Somehow, Toyota never added a hybrid variant of its wildly popular Corolla sedan in the US. That's despite the wild, overwhelming success of the Prius. That doesn't matter, though, because Toyota's finally seen fit to do exactly that and it chose the 2018 LA Auto Show as the venue to roll it out.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is, according to Toyota, the most fuel efficient Corolla ever. The hybrid system brings together a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle I4 gas engine and two electric motors for a net 121-horsepower output. All that juice heads to the front wheels by way of a continuously variable transmission.
While its output isn't exactly something to write home about, Toyota says the hybrid system is designed to give the gas engine a boost off the line, so it should still feel plenty sprightly. The Corolla Hybrid stores its electrons in a nickel-metal hydride battery pack that lives under the rear seat, preserving trunk space and permitting a split folding seatback.
All in, Toyota estimates that the Corolla Hybrid will achieve 50 mpg combined. For those really wanting to avoid the gas station, the car has an EV Mode button that'll let it operate entirely on the battery for very short distances, just like the Prius. Regenerative braking and an emissions system geared to warm the engine faster are just a couple of the hybrid tricks up the Corolla's sleeve.
Save for a few "Hybrid" badges and a unique set of alloy wheels, the outside of the Corolla Hybrid isn't all that different from the regular Corolla, which borrowed its more aggressive countenance from the Corolla Hatchback. Same goes for the inside.
The only bit of interior tech that's unique to the Corolla Hybrid is a new gauge on the 7-inch cluster screen that can offer up tips on more efficient driving, including suggestions on how hard to push the accelerator based on driving conditions. Otherwise, it has the same kit as the regular Corolla, including an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay.
Also like the regular Corolla, there's a whole lot of standard safety kit. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on every Corolla, and it packs automatic braking, full speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, sign recognition and automatic high beams.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid goes on sale this spring, and pricing will be announced closer to its launch.
: Get the lowdown on what makes the new 'Rolla so interesting.
: See why I think it's the best Corolla thus far.