The Toyota Corolla has been around for decades, but lately it has been going through some serious changes. Most recently, it saw the adoption of the hatchback design in the Corolla iM and, now in its 12th generation, as the Corolla Hatchback. Now, in the U.S., the Corolla gets another fundamental update with a new powertrain. For the 2018 L.A. Auto Show, Toyota has launched the 2020 Corolla Hybrid.
The new Corolla Hybrid sedan will use the new generation of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive borrowed from the Prius. This will pair a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors and a continuously variable transmission. Electric energy will come from a nickel-metal hydride battery — unlike the standard Prius but like the new Prius AWD-e — which will reside beneath the rear seat. Toyota says this placement preserves cargo space and lowers the center of gravity. The Corolla Hybrid will also have an EV mode, which allows the car to move under electric power alone in certain situations, and if there’s enough charge in the battery.
In addition to all-electric mode, the Corolla Hybrid has a number of drive modes that provide different behaviors from the powertrain. Normal mode lets the car decide how to balance efficiency and acceleration based on input from the accelerator pedal. Eco mode dials back the punch from the accelerator under “light to moderate” input in order to increase efficiency. Sport mode increases available power and acceleration at the expense of fuel economy.
Unique to the Hybrid model is a set of 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires. A seven-inch display in the instrument cluster can show the status and charge of the hybrid system, or provide coaching to help drive more efficiently.
The 2020 Corolla Hybrid comes with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen as standard. Included in that is Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa capabilities, and voice recognition. Along with the rest of the 2020 Corolla lineup, the Hybrid comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steer assist, lane tracing assist pre-collision braking, auto high beams and road sign recognition.
EPA ratings for the 2020 Corolla Hybrid aren’t available yet, but Toyota expects the car to achieve at least 50 miles per gallon combined.