By on August 10, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

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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19 Comments on “Toyota Mulling a Different Kind of Small Hybrid – the Fun Kind...”


  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Maybe they could drop in the 2019 Camry hybrid powertrain . . . . . .

  • avatar
    RHD

    The silver lining: if you ever want to challenge a buddy to see who can drive the farthest on two wheels, now you know which car to pick for yourself.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Toyota does race the Yaris, mostly in Europe tho. Maybe they would like to establish some racing here, besides the NASCAR Camry.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Having read the article I learned that the 2019 Corolla has 168 hp, well some power. I learned a thing.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    This sounds like what the Lexus CT should have been.

  • avatar

    Hot Corolla? You can get the same results for much less:
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-fall-asleep

  • avatar
    stuki

    Does speed/power/sportscarness contribute even one iota to genuine youthfulness anymore?

    It does appeal to old people trying to buy back a bit of their past-it’s-due-date youth, but that seems to be about it.

    At least in the US. In emerging Asia, there still seems to be a bit of life left in the sporty/youthful connection. Probably in no small part due, specifically, to dad and granddad not hogging the space, the way they are here.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I’m guessing not. Connectivity and apps along with a bus pass are what youths are allegedly looking for.

      I’m just outside of what would be considered the youthful demographic so it’s hard to guess.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    A fun hybrid? They should call it “Toyota LaToyota”.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I want a 4runner-esque hatch…like a capable crosstrek…

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I like the idea. A LOT. I don’t know why the assumption is that if you want to save gas (for a host of reasons) that you automatically have no interest in a car that handles well. I, for one, are the exact opposite. Every car I have ever owned has had suspension mods done to it. And if you have a 100 mile commute, mileage is important. But so is fun behind the wheel. I gave back a then new 2014 Prius (it sat for over a year before I got it) to keep a 2009 hybrid Altima because the Prius was such a poor drive. Go for it Toyota!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Ditto. I’ve realized I don’t need huge power and speed to enjoy street driving. But I do need a decent chassis and SOME power. The move away from hybrids as complete miserable penalty boxes is good. This also bodes well for the future of the performance car as big ICE engines are incongruent with an increasingly environmentally regulated future.

      For all we know this could bring back the high revving naturally aspirated engine. Let’s think positive

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Steering, suspension and seats are the key elements for me, not high power. Power only entertains when it’s demonstrated by acceleration, and how many opportunities do you get to do that in a given (non-track) day? And the faster your car is, the briefer the experience of acceleration. But the big three S’s listed above are gifts that keep on giving.

        So I concur, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      Unfortunately, the political and internet cultures are bent on sorting all of us into polar opposites. Either you hate all cars, or you hate Mother Earth, that’s your two choices. SAD. But can’t well all just agree on something? When I drive my hybrid 100 miles, it saves me enough gas money to buy lunch. Let’s hear it for lunch! Anybody?

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Cool idea, I hope they do it. And, such a car must be named “Celica-GT”

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    If a bear attacks your picnic, it’s not necessary to be the one who runs the fastest. You just can’t be the slowest. Likewise, the hot hybrid hatch (HHH) you postulate doesn’t have to battle GTIs as an equal. It jus has to outdo any other hybrid hatchback, which shouldn’t be very hard to do.

    A year ago, I was about to replace my own Mk V GTI. I loved the tight steering and the grippy seats, among other things, but I never made use of full power. The top 25% of performance that auto reviewers find so entertaining was useless to my daily driving. But I discovered that there was one hybrid hatch that was at least warm, if not hot.

    My new Ford C-Max Energi has 195 combined HP to the GTI’s 200. The 0-60 is 8 seconds- slow next to the GTI’s six, but fast enough for every freeway merge and passing situation. Add double the gas mileage and I don’t miss the GTI at all… well, except for those seats. It wouldn’t have taken much to hop up the C-Max as an HHH, but that opportunity was missed.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Totally. Just call it the Lexus CT.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    “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.

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