2020 SE Manual 6-Speed Likes & Dislikes

#1
I'm going to keep a running list here of the things I like and don't like. Some items will appear in both categories, because there are aspects of some things which are both good and bad.

Likes:

Exterior style. I thought it was OK when shopping, but it's really grown on me. I've seen a lot of complaints about the large-mouth-bass look of the front grille, but that's something that hasn't bothered me at all. I think it's less noticeable on the darker colored cars. The 18" wheels look very nice, and I've received some compliments on them already.​
Interior Dash Design. The dash layout is definitely minimalist, and I like that a lot.​
Interior Comfort. The longest I've been driving at any time is maybe 1.5 hours, but I found the seats and seating position to be reasonably comfortable. I'm a little over 6 feet tall, and when I lower the driver's seat I have plenty of headroom. The backseat legroom and headroom is better than I expected.​
Handling. The cornering (at least on the SE) is surprisingly flat, especially for an econobox. I've pushed it fairly hard around corners at speed, but not hard enough to lose traction on the still-new Dunlops. The torque-vector braking effectively eliminates understeer, making turn-in feel surprisingly (almost unnaturally, see 'Dislikes' below) quick when cornering hard.​
Manual Transmission. It's simply a lot more fun to drive a car with a MT -- even an econobox.​
Engine. It's not the most spirited sounding engine, and it feels a bit reluctant to rev at times. Almost like it has a heavy flywheel. But a big part of that is that the fly-by-wire accelerator is calibrated conservatively such that more pedal travel is required than expected. Once I got used to giving it a bit more pedal, it gets around pretty quickly when needed. Again, having a MT allows finer control over the RPM/available torque, and that helps get the most out of this engine.​
MPG. So far, so good. First tank was 36-37 MPG, and second tank looks like it will be 40-41. Mostly rural driving at 25 MPH - 45 MPH.​

Dislikes:

Noise. I'm not sure whether to blame the Dunlops, the lack of sound-deadening materials, or both. Especially when the tires are cold I hear and feel a subtle bump-bump-bump of the front tires while turning. At 30 MPH the road noise is noticeable, and it borders on annoying at highway speeds. The wind noise isn't severe, but it's definitely noticeable at highway speeds. On a recent ride into the city on some bumpy roads, there was a persistent buzzing rattle somewhere around the driver's side door frame or headliner between the A and B pillars.​
Ride Quality. Over perfectly smooth pavement it's really nice. Over typical/decent roads it's acceptable. Over bumpy roads it ranges from OK to fairly jarring. I think in Toyota's zeal to make the SE "sporty enough", they favored aesthetics over practicality with the 18" wheels and 40r/18 tires. I think 17" wheels and a little more rubber would have been a better choice, and sufficient to distinguish it from the non-sporty trims. I have 16" wheels with 205/55r/16 tires for winter driving, and it will be interesting to see how the ride quality improves with these. I'm sure some of the...stiff/harsh ride quality is due to the suspension tuning.​
Handling. While I appreciate the torque-vector braking, it takes some getting used to. It seems like it doesn't always come on smoothly/progressively. If you're in the middle of a sweeping turn and then turn a little sharper, the vectoring system seems to kick in kind of abruptly. When this happens, you suddenly go from a predictable, mildly-understeering FWD car, to a "Holy @#%! I'm oversteering!" kind of feeling. If you're not prepared for this it's alarming at the least, and potentially dangerous. I've had a few times where the car was understeering a bit during a high-speed entrance ramp curve, and I was reluctant to turn any sharper for fear that the sudden switch to oversteer would cause me to lose traction. It can sometimes give the perception of a sudden shift in direction that might make you lose control of the vehicle, or even rollover.​
Clutch/Shifter. The clutch engagement point is too high. It takes a bit of getting used to, and until you do it's actually easy to stall the car when starting out in 1st. This is exacerbated by the large amount of accelerator travel needed before enough fuel enters the system. The shifter was butter-smooth at first, but now it's sometimes a little hard to get into 1st gear.​
Infotainment. Sorry, Entune 3.0 stinks. It looks boring, is laggy, and isn't particularly intuitive. The best I can say is that, for the most part, I've figured out where to go to find relevant information. Toyota promoted Alexa integration and Remote Connect, but neither of those are available as part of the regular Entune 3.0 system. The only thing on the infotainment system that I use is Apple Carplay and the Eco/MPG screen.​
Lane Tracing Assist. Again, Toyota marketing fail. Lane Tracing Assist is strangely missing on the 6-speed manual version. It's not a feature I anticipate using, but it bothers me that it's not there.​
 
#2
Oops, I didn't realize you can't edit posts here. So much for the running list! I'll just have to add new items as replies.

Dislikes:

HVAC Controls. Too small, hard to see and find the setting I'm looking for. I'm sure this will improve as I memorize the layout. Also, there is a long lag between turning the fan speed setting and the fan actually responding. Like a couple seconds. That's pretty annoying.​
 
#3
Dislikes:

Storage. Small glovebox, small center console cubby, and small phone tray. Cupholders are too narrow for most of my coffee mugs and water bottles to fit properly. Also, I swear I saw several youtube video reviews where the center console armrest slides forward on the SE (not just XSE) model. Not so on my SE model. Is it another feature not available with the manual transmission?​
 
#4
My main dislike about my 2020 Corolla SE Sedan 6-MT is the key-less ignition system in general. I would rather have a regular key w/remote lock/unlock buttons like my 2015 Yaris SE 5-MT had. I would also rather have a regular pull-brake parking brake over the electronic parking brake nonsense. Lots of stupid, useless, gimmicky tech-bloat in modern cars IMO, a lot of which is only useful for distracted, stupid, intoxicated or otherwise impaired drivers. A factory dash-cam would have been more useful than the stupid lane-keeping-assist feature, camera sensor that reads speed limit signs, etc.

Did your J-VIN Corolla come with Dunlop 225/40/R18? Mine came with Yokohama 225/40/R18.
 
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#5
My main dislike about my 2020 Corolla SE Sedan 6-MT is the key-less ignition system in general. I would rather have a regular key & remote lock/unlock buttons like my 2015 Yaris SE 5-MT had. I would also rather have a regular pull-brake parking brake over the electronic parking brake nonsense. Lots of stupid, useless tech-bloat in modern cars IMO, most of which are only useful for distracted, stupid, intoxicated or otherwise impaired drivers.
Ugh, I forgot about the keyless ignition. The main reason I don't like it is I can't shut the car off at a stoplight without cutting accessory power (including the blinkers). So -- ignoring for the moment that it's illegal to do so -- I can't optimize MPG by shutting off the car at a long stoplight when I'm waiting to turn. Not to mention I can't do engine-off coasting, ever. If you try to hit the ignition off button while coasting, a message comes up on the screen warning me that if I press the button again, the car will perform an emergency stop. What the?

Totally agree about the auto e-brake as well. I despise that thing. The Hold feature can sometimes be pretty useful though. Probably more-so for someone getting used to driving a MT.
 
#6
I do like the automatic climate control system & look/feel of the controls in general, but you are right that the buttons & text are small & require some active scrutiny to see which button is which & such.
 
#7
Are you in the U.S.? My 2020 Corolla SE Sedan 6-MT has the useless lane-keeping-assist feature. It can be set to off, warning only, or warning+corrective action. I have it set off. Same with the stupid feature that reads speed limit signs & such. Toyota should just ditch those gimmicks & actually add somewhat useful standard safety-sense features on models trims lower than XSE - like side-mirror blind-spot monitoring (which would at least be somewhat useful if you have a cramped neck that week ;)).
 
#8
Are you in the U.S.? My 2020 Corolla SE Sedan 6-MT has the useless lane-keeping-assist feature. It can be set to off, warning only, or warning+corrective action. I have it set off.
Yes, US. The Lane-Keeping-Assist is a gimmick, but at least I can shut it off. :D What bothers me is that the manual doesn't have the Lane Tracing Assist like the CVT does, even though the equipment is all there (see LKA). Would I use it? No, but why is it missing? I don't get it.

Same with the stupid feature that reads speed limit signs & such.
I don't mind the speed limit indicator. There have already been times where I was driving somewhere new and missed the speed limit sign, and there it was on the dash. Yay.

Toyota should just ditch those gimmicks & actually add useful standard safety-sense features like side-mirror blind-spot monitoring (which would at least be somewhat useful if you have a cramped neck).
True blind-spot monitoring would be a useful improvement for sure. Overall I think TSS 2.0 is overrated -- same with Honda Sensing when I was shopping the Civic, though at least it provided a side-view video on the infotainment screen when turning right.
 
#9
I agree with you on the 17" wheels, like what the Corolla iM was using. Seems like the sweet-spot for wheel & tire size for a car this size. 16" alloy wheels looked perfect on my little 2015 Yaris SE hatch, but the same 16" wheel size on the 2019+ Corolla SE hatchback (& sedan if it was ever used there) look too dinky & comical for the size/length of the vehicle. The 2020 Corolla hybrid sedan with the 15" wheels is REALLY comical looking :p. I would have loved to see the same 18" wheel design used for the XSE Sedan/Hatch & SE Sedan been implemented as a 17" wheel instead with 45 or 50 size profile tires. The 18" wheels & 225/40 tires just transmit too much road noise & poor ride quality on crappy roads - and there is NO shortage of crappy roads vs good roads it seems like (at least around here in PHX, AZ).
 
#10
I got a set of 16" wheels with 205/55R tires for my winter setup. Combined with the softer rubber compound, I'm expecting a very cushy ride (by comparison). It will probably be jarring -- literally -- to go back to the stock 18-inchers when I switch back in March or so.

Yes, I realize the idea of winter wheels/tires is probably absurd to someone living in Phoenix. :D
 
#11
^^ It even occurred to me that I might be able to sell the 18" stock rims/wheels to someone locally for a pretty penny. If I could do a straight-up trade for a good quality aftermarket wheel, I think I'd go for 225/55R17. Maybe the 55R is a bit tall aesthetically, but I think it would still handle fine (with the right rubber) and the ride quality would be far better.
 
#12
My Yaris SE was 195/50-R16 & the 50 profile tires was the sweet spot between sporty lower-profile looks & ride quality. I checked a wheel/tire calculator some time ago & 215/45-R18 tires on our 18" factory rims would hardly affect the MPH readout at all (actual 65 MPH would read as 64 MPH on display). It was something I was considering for my next set of tires on my '20 Corolla SE Sedan.
 
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