The Toyota Corolla has historically flaunted its frugal credentials. In a sign of changing times, the new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is angling for a lot more eco cred.
For the first time, it packs something very noteworthy: Toyota’s hybrid system, and mileage that’s surprisingly close to the Prius.
Toyota claims that the Corolla Hybrid’s EPA ratings will include at least 50 mpg combined—which will put its fuel economy in line with the all-wheel-drive Prius (AWD-e) that Toyota also showed Wednesday at the LA Auto Show.
The Corolla Hybrid, like the Corolla, has some intriguing new proportions—possibly a bit more ‘cab forward’ than the outgoing model, and reveling more in the fine details—and is built on the automaker’s new TNGA platform.
Here, the Hybrid system makes 121 horsepower combined, and the 1.8-liter gasoline inline-4 runs on the lean Atkinson cycle. Two motors and a planetary gear system help juggle multiple drive modes and recover energy when decelerating and braking.
Toyota says that an active hydraulic brake booster helps establish better brake pedal feel, and a preload-differential feature helps with torque distribution from left to right to aid handling. There are three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport, each changing accelerator response.
Corolla Hybrid models come with an exclusive 7.0-inch multi-information display system with reconfigurable readouts and displays in its instrument cluster, while they have a big 8.0-inch touch screen display with six speakers, Apple CarPlay compatibility, Siri Eyes Free, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Wi-Fi connectivity, and traffic and weather info.
The Corolla Hybrid will also come fitted with a full range of active safety tech including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and lane-departure warnings.
Pricing and trim levels for the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid haven’t yet been detailed, but don’t be surprised if it’s priced in the vicinity of the most affordable Prius models. With that, the Corolla Hybrid could face up against the excellent Honda Insight hybrid sedan.
Hybrid tech, at last, could be the new normal.