spring 2019. Meanwhile, the updated Cruze sedan and hatchback are on sale now as the vehicle’s U.S. plant, the Lordstown facility, has an uncertain future.