If you lose sleep this weekend, we’ll know why. Toyota plans to debut its next-generation Corolla sedan at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition on November 16th, completing a product revamp that began with this year’s introduction of the Corolla Hatch (formerly Corolla iM, formerly Scion iM).
It’s expected the sedan, now swapped to the TNGA platform, will appear with a familiar face and upgraded mechanicals borrowed from its five-door sibling. With compact cars on the decline, Toyota needs its aging Corolla gone in order to better compete with the Honda Civic. Both models, however, are alike in one way: they’re falling out of favor with consumers.
The 2020 Corolla won’t be alone when it launches next week. A gussied-up version, the Levin, will also appear, built to tempt discerning Chinese near-luxury buyers. Judging by other Corolla variants not found on this continent, the new sedan’s front end should closely mirror that of the Hatch (see above).
Despite selling in huge numbers, the current-gen Corolla never wowed with its power levels, nor were the front seats capable of not causing pain in this writer’s lumbar region. If the same seats from the Hatch make their way into the new sedan, you’ll be just fine. They’re comfortable chairs. Power shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore, either, as the Hatch debuted with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boasting 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Whether or not we’ll see a transmission carryover is debatable. The hatch model carries a Dynamic-Shift CVT with a physical launch gear to get things moving; after that, it’s a conventional continuously variable experience. While the hatch also comes with a six-speed manual, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the new Corolla sedan dispense with this fading piece of technology.
Due to the new platform, expect the 2020 model to grow slightly in size, with more cabin volume and rear-seat kneeroom a given.
Corolla sedan sales fell 11.9 percent in October, year over year, and volume over the first 10 months of 2018 show a volume loss of 12.7 percent. With its main rival, the Civic, sells in greater numbers, it’s also on a downward trajectory. Civic volume through October is nearly that of last year’s Corolla sedan volume over the same period. American buyers saw fit to give the Civic a 26 percent sales decline in October, with year-to-date volume down 11.8 percent.