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  • Quick Drive: 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE

    Does the sedan follow the groove laid down by the hatchback?

    The redesigned Corolla Hatchback brought back something that was missing in the Corolla for a number of years; being somewhat interesting. With more expressive styling and a new platform that improves driving dynamics, the model has started to shed its image of being bland. But would this continue with the redesigned Corolla sedan? To find out, I spent a week in the top-line Corolla XSE.

    • The basic profile is unchanged from the previous Corolla sedan, but Toyota has done their best to make look a bit more exciting. On the XSE, this means a different front clip from other Corollas with the emblem moved to towards the cutline of the hood, a larger lower grille, and deep cuts for the bumper. The distinctive fang headlights are carried over from other Corollas. Around back, not much has changed aside from a new rear diffuser. The updated look does make the Corolla sedan have presence, but I prefer the hatchback in terms of overall looks.
    • One item that is shared between the sedan and hatchback is the dashboard. As I noted in my Corolla Hatchback review, the dash features a layered design, faux stitching, and infotainment screen mounted on top - measuring either seven or eight inches depending on the trim. I like that Toyota is taking chances with the design, but also retaining the excellent ergonomics it’s  known for.
    • My particular tester came with the larger eight-inch featuring the newest version of Entune. While I wish Toyota had done more to make the interface look more modern and feature colors that weren’t various shades of grey. But I cannot deny Toyota builds a system that anyone can quickly grasp thanks to the simple interface design, physical shortcut buttons to various features, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Those with Android smartphones are left out in the cold.
    • Those sitting up front will have no complaints about space, seat adjustment, or comfort. In the back, legroom is about average for the class. But headroom for taller passengers comes up a bit short, especially when you have the optional moonroof.
    • Three powertrains are available in the Corolla; a 1.8L four in the L, LE, and XLE; 2.0L four for the SE and XSE; and a hybrid for the LE Hybrid.
    •  The 2.0L produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet. The XSE only gets a CVT transmission, while the SE has the choice between the CVT and a six-speed manual.
    • Performance is the same as with the Corolla SE I drove last year; decent around town and leaving stoplights, but really struggles when trying to get to higher speeds. A fair amount of engine noise does make it way inside when driving on the highway.
    • EPA fuel economy figures for the Corolla XSE are 31 City/38 City/34 Highway - lower than the Corolla SE hatchback (32/41/35). My average for the week landed around 33.4 mpg on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
    • Handling is an improvement over the old Corolla as it feels slightly more lively with better control of body motions. But it cannot match the nimbleness of the hatchback. This likely comes down to the Corolla Hatchback being sold in the European market where a sportier ride is desired. The sedan sold in the U.S. is more attuned to providing a smooth ride.
    • The Corolla XSE for the most part is able to smooth over most bumps and imperfections, but the 18-inch wheels does mean some bumps do make their way inside. Road and wind noise is kept to acceptable levels.
    • There is one area that the Corolla XSE falters, value for money. With an as-tested price of $28,794, that puts you in the range of a well-equipped Mazda3 that not only offers more power, but has an interior that the Corolla cannot match. For only a couple grand less, a Kia Forte EX offers more equipment and a slightly larger back seat.
    • Toyota has improved the Corolla sedan to a point where most of the blandness doesn’t exist. I would have liked to seen Toyota take some of the handling magic used on the hatchback and place it into the sedan. But Toyota knows most buyers don’t really care about this. By taking the strengths and wrapping it up in a package that stands out, it will mean more people may check out the Corolla. But I would recommend sticking with one of the lower trims as they offer a slightly better bang your for your buck.

    Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Corolla, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2020
    Make: Toyota
    Model: Corolla
    Trim: XSE
    Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve, Dual VVT-i
    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
    Horsepower @ RPM: 169 @ 6,600
    Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,400
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 31/38/34
    Curb Weight: 3,150 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
    Base Price: $25,450
    As Tested Price: $28,794 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL w/Clari-Fi - $1,715.00
    Adaptive Front Lighting System - $450.00
    Cargo Mat Package - $249.00




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    It starts from $19.6k, this one is fully loaded with bunch of options.

    You can load Trailblazer that starts at $19k up to $33k too

    image.thumb.png.10c393cd8d7a8488b09931057836f30d.png

    Edited by ykX
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    Yup, this is a shady "bait & switch" done by a lot of carmakers.  I highly doubt you will ever see a Trailblazer L ($19,990) on a dealer lot... that is available only in FWD, and only in white, like a deliberate fleet vehicle that is lumped in with the private owner versions.  What a sham.

    You can get the base Corolla in 4 bland colors, three more than the base Trailblazer.

    Chevy has done away with the Cruze, their former Corolla competitor, so the comparison is valid.

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    That like a top of the line Corolla?  Seems into Camry territory.   I just can't imagine almost 30k for a generic compact FWD 4cyl sedan... 

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    42 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    That like a top of the line Corolla?  Seems into Camry territory.   I just can't imagine almost 30k for a generic compact FWD 4cyl sedan... 

    In a 25 mile radius from my zip code there are 370 brand new Corollas with only about twenty priced above $25k with maximum around $28k.  The majority of Corollas are sold closer to $20k.

    BTW within same range there are Traxes sold at over $30k.  There are 301 brand new Traxes and I see almost 90 of them priced over $25k.  That's IMO is ridiculous,

    Edited by ykX
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    6 minutes ago, ykX said:

    In a 25 mile radius from my zip code there are 370 brand new Corollas with only about twenty priced above $25k with maximum around $28k.  The majority of Corollas are sold closer to $20k.

    BTW within same range there are Traxes sold at over $30k.  There are 301 brand new Traxes and I see almost 90 of them priced over $25k.  That's IMO is ridiculous,

    When I went to the auto show a month ago or so the Trax was $31k, the Equinox $41k, the Blazer $51k....madness...

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    A. These are sticker prices; no one gets sticker (other than the C8).
    B. ALL top trims of ALL vehicles are stickered at mad levels. We sometimes talk here like it’s only GM for some reason.

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    I actually like the profile of the new Corolla, but it starts to be much less of a value when it is optioned to the moon, Alice.

    3 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    Trax was $31k,

    Well they've done away with the Premier model for the '21 model year, it is just LS and LT, and the high end options are gone (no sunroof or Bose radio).  Trying to keep the average MSRP lower than the Trailblazer I guess, even though Trax starts at $21k + (base LS has alloys now, Trailblazer L has wheel covers) and Trailblazer starts at $19,900, the average MSRP will be much higher in a TB than a '21 Trax.  The low starting price for the Trailblazer is an advertising gimmick... a unicorn it will be.

     

     

    Edited by ocnblu
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    2 hours ago, daves87rs said:

    30k for a compact car...ow.

    The sad part is is that the CUV equivalent of a Corolla (better known as a RAV-4)  would sell for five grand MORE if similarly equipped.  Corolla should be max out at $25k, not $30K MSRP.

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    24 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    The sad part is is that the CUV equivalent of a Corolla (better known as a RAV-4)  would sell for five grand MORE if similarly equipped.  Corolla should be max out at $25k, not $30K MSRP.

    The highest priced RAV4 trims are stickered now in the low $40k range, for a Limited Highbird or TRD Off-Road.

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    34 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    The highest priced RAV4 trims are stickered now in the low $40k range, for a Limited Highbird or TRD Off-Road.

    Whoa.  I am shocked, but not surprised these days.

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    2 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    Whoa.  I am shocked, but not surprised these days.

    Yeah it's been promoted.  They need another AWD CUV below it now, size of the original RAV.

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    2 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    The sad part is is that the CUV equivalent of a Corolla (better known as a RAV-4)  would sell for five grand MORE if similarly equipped.  Corolla should be max out at $25k, not $30K MSRP.

    Totally agree.....

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    All new cars are really expensive.  You could pick up a 3 year old Lexus for the price of the Corolla.  But people don't always shop price, they shop monthly payment, so that is where the finance people get creative.

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    23 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Yeah it's been promoted.  They need another AWD CUV below it now, size of the original RAV.

    They have the C-HR, but it doesn’t look very practical as a CUV. 

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    8 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    They have the C-HR, but it doesn’t look very practical as a CUV. 

    Nope, that's why I put "AWD" in my comment.  C-HR is FWD only and it's like riding in an iron lung, no visibility, no power.

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    On 3/20/2020 at 2:43 PM, Robert Hall said:

    When I went to the auto show a month ago or so the Trax was $31k, the Equinox $41k, the Blazer $51k....madness...

    at the auto show was a new Encore GX, almost 38 grand.  Loaded sure. But wow, about 10 grand too high IMO.

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    14 hours ago, regfootball said:

    at the auto show was a new Encore GX, almost 38 grand.  Loaded sure. But wow, about 10 grand too high IMO.

    38k for  a 3cyl econobox.  Insane times.

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