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2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Performance Review


Performance: 8.1

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid feels peppy around town, though it struggles to accelerate with any urgency. Some rivals are sportier, but overall, the Corolla Hybrid’s ride is comfortable and composed. Fuel economy ratings for the hybrid Corolla are outstanding.

  • "Driving the Corolla Hybrid is simple and relaxing, with silent and smooth acceleration thanks to the electric motor. When the gas engine kicks in, it does so without much noise or vibration, so although it is discernible, it is not unduly noticeable. Acceleration around town is more than adequate, the Hybrid benefiting from the instant low-end punch that is a key virtue of all electric motors." -- CNET
  • "Overall, this is by far the best-driving Corolla in recent memory. On the roads around Savannah, Georgia, the new sedan exhibited substantially more life than its predecessor in almost every measure. It also differs from the new hatch, being longer and engineered for a more comfortable ride. The extra length and wider track combine to contribute to a sense of stability that first-time drivers can appreciate." -- Motor Trend
  • The Corolla Hybrid is impressively quiet, with a little tire noise and a faint engine rumble under acceleration. But most of the time it was hard to tell whether the engine was running without looking at the display." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

Powering the Corolla Hybrid is a 1.8-liter four cylinder engine and two electric motors that put out 121 horsepower combined. An electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) comes standard. This is the same setup found in the Toyota Prius.

This car zips around town with little difficulty, especially when in the Power drive mode. You’ll also have an Eco drive mode for increase fuel efficiency, as well as an EV drive mode for low-speed electric-only driving. Acceleration is more leisurely at highway speeds. According to the EPA, the Corolla Hybrid gets 53 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway, which is impressive fuel economy for the class.

  • Although it has less rated horsepower [than the nonhybrid], the Hybrid felt a little more spritely in a full-throttle launch, and at least as good when accelerating from speed. Thank the electric motors here, as they mostly add power down low, whereas horsepower is measured 'up high.' The shifter includes a 'B' setting that provides more regenerative braking when you lift off the throttle, ... which we find very useful in city driving." -- Consumer Guide
  • Around town, the hybrid Corolla wasn't noticeably different from the standard versions. Those purring electric motors help get it moving from a stop, so if anything, it has a bit more zip off the line than the base 139-horsepower 1.8-liter engine and CVT combo. But once on the highway, you'll be composing poems of longing and loss to the 169-hp 2.0-liter from the SE and XSE trims. …" -- Edmunds
  • With all engines, power is adequate but not inspiring, and the engines get a bit thrashy under load." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The Corolla Hybrid has a comfortable ride, but a number of competing compact cars are sportier. Unlike some hybrids, the transitions between gas and electric power are generally smooth, and the brakes feel natural, like those of a traditional car. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is not available in the Corolla Hybrid.

  • "To Toyota's credit, the hybrid drives very much like the regular sedan. Engineers did a good job of keeping the hybrid brakes from grabbing, and the transition from electric power to gasoline engine is seamless and undetectable." -- Motor Trend
  • "Unlike some older hybrid cars, the Corolla doesn't have any other weird habits than make it stand out. Its steering and brake pedal feel basically the same as other versions of the 2020 Corolla, and while my short drive didn't entail any dynamic cornering, the ride over mottled city streets is quite calm." -- CNET
  • "The ride is even well-controlled without feeling floppy or stiff." -- Jalopnik
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2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

MSRP: $23,100

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