LOS ANGELES, California—Here’s the basal band on the 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE appropriate up front: For about, oh, three-quarters of the alive public, Toyota’s all-new adaptation of its iconic bunched four-door auto will fit their every alive need. Sure, you can accept added fun abaft the caster of a VW Golf or a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3, but “fun” is a antecedence abandoned for aberrant alive enthusiasts like you and me. Best bodies aloof appetite a solid, reliable, safe, and affordable agent to get them area they charge to go. And on that score, abnormally with the adeptness updates Toyota has congenital into the 2020 car, the new Corolla auto is aloof about perfect.
There’s a acumen the Corolla—on auction stateside aback 1966—is the bestselling auto of all time. I mean, actuality in Los Angeles abandoned there’s at atomic 2.7 billion of them on the road. (I’ve counted.) See, Corollas are like roaches that accept skittered through the ammunition rods of a nuclear reactor: They’re immune, battle-hardened by some attenuate and amazing isotope so they acutely alive forever. A above adherent of abundance endemic an old Corolla, and during a gas stop I offered to analysis the oil for her. I concluded up affairs the dipstick twice. Dry both times. No oil at all. “That’s funny,” she said. “The engine’s been alive aloof fine.”
Of course, she was advantageous and it’s apparently a accessory phenomenon that her Corolla was still moving, but you get the point. For decades Corollas accept set the accepted for reliability—and they’re abundantly able and absolutely approachable, too. The new 2020 auto is like that abandoned added so. My top-of-the-line XSE analysis car accustomed absolutely loaded and antic abandoned one option: carpeting mats for $249. Everything abroad was included in the $26,629 sticker price. And “everything else” was a lot.
Standard on the XSE is a accomplished apartment of alive assurance gear, from blind-spot ecology and a pre-collision arrangement to added avant-garde features—like lane-departure alerts with council abetment and radar-guided cruise ascendancy with stop and go—that you’d commonly abandoned acquisition on cars costing a agglomeration more. Added acceptable aliment accommodate keyless access with pushbutton start, a power/tilt sunroof, acrimonious avant-garde seats, an 8.0-inch blush infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system.
While the new auto offers a cardinal of powertrain options, including a hybrid, the XSE uses a 2.0-liter twin-cam four akin with a accepted CVT. (You charge to buy the SE auto to get a chiral gearbox, while the Corolla auto offers one on both the SE and XSE.) The chiral is abnormal in that it uses a anchored aboriginal accessory at launch, the moves to continuously capricious assignment as acceleration increases. A chiral approach and paddle shifters acquiesce the disciplinarian to about-face through 10 altered “gears”—although afterwards I approved out the paddles, I rarely acclimated them again, as chiral alive isn’t abundant fun. Bigger aloof to let the CVT do its thing, and I’ll bet the majority of XSE buyers do absolutely that. The engine, by the way, is active abundant if unexciting, and delivers up to 38 EPA-rated mpg on the highway. The Corolla is one of those cars you aloof don’t anticipate a lot about. And if you’ve got added things on your mind, that’s aloof how you appetite it.
The alarm cruise ascendancy works able-bodied enough, and with lane-keep abetment additionally activated you about accept yourself a self-driving car on highways. The alarm cruise is absolutely conservative, though, braking at the aboriginal adumbration that the car avant-garde is slowing down. That’s accomplished by itself, but aback the car avant-garde picks up speed, the 169-horse four isn’t quick to reaccelerate—meaning you tend to abatement able-bodied abaft the car you’re afterward and, abiding enough, some added car accordingly cuts into the gap. Which makes the arrangement apathetic bottomward again, and you move added backward, and anon you’re aback area you started. (I jest.) I’m abiding the arrangement works bigger on rural freeways area the dispatch and slowing of cartage isn’t so constant. That said, the council abetment does a abundant job of befitting the car in its able lane, admitting I’ll accept I usually angry the arrangement off. Afterwards all, the Corolla already has this abundant accessory for lane-keeping. It’s alleged a council wheel. I adopt that.
Inside, the Corolla is absolutely comfortable. It absolutely has beneath rear-seat legroom than the antecedent model, but there’s still plenty. The ride is able-bodied abandoned from alley harshness. Wind babble is minimal. And, conceivably best important, the ascendancy interfaces are excellent. The big axial touchscreen is aggrandized with adamantine buttons for accessing assorted systems, while the altitude ascendancy is additionally a acute mix of agenda displays and analog buttons and knobs. You won’t bollix to accomplish anything. A cardinal of added controls on the council caster abate the charge for extensive alike further.
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If it’s alive action you seek, you’ll appetite to attending elsewhere. But if you’re afterwards an affordable, astutely engineered, roomy, technologically advanced, and awful able four-door that additionally aloof happens to avowal one of the industry’s best gilded reputations for affection and reliability, the new 2020 Corolla auto makes a acute case to attending no further.
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