Toyota Mulling a Different Kind of Small Hybrid - the Fun Kind

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
toyota mulling a different kind of small hybrid the fun kind

We’re a long way from any kind of confirmation, but Toyota’s upcoming Corolla Hatch could become something you’d want to toss around — assuming top brass listen to the brand’s chief engineer.

With the Corolla iM hatch giving way later this summer to a vastly improved five-door that ditches the Scion-era “iM” designation, the automaker has an opportunity on its hands. If Yasushi Ueda has his way, Toyota’s head engineer would turn the model into a hybrid. God, what boredom, you say — I remember borrowing that Prius C from Vrtucar. And cousin Wendy has that Prius she keeps rubbing in our face, like that makes her saviour of the world or something –

Stop! This one wouldn’t be a narcolepsy inducer. Such a vehicle would put down two types of power through all four wheels, giving Toyota a shot of that youthful image it so desperately craves.

Speaking to Australia’s Drive, Ueda said there’s a number of things Toyota could do to turn the warmer 2019 Corolla Hatch into a suitably hot hatch, but the hybrid route might not be top of mind. Still, a hot Corolla Hatch is under consideration.

“I have to consider that, I have to investigate, research,” said Ueda of the hybrid idea. “We don’t have any detailed plan yet. Of course, in the future, the idea of a hot hybrid sounds very good.”

In such a setup, the front-engined, front-drive car would don an electric motor (or a pair of them) to drive the rear wheels, with horsepower and torque being anyone’s guess. Currently, the 2019 Corolla Hatch offers one engine: a 2.0-liter inline-four making 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. That’s a big improvement from its gutless predecessor, but hardly a worthy foil for other hatches boasting a standalone letter after their name.

Toyota’s hot hatch would need an output in excess of 250 hp to do battle with the likes of Honda, Volkswagen, and now Hyundai. However, all-wheel drive and improved fuel economy from an electric rear end would not only endow the Corolla Hatch with newfound handling and getaway powers, it would also make it unique in the segment.

Of course, it could also scare some customers off.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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2 of 19 comments
  • HotPotato HotPotato on Aug 11, 2018

    Totally. Just call it the Lexus CT.

  • Erikstrawn Erikstrawn on Aug 13, 2018

    "And cousin Wendy has that Prius she keeps rubbing in our face, like that makes her saviour of the world or something" I've never had a Prius owner say anything smug to me, but I can't count how many people have said smug things about Prius owners. Get over it.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.