By on November 28, 2018

Toyota followed its November debut of the twelfth-generation Corolla with a November debut of the twelfth-generation Corolla. This time around, we’re looking at the new Hybrid sedan — a model which seems like it probably should have gone on sale years ago, though we aren’t positive who the intended demographic would be. Prius owners?

While the Corolla Hybrid already exists in Toyota’s expanded universe, this is the first time the automaker has seen fit to bring the variant stateside. The hybrid system unites a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle internal combustion engine (2ZR-FXE) and two electric motors for a combined output of 121 horsepower. Those are rather tepid specs, but the automaker was likely much more concerned with achieving the model’s estimated 50 mpg average fuel economy than tuning the motor for the racetrack.

Consider it sort of a Diet Prius, if that helps. 

Of course, Toyota doesn’t want you to think the Hybrid will be a snail. The company claims the electrified setup gives the powerplant some added oomph at low speeds. It also has a sport setting for when you want to wring out every last drop of performance from your economy-focused, CVT-equipped, front-wheel drive sedan.

Alternatively, there’s the default normal, Eco, and EV modes for drivers to choose from during their daily commute. While it’s easy enough to guess how they change the vehicle’s priorities, it should be said that the EV mode allows for electric-only driving only when the vehicle’s nickel-metal hydride battery holds a sufficient amount of energy.

That’s the same power cell that occupies the new Prius AWD-e, if you were wondering. Toyota, which has wisely placed the battery beneath the rear seat to avoid losing interior volume, equipped the model with a braking system that prioritizes regenerative braking as it works in tandem with hydraulic clamps. Intended as a way to send otherwise wasted energy back into the battery, the system also boasts a slick brake hold setting that could be useful in heavy traffic.

Beyond that, there really isn’t much to distinguish the Corolla Hybrid from the standard model. Both will have automatic braking, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep with assist, sign recognition, and automatic high beams as part of the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety aids. They’ll also share nearly identical exteriors, as the electrified model doesn’t really wear much telltale badging.

In fact, it might be easier to look for the 15-inch alloy wheels and low rolling resistance tires if you’re out car spotting. The only other sure-fire way to tell is to actually hop into one and check to see if it recommends adjusting your driving to maximize efficiency.

Currently on display at the LA Auto Show, the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid goes on sale in the spring of 2019. Expect pricing and additional details to be announced closer to its launch.

[Images: Toyota]

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22 Comments on “2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid – MPGs for the Common Man...”


  • avatar

    So this is one the cars that forced GM, Ford, and FCA out of the car business. Is there no stopping the Asian car-makers? They even dominated CUVs with the RAV4 and Rogue. The Asian manufacturers seem to be able to produce any type of vehicle and do it better than the competition.

    American cars of the 70s are starting to look good again. At least the US had a car industry back then.

    What a disgrace!

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      The D3 weren’t ‘forced out’ of the car business. No one wants some appliance grade snooze-mobile like this from FCA, GM or Ford. People who are already pre-disposed towards Asian cars will eat this up, but when you look at the success of the Mopar LX, Mustang, and Corvette…THATS what people expect from an American car. GM had less success with the G8/SS/GTO and to an extent the Camaro and CTS/ATS. I think the bones were there but the execution was half baked.

      If you scrap all the idiotic mpg and emissions regulations or at least reel them in hardcore, the D3 wouldn’t have to play this game of pooping out half baked compliance cars that they don’t want to make, they aren’t particularly good at making and no one is asking them to make. These kinds of humble cheap appliances are Asian mfg’s wheelhouse. Detroit will NEVER be competitive there, any more than Asia is going to dominate in full-size pickups and muscle cars. Pick a job, do it better than anyone else and build a customer base. It works great if regulators and beauracrats will back the hell off.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        Sure they were “forced out”. If they were able to build them and make money on them they would still be doing so, end of story. Toyota builds these, makes money on them, and then builds more. And then when the Corolla customer is ready for something larger they end up with a Camry or Avalon. Or one of the five or six or seven SUV’s in the lineup, I can’t keep count anymore. If they want a truck to haul mulch or whatever most people haul, there’s a Tacoma and a Tundra – note almost all of these are actually built here in the US or at least North America. And if the customer strikes it rich and wants something fancier, there’s the Lexus store.

        Are Toyota’s “exciting”? No, not really. But Toyota is doing something right by becoming the #1 automaker worldwide, they sure didn’t start out that way. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that Ford and GM and FCA actually WANT to downsize their operation and become a one or two-trick pony. They simply have no other choice. Downsize and consolidate or be downsized forcibly by the market.

        You were correct in saying that Detroit doesn’t want to build these kinds of cars. Boy, did the market figure that out! But it’s a business. GM, Ford, FCA are in the business of making money. If they were able to make money off a Cruze or Focus or whatever they would, however they never showed that they wanted to build a product
        good enough in those classes and thus the consumer decided not to reward them for it.

        Ford very likely does not make enough on a Mustang to keep it around based on itself. Same with Corvette. Both are heavily subsidized by the thing they DO do well, i.e. large trucks. They are only both around due to being synonymous with their makers.

        The LX is only around since it’s likely fully amortized and keeps the line going, nobody is talking about a “next” generation of them in anything near their current form. Chargers are sold to police forces, rental car agencies, and otherwise with huge discounts to a few consumers. 300’s are sold to rental car companies and otherwise with even larger discounts. Hardly a winning long term formula.

        I totally understand you are into performance FCA’s. I get it, they are cool. But there aren’t enough like-minded other buyers that buy off the showroom floor to keep the lights on for a LARGE automaker with full lines. The everyday vehicles are what do that. In Ford’s case, they better hope that their everyday F150 stays on top of the pile, if not, all the lights might go out. Same for GM etc.

        I predict the Corolla Hybrid will sell, likely to those who wanted a Prius but can’t get past the styling, assuming it sells for enough less than a Camry hybrid. If they put the hybrid powertrain in the new Corolla hatchback they’ll likely sell even more. Plenty of people don’t have the money for 15mpg and simply want to get from point A to point B as cheaply and efficiently and reliable as possible. This fits the bill. Good move, Toyota, and Detroit has NO comeback or option whatsoever.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          You’re ignoring the fact that Toyota car sales are sliding just as fast as everyone else’s. These “bold” designs of the latest Camry and Avalon in particular, including the TuRD editions, are a desperate attempt at generating interest beyond rental fleet sales. It isnt working. Nissan, Toyota and Honda’s best selling vehicles are not cars, they’re utilities. They are far from immune to the change in market preferences, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that the sales of their light trucks are “subsidizing” faltering sedan sales.

          Ford and GM have more than just fullsize trucks to sell. Their crossovers and utilities are selling very well. Ford has the best selling 3 row utility, and each of their large BOF SUVs (both Ford’s and GM’s) put the Sequoia and Armada to shame on the sales charts. This is to say nothing of FCA’s Jeep. The Grand Cherokee, old as it is, is second only to the best selling Explorer in midsize utility sales.

          So, they aren’t doing great in the sedan market. That market is in steep decline and has been for some time. Their smaller utilities get good mileage, the penalty they take over sedans is very little compared to how much more room they have. You can make up whatever you need to in order to justify your opinion that the American manufacturers are inept and struggling, but it doesn’t make it true.

          • 0 avatar
            larrystew

            I agree with Walter. I owned a 2002 Ford Focus for 12 years, ran it up to 180,000 miles with no major issues. So I thought, I want another one. I bought a 2013 Focus hatch Titanium, but boy was that a mistake. I’m about to have the clutchpack replaced for a third time (its fourth clutchpack) and I have more rattles and clunks than I ever had in my ’02. There is a huge difference in build quality between the two. Not sure what happened, but it has turned me off to Ford. One of my friends owns a 2009 Corolla. Every time I get in it as a passenger, I wonder, how is this car tighter than my 4-year-younger Focus? With all the clutchpacks and labor that Ford is having to fork over for the DCT disaster, it’s no wonder that Ford is having financial issues and having to trim back its offerings.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Yeah, because you can build a booming business on 250,000 units of muscle car volume…..

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Cleaner emissions don’t force GM to make non-competitive cars. CAFE requirements don’t seem to be much of a problem for most automakers. Good engineering and efficient designs can easily comply. The “idiotic” part of the problem is the use of cheap interiors, penny-pinched parts that break too soon and paint that looks like hell right around the time the loan is almost paid off.
        Building quality builds long-term success. GM is in the job of paying executives millions per year, and generous stock dividends. Decades of customers who have been burned by crappy GM vehicles and won’t ever come back is the problem. Allowing inefficient, polluting 60’s style vehicles is not the answer.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Corolla sales are in a free-fall too, despite being the highest percentage of sales going to rental fleets than any other car. But, please dont let facts get in the way of your ignorant rants.

      • 0 avatar

        Toyota will not be cancelling their car because they still sell well. Nobody wants crummy GM cars, because they stink. Even GM trucks are pretty lame. I test drove a Traverse and told the dealer it sucked.

        GM is a mountain of worthless dung. Don’t defend this POS company.

      • 0 avatar

        The Corolla is the best selling nameplate in history. Despite 10% decline in sales the Corolla is still the world’s best selling car.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The frackers (combined with that swarm of Teslas rolling out of Fremont tent city /sarc) have gotten us back to 2 buck gas. Julia, your 60 yr old schoolteacher aunt will love this, but most are looking for a stout SUV or brodozing pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      It’s not just the frackers. The pipeline guys have joined the party. There are multiple new pipelines being built and coming on-line from the Permian Basin to the Gulf of Mexico. I saw a nice jump in income in November when one of the pipelines opened up.

      https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/09/24/the-permian-basins-pipeline-woes-are-about-to-ease.aspx

  • avatar
    scott25

    It won’t take too long for this to jump past the Prius in sales. The Prius isn’t the icon like it was in 2008 and can’t sell based on looks like it used to.

    If they get this priced below the Prius, more like the Ioniq, then I might be a customer.

  • avatar
    deanst

    So the Camry hybrid has 200+ hp and this has 121. I assume they will sell it at a steep discount in price?

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I think this last Corolla addition is a bit superfluous but I do agree with Walter Rohrl. This is for the people who think Prius is disturbing looking, myself included. That HP number has to be wrong though. How can it be 121 total HP? My regular Toyota Corolla is 138 and is painful. I can’t imagine 121..yes, yes, electric torque, I get it but still

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Looks like a mash of old Scion parts, the last TC’s headlamps and the iA’s mouth breather bumper. But, it is an improvement over the outgoing Corolla.

  • avatar

    GM – what a disgrace!

  • avatar

    Let’s be honest Toyota is the world best major carmaker and GM is the among the worse.

  • avatar
    TMD748

    Prius for the Prius haters.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Interesting. I’d take this Corolla’s front end styling over the ’18 Prius any day, but now that the ’19 Prius is out, I’d take that because it has slotty grill and slender squinty headlights, which I have always liked on any vehicle. The big mouth bass grille on the Corolla is a bit over the top.

    From what this article says, it sounds like they just put the current Prius drivetrain in the Corolla. So essentially this a Prius without being a red hot lightning rod for hatred and stereotyping. Not bad!

  • avatar
    vehic1

    Probably smart, to produce an economical car without the oddball Prius styling – unless there are truly all that many buyers who feel the need to strongly/loudly advertise their hybrid purchase. Honda’s been running those “Meh”- mobile ads for the Insight (obviously mocking the Prius look).


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