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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago in the AAA Green Car Guide, which initially focused entirely on rating fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles.

For the 2021 edition, we've expanded the focus of the guide to include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and the development of autonomous vehicles.

home Home » Search Results » 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE
How The Car Guide Rating Works
Test Results and Rankings:
The green cars tested by the ARC are evaluated on the basis of 13 categories: emissions, fuel economy, crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo-carrying capacity, ride quality, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, maneuverability, roominess, and visibility. The scores for the categories are totaled, and the cars are ranked from high to low.

2020 Toyota Corolla XSE

Vehicle Type: Small Gasoline
 overall score
Category Ranking: 6
Vehicle Price
Base Price: $25,450
Price as Tested: $29,168
Fuel Information
Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 13.2
EPA City mpg31
EPA Highway mpg38
EPA Combined mpg34
with specific headlights
Advanced Safety Features
Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
Advanced Headlights [S]
Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
Blind-Spot Warning [O]
Forward-Collision Warning [S]
Lane-Departure Warning [S]
Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
[S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:
star star star star star
Overall Observations
When an author's book sits atop the bestseller lists for weeks, it's an impressive feat. When a car model like the Toyota Corolla-which debuted in 1966-lays claim to that title for decades, it means it's got something going for it. The Corolla's sporty new styling is likely one reason its popularity continues. Unfortunately, the downside to that comes when you slip behind the wheel, where the car's sloping nose makes it hard to judge where the front bumper is. Also, the low roofline limits rearward visibility. The XSE model we tested came with a long list of standard upscale features, including heated front seats, a moonroof, and 18-inch alloy wheels - plus adaptive LED headlights, which lights the way around turns - a surprising plus in a sub-$30K vehicle. On the downside, the Corolla's 2.0-liter inline 4, with 169 hp, provides barely adequate acceleration. The steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters - the Corolla's only real claim to sportiness - makes the most of the power on tap, however. Steering feedback is minimal, and lots of road noise invades the cabin. The Corolla is rated at a respectable 31 mpg city/38 mpg highway/34 mpg combined. We found that impossible to duplicate, however, recording just 26 mpg in our tests.
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Strengths and Weaknesses
Strong Points
  • Good value
  • Top scores in NHTSA/IIHS crash tests
  • Sportiest, best-looking Corolla ever
Weak Points
  • Noisy cabin can grow tiresome
  • Little steering feedback
  • No Android Auto smartphone integration
Vehicle Specifications
Model year tested: 2020
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3140.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 182.3 / 70.1 / 56.5
Wheelbase (in): 106.3
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Yokohama AVID GT
Front and rear tire size: 225/40 R18
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: CVT
Drivetrain type: Front wheel
Engine/motor: 2.0L 4-Cyl. DOHC VVT-i
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 169 @ 6600
Test Data
Test Vehicle Scores
Advanced Safety Features: 8.75
Fuel Efficiency: 6.10
EPA Emissions Score: 6.00
Acceleration: 3.04
Braking: 5.09
Crashworthiness: 4.37
Handling: 7.40
Ride Quality: 6.71
Interior Size: 2.58
Easy of Entry and Exit: 6.35
Visibility: 5.13
Interior Noise: 5.36
Cargo Capacity: 1.01
2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Small
More Details
Vehicle Type:  Small
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 127/108
Price as Tested:  $43,735
 out of 130
2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place SUV/Minivan
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Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 127/114
Price as Tested:  $53,190
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2020 BMW X3 XDrive30e
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Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Hybrid
mpg: 21/27
Price as Tested:  $65,020
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2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Large
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Vehicle Type:  Large
Fuel Type:  Hybrid
mpg: 28/31
Price as Tested:  $73,840
 out of 130
2020 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
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Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 80/72
Price as Tested:  $84,276
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