As the volume of technology in cars increases, so does the average transaction price. In fact, people are currently spending more than $35K on a new car.
This is more than half of the median salary in the United States, which currently sits at $63,378, according to Sentier Research.
So, what’s a person to do if she wants a new car with a plethora of current safety technology, but doesn’t want to break the bank?
My answer: Check out the all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla. It has a ton of standard up-level features, and the price is definitely right.
Here are the five most important things you need to know about this car.
Base price at $20K
Toyota did a fairly good job of holding the line on pricing while adding a lot of valuable features. In fact, base price for 2020 only increases by $800, while more than $2,000 in features have been added.
You can get the base L trim at $20,430, including destination.
Because so many first-time buyers purchase a Corolla, Toyota has prioritized making this a very safe car. To that end, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard starting at the base L trim.
That means features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane trace assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control and road sign assist are included on all vehicles.
The only exception is that lane trace assist isn’t available on manual transmission models.
Standard Apple CarPlay
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been the holy grail of phone mirroring systems that automakers are starting to offer. And Toyota has been a primary holdout in making these systems available. In fact, Auto remains unavailable, and CarPlay only just became available starting in all-new 2019 models.
However, I’m happy that CarPlay, at least, is available in all trims. I’ve been irked lately to learn that base trims on several entry-level models do not include CarPlay.
Toyota is well known for its hybrids. From the Prius to its hybrid versions of the Camry, Avalon, Highlander and RAV4, Toyota has long been on the forefront of hybrid technology proliferation. It was only a matter of time before the Corolla got the hybrid treatment.
It’s here for 2020, and it comes equipped with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that’s mated to two electric motors. Total system output is 121 horsepower, which is decent for a vehicle of this size. The real news, however, is that the Corolla hybrid can get up to 52 mpg in combined driving.
One thing to note: The hybrid is currently only available in the LE trim, which is one level up from base. That means no leather-like seating surfaces or heated front seats are available. Base price is $23,880, including destination.
Available manual transmission
One of the interesting tidbits I took away from the press preview is that the current purchase rate for the manual transmission on the hatchback version of the Corolla is 10 percent. In a time when only 1 percent of the population knows how to drive a manual, that’s huge.
So, it should come as no surprise that Toyota also offers a manual in the sedan version. With a couple of caveats, of course.
First, it’s only offered in the SE trim, and that means no JBL audio or heated front seats. Second, it adds $700 to the bottom line. However, the additional moolah isn’t because of the manual, it’s because the SE with the manual includes a moonroof, passive entry and push-button start, and those items are packaged separately on the SE with the continuously variable transmission.
Base price of the SE with the manual is $23,580, including destination.
The Bottom Line:
The 2020 Corolla is a value-packed and attractive proposition for any buyer, but with added standard safety, it becomes a viable option for first-time drivers who might normally be given a (less-safe) used car.
I like how the Corolla looks. I like how it drives. I love all the features you can get for $20K.
Want more information about the all-new Corolla? Be sure to check out our full first-look review.