2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Sedan
With over 46 million Corollas sold since the first one in 1966, it is no wonder Toyota has continually improved on its compact car. Last year, the new 2019 Corolla Hatchback arrived as a precursor to upcoming attractions. Now, we have the 2020 Corolla Sedan. And, we’ve been waiting quite some time for this.
Was it worth the wait?
Before we answer that question, we must point out that not only did we drive the 2020 Corolla Sedan. Our tester happened to be the first Hybrid model of Toyota’s popular compact car sold in the U.S.A. Sounds like a great combination to us!
Of course, we have to tell you that the Corolla and Prius what appears to be a similar Hybrid driveline with each other. It starts with a 121-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine connected to an electric motor. A continuously variable transmission connects the two motors to the front wheels. A battery pack draws energy to the electric motor, which gets regenerated upon braking or slowing down.
It appears that this driveline seems happier in the Corolla. The difference is that the Corolla weights 160 pounds lighter than the Prius. The result is a much more maneuverable car with a bit more punch from the accelerator. In turn, our Hybrid LE tester turned an average of…
Happier is not just confined to the Hybrid LE sedan. Like the hatchback, the Corolla sedan received a lot of the engineering updates compared to the last generation. Overall, ride quality is smoother with solid absorption of rougher parts of the road. As we mentioned before, the handling is also improved providing flatter cornering and sharper reflexes when they needed to be. The steering is better with a solid on-center feel and great road feel. The Corolla’s turning radius is very good.
We always a few concerns about brakes on hybrid vehicles. Because of the regeneration system back to the battery pack, there is usually a lag to make full stops. Somehow, Toyota may have shorted the lag, which results in a seamless and strong system with great pedal feel.
Our Hybrid LE tester had a handsome cloth interior that welcomes its occupants. The front seats are supportive with plenty of bolstering, while providing comfort for the driver. Manual adjustments for height, rake, and recline are precise and work for many bodies for the right position behind the wheel. Rear seat room is fine, though anyone over 6’2” may find headroom to be limited thanks to the slope of the roofline. Cargo space looks like it would carry more than just its 13.1 cubic feet as stated on the specification sheet. The rear seatbacks do fold down for longer cargo.
The instrument panel is handsome and very functional. On the Hybrid, the binnacle is dominated by a TFT screen that serves as a digital speedometer and information center. The tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges flank each side of the screen in a half-circle. Climate controls are simplified and reside below the big tablet-like infotainment screen. Also simplified is the center console with the electronic parking brake and related transmission controls around the shifter. Overall, the quality is improved over the last generation Corolla in terms of materials and controls.
The front end opens up with narrow headlamp units that bridge a narrow upper grille with the Toyota logo, a larger lower grille works to rush air into the engine compartment. The sedan and hatchback share the same shape and design all the way to the pillar, but the sedan completes the look with a more handsome roofline and glass area. The rear end is more three-dimensional with larger taillight units and a black strip bridging them above the license plate indent. In all the Corolla sedan is more handsome and edgier than any generation before this one.
The Corolla Hybrid LE starts with a base price of $22,950. Our tester came with a sticker price of… There is only one trim level available for the 2020 Corolla Hybrid. For non-hybrid models, base prices start at $19,500 with five trim levels to choose from, along with two Corolla Hatchback models.
The Corolla Hybrid LE is not a unique proposition among compact sedans. Honda offers the Insight sedan in a few trim levels compared to Toyota’s one. Other models that match up with the new Corolla Hybrid are the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and Toyota’s own Prius.
Speaking of the Prius, Toyota found that some customers would prefer the Corolla Hybrid over the pioneer of gas-electric drivelines. In some respects, we agree. This is one hybrid to consider if you only needed a sedan rather than a hatchback.
Story Credits: Car Soup Editors