Great bones. The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is built off of the same platform as the standard 2020 Corolla, which itself is a mass improvement over the previous model. It handles better, looks great, and has much more overall panache than the Corollas we've become used to, making it one of the more compelling options in the small car space.
The Corolla Hybrid is powered by the same 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine and electric motors from the Prius, alongside the Prius' continuously variable transmission and nickel metal-hydride battery pack. The combination of these two factors result in a great little hybrid that's certainly worth a look, especially if you can't stand the idea of owning the strange-looking and preachy Prius.
Less power, better fuel economy. The Corolla Hybrid's powertrain offers 18 less horsepower than the standard model, but the weight gain from all the electric gear is minimal. It's still pretty slow with a zero-to-60 mph time of almost 10 seconds, but it handles well.
Those power sacrifices do manifest in efficiency gains. The Corolla Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 52 miles per gallon combined, which is a 20 mpg improvement over the pure-gas model. This is also the same as the Prius, making the case for buying the original hybrid worse. It also has the ability to travel up to a half mile on electric power alone, but it doesn't include a plug-in feature like many other hybrids to increase that range.
Standard active safety equipment. Like all new Toyota models, the Corolla Hybrid comes Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 active safety suite. This includes a variety of features that are either unavailable or as expensive options in competitors' vehicles, such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning.
Limited options. While the standard Corolla can look quite nice in top trim levels, the Corolla Hybrid comes with just one trim: the LE. While you may get a lot of active safety equipment as standard, along with some tech like keyless entry, LED headlights, Apple Car Play, and a digital gauge cluster, your interior choices are limited to either black or grey fabric.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a great commuter car for those who don't need much. It's comfortable and very efficient, and it has a great style that doesn't stand out – for better or for worse.
The included active safety equipment is a huge bonus over many competitors, as it contains features that even some luxury brands don't offer as standard. That said, we'd like it if we could personalize the interior with a few more options or seating trims.
The Corolla Hybrid faces competition from a few directions, including its Prius stablemate which offers a rear hatch that happens to be perfect for showing off bumper stickers. The Honda Insight also offers a hybrid powertrain at a nearly identical price point, but with more trim options that include luxury options like dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats, and a premium audio system.
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