The Toyota Corolla is, if you count all the different vehicles sold under that nameplate together, a wildly successful car. The current Corolla is also an excellent commuter, practical and inoffensive, which returns decent economy with simple hardware. That's no backhanded compliment: a great many consumers seek simple, affordable, worry-free transportation and that's the Corolla's jam.
And if you consider the 2020 Toyota Corolla, it should be that sedan's jam too. The big deal is that it'll move to the Toyota New Global Architecture, although we already heard rumors of that and it makes perfect sense. After all, the original Prius' platform underpinned a wide variety of Corolla-sized cars all over the world, up to and including our current one (in revised form). Switching to the TNGA platform already under the Prius, C-HR and 2018 Camry just makes sense.
After all, Volkswagen's MQB platform is a perfect example of the power of economy of scale, and that a shared platform doesn't limit the form a vehicle will take. MQB is under everything from the Audi A3 to the gigantic Volkswagen Atlas. TNGA will be that for Toyota, but on a slightly smaller scale.
What we can glean from these very camouflaged prototypes is that the Corolla won't change much in size or shape, which confirms what we'd guess. Its profile and what we can see of the front and rear ends imply it'll be milder than the Camry's recent redo. The camo cut-out up front sure looks like it's covering a similarly shaped grille and the downward-sloping rear end looks familiar as well. From the side, note the huge back door and lengthy tail, which indicate the 2020 Corolla should maintain the current car's Uber-friendly back seat and trunk.
Using another 1.8-liter four-cylinder seems likely, though the Corolla could really use a power bump -- most may not care, but it's presently one of the slowest vehicles in its class. A CVT could also return, but we also wouldn't be surprised if Toyota switched to a conventional automatic. The new TNGA Camry achieves excellent fuel economy with its new eight-speed automatic and that car's chief engineer Masato Katsumata told us quite emphatically that he's no fan of any CVT. If that's indeed a change from the current Corolla norm, we don't think anyone would complain.
One last note: remember the political fight over the Toyota plant in Mexico? The Corolla was going to be built there, but now will be built at the joint Toyota-Mazda plant in Alabama that was just announced recently.