World Debut: 2020 Corolla Hybrid is Toyota’s New Stylish Prius Alternative

North American's finally get a sustainable Toyota sedan with style and 50+ MPG of combined fuel economy

Los Angles, California – If you like the idea of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive but the offbeat styling of the Prius just isn’t doing it for you, the 2020 Corolla Hybrid might fit the bill.

On that note, Toyota also unveiled their new 2019 Prius AWD-e previewed here.

Projected 50+ MPG combined fuel economy

Packaged to be nearly identical in appearance to the 2020 Corolla unveiled earlier this month, the hybrid brings fuel economy in excess of 50 miles per U.S. gallon, or less than 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres (final figures are pending). By way of comparison, the Prius that shares the powertrain is rated at 58 mpg, or 4.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

RelatedAre Hybrid Cars Worth It? The Pros & Cons of Sustainable Vehicle Ownership

The 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine and parallel hybrid electric powertrain achieves its efficiency without compromising interior space, Toyota said, crediting its Toyota New Global Architecture and the placement of the nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the rear seat.

The car can be run in pure EV mode for short distances, and alerts pedestrians in the vicinity when operating in battery mode, which is otherwise too quiet for pedestrians to hear. 

Corolla Hybrid’s recharging duties

As with other hybrids, the Corolla will recharge itself during braking and deceleration. Unlike some other hybrids, the braking feel should be improved, thanks to a combination of conventional hydraulics and electronically controlled braking for regeneration. The hydraulic system also takes over entirely if the electronic system fails.

Powertrain setup

The gas motor uses a long-stroke, Atkinson-cycle configuration, and a very high compression ratio (13.0:1), along with a shorter intake stroke and longer expansion stroke. The Atkinson cycle extracts more energy from the fuel, at the expense of low-end torque, which makes it an ideal pairing in a hybrid where the electric motors can fill in that lost torque.

2020 toyota corolla hybrid rear rolling white

Interior features of note

The Corolla Hybrid will also come with Toyota’s Entune 3.0 as standard. Entune is a multimedia system that, among other features, manages the use of internet audio streaming, Apple Car Play, service connect (to remind and schedule service appointments), as well as remote services (for unlocking, locking, starting and finding your car) and WiFi connections through a smartphone.

Perhaps a key facet for Corolla Hybrid is the use of a conventional dashboard. In other words, the speedo and other important indicators are directly in front of the driver. Prius continues to employ a centre-mount instrument panel, which is only one of the quirks some drivers detest about Prius.

Safety features including the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0

The Corolla Hybrid will also feature Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which upgrades features such as pre-collision mitigation by adding detection of pedestrians and bicycles in both normal- and low-light conditions.

It features full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, which also manages stop-and-go traffic by stopping and restarting as needed. Lane departure alert now gets steer assist to nudge drivers back into their lanes.

2020 toyota corolla hybrid front grill in white

Also read2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Review

Another upgrade is the addition of lane-trace assist, which centres the car in the lane, unlike some systems that seem to bounce off the lane markings. Road sign assist detects stop, speed limit, yield and do not enter signs and displays them on the dash to warn the driver.

The Toyota New Global Architecture also improves chassis stiffness to improve driving dynamics and handling.

2020 Corolla Hybrid Release Date

The 2020 Corolla Hybrid arrives at dealers in the Spring 2019. Pricing hasn’t been announced but we’ll have this once released. Stay tuned. 

Shopping for a hybrid or electric vehicle? Check out all our sustainable vehicle reviews here.

Kelly Taylor has been writing about cars since 2000. His favourite ride has been the Audi R8 from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg, where he nearly traded the car for a Ford Ranger, a Greyhound Bus and the Blue Heron Gift Store in Kenora, Ont.