Contemplating the Prius’ success, I can not actually blame Toyota for not stepping by itself toes and bringing the Corolla Hybrid to the US sooner. However because the Prius has turn into extra polarizing (learn: uglier) than ever, the Corolla Hybrid is a compelling different to Toyota’s bread-and-butter fuel-sipper.

With its glorious financial system and discount pricing, the 2020 Corolla Hybrid has confirmed to be nicely well worth the wait.

50+ mpg with out attempting exhausting

The usual Corolla can move 40 miles per gallon on the freeway with out an excessive amount of effort, however the Corolla Hybrid appears at that determine and says, “Maintain my gasoline.” Over my week with the hybrid variant, I noticed a mixed gas financial system of 53 mpg. Whereas I do not suppose I would be capable of prime the EPA-estimated 56 mpg mixed from the Toyota Prius Eco, I really feel assured that these contemplating a Corolla Hybrid over the homely hatchback will not really feel like they’re lacking out on an excessive amount of thrift.

This fuel-sipping comes regardless of my regular fat-foot nature; it isn’t exhausting to squeeze this financial system out of the Corolla Hybrid. Whereas the automotive nearly all the time begins from a cease underneath the ability of its electrical motor alone, it is exhausting to maintain it working on electrons with out accelerating so slowly that visitors behind me begins to get impatient. I discover it is best to lean a bit of more durable on the accelerator when getting up to the mark, utilizing only a bit extra of the 121 web horsepower that comes from the 1.Eight-liter I4 and electrical motor. The constantly variable transmission emits some drone, certain, but it surely’s programmed for effectivity, and issues like simulated gear modifications solely cut back its efficacy.

With the addition of an electrical motor, this little inline-Four can produce some severe gas financial system.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Once I’m up to the mark, I roll again on the throttle, attempting to maintain changes as minute and delicate as attainable. That is when the electrical motor will normally take again over and let the gasoline engine both flip off or method a extra environment friendly a part of the rev vary. The nickel-metal hydride battery is small, so I’ll solely get a number of miles of EV operation, however I attempt to profit from it. In the correct scenario (normally downhill), the gasoline engine can shut off at freeway speeds, serving to to remove the mpg gulf that normally comes with driving a hybrid on the interstate.

I am amazed with the smoothness of all of it, too. The gasoline engine cuts out and in with nary a peep or shudder. The one means I can actually inform the automotive’s altering working modes is once I see the instrument cluster’s gas financial system meter taking a dive. I can earn a bit of extra thrift by altering the driving mode to Eco, however I choose to maintain it in Regular mode for once I must zip away from a slow-moving automotive. There is a Sport mode baked in, too, however let’s not idiot ourselves.

The remainder of the experience is simply as nice. Since it is a mass-market hybrid household sedan and never the most recent corner-carving sports activities automotive, all it is advisable to know is that the Corolla Hybrid has a steering wheel that can flip the automobile upon request. The experience is surprisingly easy, because of the chunky Yokohama Avid GT tires (195/65R15) absorbing a lot of the tough stuff. The tires additionally contribute little or no street noise, and the physique’s slippery form retains wind racket on the decrease aspect, too. That is good as a result of the gasoline engine typically falls silent, which may enable different sounds to dominate if they are not saved in verify.

Essentially the most good-looking Corolla but

Nearly a full yr after I first noticed it, the Corolla’s new face continues to develop on me. I feel Toyota did a fantastic job discovering a method to engineer a entrance fascia that did not scrimp on both appears or aerodynamic effectivity. The brand new nostril offers the automotive extra character than it is had in years. I can not essentially say the identical for the rear, which is about as nameless as each different Corolla, but it surely’s nonetheless high-quality. My tester appears identical to every other Corolla, however with some slight changes to the bumper and large ol’ “Hybrid” badges on the perimeters and rear.

The story is identical inside, the place issues are just about equivalent to the gas-powered Corolla, eschewing any need so as to add a contact of green-cred quirkiness. The one actual distinction lies forward of the CVT’s gear lever, the place two new buttons seem for automobile mode switching, considered one of which is devoted to EV-only operation (albeit for only a couple miles at a time). The remainder of the primary row is nameless as may be, with some mild sculpting on the principally plastic dashboard and that is it. It is a Corolla. Avoiding b.s. is the secret.

See how the cellphone wire dangles awkwardly when a cellphone is working Apple CarPlay? It is form of annoying.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Corolla Hybrid’s cupholders are a bit of small for my style and unable to carry my iPhone Eight Plus ($750 at Greatest Purchase), however there’s an additional cubby forward of the shifter that works simply high-quality, particularly because the major USB port is immediately subsequent to it. The armrest cubby is deep sufficient for tchotchkes however not massive sufficient for a handbag, and the door-card storage will fortunately settle for a bottle of water and as many receipts as you’ll be able to muster into existence. The hybrid battery would not eat into trunk house, which is sweet, as a result of at 13.1 cubic ft, the boot is already much less capacious than the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta.

The battery truly lives underneath the rear seat, but it surely’s a small man, which suggests there isn’t any impact on rear seat house. The Corolla’s second row is lots spacious, with ample headroom and legroom for tall passengers sitting behind equally tall drivers. Regardless that the automotive lacks a sunroof, the entire cabin stays good and vivid by advantage of its plentiful glass, which confers good visibility on all sides of the automotive.

Good tech with some questionable omissions

The Corolla Hybrid solely is available in a single trim, LE, and it provides no choices, so what you see is what you get. From a tech perspective, that is each good and dangerous. The de facto infotainment system packs an Eight-inch touchscreen, and whereas the decision is on the low aspect, the boot-up time is enough, and the responsiveness is about common. Apple CarPlay is included, however Android Auto is just not, regardless of different 2020-model-year Toyotas selecting it up.

Nevertheless, with a view to use CarPlay, I’ve to plug my cellphone into the USB port mounted underneath the dashboard, resulting in awkward dangling cords hitting the passenger’s legs. There is a second USB port underneath the middle armrest, which costs at an honest 2.1 amps, but it surely would not work with CarPlay. There are additionally no USB ports for rear-seat occupants, which is one other technological letdown.

Different 2020-model-year Toyotas will get Android Auto, however not the Corolla Hybrid. Possibly subsequent yr… or the yr after.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Embedded navigation is one more notable omission, however then once more, that is what smartphone mirroring is for, and Toyota additionally provides a cellphone app with its personal turn-by-turn system. Talking of options that ought to be within the Corolla Hybrid however aren’t, there isn’t any method to get heated seats on this factor. Contemplating Corollas are purchased in every single place, together with chilly climates, that looks like the silliest factor to nix, even when it is for effectivity’s sake.

Toyota additionally changed a big chunk of the gauge cluster with a 7-inch show. Beneath the big arched speedometer is an space that may show a number of various things, whether or not it is the standing of security programs or present and common gas financial system. It is low-tech so far as screen-based clusters go, but it surely’s clear and vivid and simple to learn with out distraction.

Security is the title of Toyota’s tech sport, so it is no shock to see the Toyota Security Sense driver-aid suite customary. It is surprisingly stout at this worth level, providing full-speed adaptive cruise management, lane-departure warning, lane-keep help, automated emergency braking, automated excessive beams and road-sign recognition. The signal recognition works shortly, displaying the related information within the gauge cluster show. The lane-keep help provides a light-weight contact, by no means leaving me feeling like I am not in management. And, bless its coronary heart, the lane-departure warning solely provides a single beep for every brush of dotted white traces, which I like.

All the way down to brass tacks

Regardless that the Corolla is obtainable in each conventional and hybrid flavors, the Corolla Hybrid’s setup pits it in opposition to devoted hybrid fashions just like the Honda Perception, Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro. All of them are glorious automobiles, however the Perception has a buzzy gasoline engine, whereas the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro each possess barely extra polarizing appears than the ‘Rolla.

It doesn’t matter what it is in contrast in opposition to, although, the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid shines. It is environment friendly as all get-out, it packs an honest quantity of expertise and its experience is sweet and sedate. With a base worth of $22,950 and an as-tested worth of $24,467 together with vacation spot, it is about $10,000 lower than the typical new-car transaction worth in 2019, making it really feel like a severe discount on the identical time.

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