By on February 18, 2019

It’s Mileage Monday, apparently. In unveiling the upcoming Corolla Hybrid late last year, Toyota predicted the normal-looking alternative to its long-running Prius would deliver a combined rating of 50 mpg, once the EPA got around to testing it.

Not the hardest bar to clear, given that the 2020 Corolla Hybrid uses the same 121-horsepower hybrid powertrain as its stigma-soaked hatch sibling. Toyota stuck the jump with room to spare. There’s also good MPG news for those who hate hybrids but loath the current generation’s tepid four-banger.

Late last week, fuel economy figures poured forth from the Environmental Protection Agency. It turns out the sedate green sedan will indeed top that magic marker, with the 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder/dual electric motor/CVT trio conspiring to earn the car a combined rating of 52 mpg. City fuel consumption comes in at 53 mpg; highway, 52 mpg.

This is the same combined economy as the stock Prius, though the mileage king Prius Eco tops both by 4 mpg on the combined cycle. Just for comparison, the all-wheel drive Prius (Prius AWD-e) — a new addition for 2019 — earns a 50 mpg combined rating.

No longer do image-conscious Toyota diehards have to sit on the fence, mulling the social repercussions of buying a green commuter from their preferred brand.

As the EPA dispensed info on the entire 2020 Corolla line, there’s more MPG news to share. The next-gen sedan, which borrows the TNGA architecture already in use by the 2019 Corolla hatch, returns 33 mpg combined in base 1.8-liter form, regardless of transmission choice (there’s still a six-speed manual in the lineup, plus the vastly more common CVT). The XSE version of this variant sees a combined figure of 32 mpg.

New to the sedan for 2020 is an engine that won’t leave owners nodding off at the stoplight. In this application, Toyota’s 2.0-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder returns 34 mpg combined when equipped with the new CVT and 40 mpg on the highway. The tranny incorporates a physical launch gear and 10 ratios available via flappy paddles. Opt for the six-speed stick and combined economy falls to a perfectly acceptable 32 mpg.

Interestingly, a 2.0-liter XSE model outfitted with the CVT returns 34 mpg combined, compared to the 1.8-liter XSE’s 32 mpg. The choice here is clear.

[Images: Toyota]

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23 Comments on “Goal Unlocked: Toyota’s non-Prius Delivers the MPGs...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    Wait, six speed stick whaaaat??! :) Will the deeluhrs actually order those?

  • avatar
    jatz

    “stigma-soaked hatch sibling”

    The Prius or the Corolla hatch? Writing is for telling stuff to people who don’t already know it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Now that the Corolla has a hybrid option, I expect Prius sales to accelerate their decline. At least the Corolla isn’t hideous-looking.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Slap some old school silver steel wheels on that white Corolla and I’d be ready to rock it.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I really like the looks of the hatch, and its performance is spritely. But its backseat is really tight. If the suspension tune on the sedan is similar, I’d rock a 6mt sedan .

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The interesting question is how the Toyota Corolla Hybrid compares to the new Honda Insight, which would be its nearest competitor. The Insight is a smart and yet forgotten product; I suspect Toyota will put more marketing dollars behind its compact hybrid sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Yes, I agree. Too bad the long term test Insight has given Car and Driver only 37mpg overall so far.

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a26287347/2019-honda-insight-reliability-maintenance/

      They also say the engine is annoying to listen to.

      Say what you will, Toyota seems to have the fuel economy side of hybrids solidly worked out. And for a long time at that, at least a decade. The rest don’t seem that close, with Honda constantly trying and not quite making it.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        C&D says the Honda is infinitely better driving than the Prius and much faster. They got 43 mpg in last years and indicate the lower mpg is due to Blizzaks. I know personally that Blizzaks exact a much higher mpg toll than Michelin ICE tires, See what happens when the proper tires are returned in the Spring.

        The Corolla has a hideous front.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          “The Corolla has a hideous front.”

          How I wish mfrs would learn from The Colonel and give us a choice between Regular and Extra Ugly.

          The scary-face trend has always been so funny: the entire rest of the vehicle is just another iteration of popcan econobox but with an increasingly alien front clip attached.

          Reminds me of the frilled-neck lizard. Boo!

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            IMHO the cleaned up ’19 Prius front end is far better looking than this Corolla. The side and rear, not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          In this test, the Michelin X-Ice had 0.9% higher fuel consumption due to rolling resistance than the reference Nokian Hakka studless tire. The Blizzak was 2.0% higher. I doubt the effect would be noticeable outside of a controlled test.

          http://www.skstuds.ca/2016/10/14/the-english-speakers-guide-to-the-2016-naf-winter-tire-test/

          Winter driving reduces fuel economy plenty by itself.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “Winter driving reduces fuel economy plenty by itself.”

            And getting from A to B undamaged through greasy, slidey-ass snow, often atop ice, renders niggling FE concerns niggling.

      • 0 avatar
        ahintofpepperjack

        The corolla Hybrid is rated at 52MPG. Blizzaks may be reducing the gas mileage by a few MPG, but not by 15. Toyota Hybrids just get better MPG than Honda vehicles.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Boy those are high numbers, particularly the highway. Does the hybrid/battery portion of the vehicle even do much at highway cruising speed?

    I wonder how the Mazda Skyactiv-X is going to compare to this. I have to say this looks awfully good.

    I did check out a new Corolla Hatch at the local auto show this past weekend. It does feel very tight for whatever reason, and with the odd dash layout I remember from the last Prius I sat in. My 2006 Corolla seems roomier somehow.

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      Yes, even at highway speeds the hybrid portion of the vehicle is working. You can read about the operation of it here.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Synergy_Drive

      The transmission doesn’t have clutches like a traditional automatic, it uses electric motors combined with the ICE and a planetary gear set to function.

  • avatar
    warrant242

    I confess I don’t really understand what the Prius is for anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Awesome hatchback utility is undeniable, but when they make them as ugly as the current generation, no thanks! Turning this short-rumped Corolla into a liftback with the same form-factor would make it that much more appealing to me.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      The Corolla hybrid will certainly cannibalize Prius sales. People generally like conservatively styled cars.

      We own a current-gen Prius.

      I bought it for several reasons. My wife is the primary operator. She has a long commute and puts a ton of miles on a car between work and occasional trips to her folks’ farm in the middle of nowhere. I consider it a bargain for what we paid, low twenties brand new at near zero interest.

      Close to 60 mpg real world. Hatchback versatility. Toyota has the hybrid drive train nailed by this point, being close to stone reliable. Most of the latest active safety gewgaws, if you want to enable them.

      The odd styling was actually a tiny plus for me. A bit refreshing to see something stylistically risky on the road or in the driveway. Cars seem to be so bland and samesville these days. You can hardly tell whether that compact SUV you just passed is a Hyundai or a Chevy. Thankfully, my wife is also one of those people that couldn’t care less whether our neighbors or the fellow shoppers at Target think our car is attractive.

      By the way, I picked up a set of dedicated snow tires on steel wheels for the P last fall. If you think the car looks bad stock, you should see it with black steelies and winter rubber mounted. Ha! But the thing is a total tank in the snow and ice now. Mildly entertaining to see people with crossovers struggling this winter, eyes bulging, white knuckling the steering wheel, while the Prius soldiers right through.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The mileage potential of the Prius is amazing. The worst I have ever done is 59 MPG. Best is 73 in my traffic-choked commute. This on a 2014 model that indicates a lifetime average of 63. This is a shared car that is provided by my employer. Still, the styling is terrible and the dynamics, while greatly improved over the previous generation, still has a way to go.

        I would not be surprised if the Prius as a model goes away but the hybrid tech remains.

        I don’t get the “bad” image thing. I see a lifted truck and the image in my mind is a lot worse that of a Prius driver. I guess the truck driver would feel the same thing, only in reverse.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Speaking of the Prius, I finally figured out what the rear of the car reminded me of. I finally figured it out. The Silver Hornet:

    youtu.be/0z-FtAMg6Vw

  • avatar
    spintack

    It’s pretty obvious that Toyota will transition the Prius nameplate – which is worth a ton to non-enthusiasts – to their EV platform, whenever that comes online.

    I suspect the next Prius will be EV only.

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