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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