2023 Toyota Corolla Updates Include AWD for Hybrid, Improved Safety Tech for All

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
3 min read
2023 Toyota Corolla
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2023 Toyota Corolla

The 2023 Corolla's design updates are minor.


What's happening

The Toyota Corolla sedan and hatchback both benefit from a number of important changes for the 2023 model year, including better safety tech and all-wheel drive for the Corolla Hybrid.

Why it matters

These updates -- along with changes like improved multimedia tech and some styling changes -- allow the Corolla to remain super competitive in the compact class.

What's next

The refreshed 2023 Corolla range goes on sale later this year.

The might not look all that different for 2023, but the most important updates aren't the ones you can see, they're the ones you can't. Making its debut Wednesday, the refreshed Corolla lineup packs an improved array of driver-assistance tech, as well as an all-wheel drive option for Corolla Hybrid models and, yes, some styling updates, too.

2023 Toyota Corolla Lineup Gets Minor Styling Tweaks

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Hybrids get all-wheel drive

The most important update for 2023 is the new all-wheel drive option for the Corolla Hybrid sedan. It uses an electronic all-wheel-drive setup like the one in the , where a separate electric motor is mounted to the rear axle, only applying power when needed. This means there's no driveshaft connected to the rear wheels as seen in traditional all-wheel-drive systems, allowing the powertrain to run more efficiently.

There are more hybrid models to choose from, too. You can get the front-wheel-drive Corolla Hybrid in LE, SE and XLE grades; all-wheel drive is an option on the LE and SE. Pricing has yet to be announced, so it's unclear how much of a premium AWD will command over FWD trims.

As before, the 2023 Corolla Hybrid combines a 1.8-liter gasoline inline-4 with a lithium-ion battery pack, the latter of which is now mounted under the rear seat, resulting in a lower center of gravity and more trunk space. Official EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings for the 2023 Corolla Hybrid are not yet available.

2023 Toyota Corolla
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2023 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla hatchback is cute as ever.


More robust safety and multimedia tech

All 2023 Corollas will come standard with updated Safety Sense 3.0 driver-assistance suite. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and automatic high-beam headlights. Additional options include front and rear parking assist as well as adaptive front LED lighting.

On the multimedia tech front, all new Corollas now have an 8-inch infotainment screen. The underlying interface hasn't changed, but the system is now compatible with over-the-air updates, helping to keep things up-to-date in the future. Toyota's multimedia software allows for dual Bluetooth phone connectivity, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly. Finally, the Corolla's natural speech assistant lets you wake up the system with the usual "Hey, Toyota" prompt, where you can ask for directions, adjust climate controls and more by way of voice commands.

2023 Toyota Corolla
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2023 Toyota Corolla

The 8-inch multimedia display can now accept over-the-air software updates.


Styling updates and a better standard engine

The rest of the 2023 Corolla's changes are pretty minor. The standard LED headlights have a new design that brings the sedan and hatch closer in line, and SE and XSE grades get new 18-inch graphite-colored alloy wheels. The Corolla Hybrid SE models (both front- and all-wheel drive) also get the heavier steering tune from the Corolla Apex.

Speaking of the Apex, it's going away for the 2023 model year, though it could return in some capacity. Toyota will also discontinue the six-speed manual transmission option previously available on SE and XSE models.

Finally, the strongest-selling Corolla LE now gets the same 169-horsepower 2.0-liter I4 engine as other trims, replacing the anemic 139-hp 1.8-liter engine. Toyota says the Corolla LE is now significantly quicker than before while also being more efficient, estimated to return 31 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined.

Look for the 2023 Toyota Corolla lineup to hit dealers later this year. Official pricing information will be released closer to that time.