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Toyota Corolla Hatchback vs 2020 Corolla Sedan: How to Make the Right Choice

The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling sedan of all time. Ever! Let’s say you have decided to buy a new Corolla. How in the world do you decide between the 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan vs Hatchback? Here are some important differences between these two Toyota Corolla vehicles.

In the past two years, Toyota has made bold advancements in the evolution of the Corolla. The 2019 Corolla Hatchback was created in the spirit of its hatchback predecessors (I am reminiscing about the Matrix, Scion iM and Corolla iM). Also, Toyota rolled out its 12th-generation Corolla with the 2020 model.

One might think the only natural choice is whether you want a trunk or a hatch. However, there are other key differences between the two.

Grade / Trim Levels

Let’s begin class with roll call. We need to know who is present and accounted for.

The 2019 Corolla Hatchback is offered in two levels: The SE and XSE (think Sport Edition and Xtra Sport Edition). You can get each level in automatic or 6-speed manual transmission as well.

Several grade levels are available to buyers with 2020 Toyota Corolla. You can choose from L, LE, XLE, SE, SE 6-speed manual transmission, XSE and even LE Hybrid.

Watch what to expect of the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news analysis.

Read More: 2020 Corolla Trim Levels Explained

The Elephant in the Room

As I mentioned, there is one giant comparative difference between the 2020 Toyota Corolla and the 2019 Corolla Hatchback (the identical 2020 Hatchback will begin shipments to dealers in October). One has a trunk and one has a hatch.

The nice thing about Corolla sedans is that you can fold the 2nd row seats down to accommodate longer items, such as skis, brooms and a nice 2x4 from Lowes. Yet you still have the trunk space where you will not see the items you are transporting. They are tucked away nicely. Cargo volume is 13 cubic feet and passenger volume is 89 cubic feet.

The 2019 Corolla Hatchback offers versatility as its advantage, where owners can cruise with either the 2nd row seats up or folded down. I’m dying to try my mountain bike in here. The Hatchback cargo volume is higher than the sedan with 17.8 cubic feet, while “people space” is smaller at 84.6 cubic feet passenger volume.

What about under the hood?

Sometimes it all comes down to performance. Both models have many options to choose from.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla is available in 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines. The 1.8-liter has 139 horsepower and 126 lb.-ft. torque. That is a slight increase from its 2019 predecessor. If you choose the 2.0-liter engine, you will definitely notice a difference in get-up-and-go, as it brings 169 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. torque. I have driven both options multiple times and there is a noticeable difference both in power and in overall driving experience.

You also have the choice between Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence and shift mode (L, LE, XLE), a 6-speed intelligent manual transmission (SE 6-speed) and Dynamic Shift CVT (SE, XSE).

The LE Hybrid has its own CVT and gives you 121 net hybrid horsepower.

The decision with the Corolla Hatchback is a little simpler, as there is one engine choice: the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. This produces 168 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. torque. Options with “The Hatch” (I got that from David Hasselhoff…”The Hoff”) are a Dynamic-Shift CVT and 6-speed intelligent manual transmission.

What if I want the best Gas Mileage?

Many drivers today are looking for vehicles with the best fuel efficiency. Long morning commutes make this a crucial factor in the buying process.

Corolla sedan estimates range from 32 combined (29 city / 36 highway) with SE manual to 34 combined (31 city / 40 highway) in the SE automatic.

The Corolla Hatchback gives you a wide range of mpg estimates. You can get anywhere from 31mpg combined (28 city / 37 highway) with SE and XSE 6-speeds to 36 combined (32 city / 42 highway) in the SE automatic.

The overall winner here is the 2020 Corolla LE Hybrid sedan. This one gives families the benefit of a combined 52mpg (53 city / 52 highway). This one is an easy choice if you’ve got mpg on the brain.

How are Corolla Hatchback and Corolla Sedan similar?

With technological advancements moving a record pace, both Toyota Corolla Hatchback and Corolla sedan offer passengers a wide range of similar benefits.

Both vehicles have 8 standard airbags and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This large package of active safety systems was designed to limit distractions and prevent accidents.

The 2019 Corolla Hatchback has a standard 8” multimedia touch-screen, while 2020 Corolla sedan has an 8” touch-screen on all trim levels LE and above (L grade has 7”). Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa capabilities are standard features as well.

I would love your feedback. If you were deciding between the two models, would you choose Toyota Corolla Hatchback or Corolla sedan? Are you an automatic person or do you prefer manual (please don’t tell me manual driving is a dying art – I grew up learning on a manual Escort haha).

Thanks everyone for reading my stories. I work hard every day to become “Your Complete Car-Buying Resource.” Please bookmark my Torque News page so you can follow along daily. See you next story…

Watch my video comparison of Toyota Corolla sedan vs Corolla Hatchback.

Jeff Teague is a Toyota news reporter at Torque News. You can reach Jeff on Facebook and follow his Instagram for his popular "Toyotajeff Minute" quick Toyota reviews.

Follow Jeff on Twitter at @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories. Jeff also shares Toyota news videos on his Youtube Channel at ToyotaJeff1.


Bao Tran (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 8:16PM

Hi Jeff,
I love Corolla, I started driving with a Corolla wagon in 1979, now at 75 years old, I hope to begin ending driving with a new hatch. Actually I love the sedance face and
hate the tongue of the hatch. So maybe I go with the sedance because at least I can a 2x4 from Home Depot.
I also have a second love with 2020 Honda Fit, I think I will go with this new fire if the 2020 Fit has new Civic power. To be or not to be?
Bao Tran, Orange County, CA

Fritz Larson (not verified)    April 22, 2020 - 11:41PM

Hi Jeff, My wife and I went to a jacksonville fl toyota dealership today. We looking at 2019 and 2020 silver toyota corolla hatchback SE We liked the 2019 because it has the (BSM) blind spot monitoring on the outside side mirror where the 2020 doesn't. The big question is the apple play isn't very compatible with our I-phone on the 2019 vs 2020 Why?? Thank you for your time Fritz I have had two toyota corollas

Philip Hensley (not verified)    August 6, 2020 - 10:30AM

I currently own a 2017 Corolla iM, and plan to get the newest hatchback available when I'm in the market. Love the versatility.

Mark Swirsky (not verified)    April 2, 2023 - 7:48AM

I'm curious, did you ever try to fit your mountain bike in the Corolla Hatchback? I'm considering getting one but there isn't one in stock, so I'd have to have my dealer locate one for me and I won't have a chance to check if my hybrid will fit prior to getting it. Thanks very much!