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New Toyota Corolla sedan arriving in Australia with hybrid option

John Law

Toyota Australia this week confirmed details for the arrival of their twelfth-generation Corolla sedan – with the highlight being the addition of this model’s first-ever hybrid drivetrain option. Pricing and specification for the sedan mirrors that for the Corolla hatchback, which has been on sale for over a year. Both the Corolla sedan and hatch kick off from $23,335 (driveaway pricing not yet available).

The new Corolla hatch impressed us greatly with much improved dynamics, safety and tech levels compared to previous generations – given the sedan version shares the same TNGA platform as the five-door, our expectations are high.

The Corolla sedan lands in Australia in late November, taking the fight to the booted versions of the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, and Subaru Impreza, while offering a longer alternative to the well-received Corolla hatch.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Ext - 4

The styling for the 2020 Corolla sedan is significantly updated, replacing an outgoing body style that was never one of our favourites. This time around, the sedan is a closer visual partner to its hatch sibling, with particular similarities in their front-end designs. 

We can assume the interior will be very similar to that found in the US market sedan (pictured here), which differs slightly from the Australian hatch offering a different centre stack arrangement and larger touchscreen, hopefully with the same quality as the hatch.. 

Two engine choices will be available at launch. The big news is the addition of a hybrid engine – a first for the Corolla sedan. The 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid unit is the same as that found in the hatch. Dual motors on the front axle combine to produce a total system output of 90kW. Combined with a CVT gearbox, combined fuel economy is a claimed – very low – 3.5L/100km.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Int - 1

Otherwise, there will be a two-litre naturally aspirated engine available across all variants, producing peppy outputs of 125kW and 200Nm. That’s up by 22kW and 27Nm over the outgoing 1.8-litre unit, with claimed fuel consumption as low a 6L/100km with the CVT transmission. 

Three variants will be offered on the Corolla sedan, aligning closely with the trims found on the hatch. From the entry level Ascent Sport, all models are specified with LED headlights and tail lights, alloy wheels, eight-inch touchscreen, bluetooth, auxiliary and USB inputs, and Siri Eyes-Free integration – plus the all important Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which were recently added to the hatch.

The Ascent Sport petrol is the only variant available with a choice of six-speed manual or CVT. The base hybrid also throws in keyless go.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Ext - 1

Moving to the mid-range SX, the specification builds to include a more premium leather steering wheel – replacing a plastic wheel on the base car – with paddle shifters, standard keyless go, wireless phone charging, navigation with live traffic, and digital radio.

The range-topping ZR sedan splits from the hatch in that it can only be had with the two-litre petrol, and not with the hybrid. Equipment on the top-shelf Corolla ZR four-door includes a sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front sport seats trimmed in synthetic leather, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, head-up display and a nine-speaker JBL stereo.

As for safety, across the range expect to find AEB with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, road sign detection, auto high-beam, blind-spot monitoring, seven airbags, and rear-view camera. All CVT variants get active cruise as standard, which operates from 30km/h and up.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Int - 2

Our biggest bugbear with the twelfth-generation Corolla hatch was its boot: it’s smaller than its rivals, and also features a pronounced load-lip – but it’s likely the Sedan will solve this and offer more storage. However, we were suitably impressed with the Corolla hatch when we drove it, we hope to find out how the stiffer and more conventional sedan performs soon.

2020 Corolla Sedan Pricing

All prices are before on-road costs

Ascent Sport Manual Petrol $23,335
Ascent Sport CVT Petrol $24,835
Ascent Sport CVT Hybrid $26,335
SX Petrol CVT $28,235
SX Hybrid CVT $29,735
ZR Petrol CVT $33,635