Tested: 2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Corolla

Toyota Corolla has been one of the most successful compact sedans that does one thing well. It maybe isn’t engaging to drive, there is no wow factor, and there is nothing spectacular about it, but it delivers affordable and indestructible transportation for the masses. The 2024 Toyota Corolla aims to offer a wide range of models with a lot more efficient drivetrain options while still maintaining the golden formula, which is appealing to most people looking for a simple accessible compact sedan that does it all.

The Looks – Exterior & Interior

The latest Corolla generation debuted a few years ago with two different body layouts. Whether you are interested in the sedan or hatchback, or even the performance-oriented GR Corolla, it offers sharp looks with the right amount of sportiness and subtle design language. The Corolla Sedan comes with a longer wheelbase and a completely different rear-end design, making it the ideal choice for larger families than a much smaller hatchback.

Our tester was the XSE trim, which comes with sportier details like the larger wheels, a rear bumper diffuser, dual exhaust tips, a rear spoiler and blacked-out accents throughout the vehicle. Those changes are mainly visual with no difference when it comes to the drivetrain. Toyota started to offer the hybrid drivetrain with the current generation Corolla sedan a few years ago, but now the hybrid drivetrain is available in all trims.

Unlike the exterior, the interior design looks very similar regardless of the version you choose, it comes with a pretty basic interior design with the right amount of physical controls and simplicity you expect from a compact economy car. The interior quality may not be the best, especially after reviewing other compact sedans like the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3, but it still offers a nice diversity of different materials and soft-touch plastics on the dashboard, nothing feels overly cheap.

The Corolla isn’t the largest compact vehicle by today’s standards, so that means the interior space isn’t the largest as well. It still offers a decent amount of legroom and headroom for front-seat occupants even for taller adults. You also get the latest Toyota infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen that works very fast, and it is one of the simplest infotainment systems available. It also comes with a 7-inch digital gauge cluster that shows a lot of information, even though it is small by modern standards, it is easy to read and a good option for a budget-oriented vehicle.

Just as expected from a compact sedan, you don’t get a lot of creature comforts in the back. You can only find 2x USB-C outputs for the rear seat passengers, and that’s about it. The rear headroom is decent, but the legroom isn’t class-leading especially after the arrival of the new Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta, it just feels tighter in general.

However, the Sedan Corolla offers significantly more interior space for the rear passengers compared to the hatchback. Either way, it can easily accommodate a front-facing child seat, but if you have a rear-facing child seat, you need to move the front passenger seat forward to make it work. The Corolla Sedan offers a usable cargo space of 13.1 cubic feet (370 litres), which is not class-leading in any way. If you choose the hybrid drivetrain, there is no difference when it comes to the cargo space. The trunk has a wide opening, but it might not be the ideal choice especially since the hatchback version offers 18 cubic feet (510 litres) of cargo space with much more versatile cargo accommodation.

The Drive

Corolla isn’t meant to be the driver’s car, but it offers different drivetrain options for different needs. Of course, the gas-only engine is available with a continuously variable transmission, but if you are looking for maximum efficiency like almost 50% of Toyota buyers, the hybrid drivetrain is available in all trims, and that’s what makes Toyota different from the crowd. It not only offers great fuel economy numbers and lower operational costs, but it also comes with rear-mounted electric motors, making the Corolla an all-wheel-drive vehicle without having a drive shaft.

There is no doubt that Toyota is a powerhouse and the first choice when it comes to hybrid drivetrains. The hybrid system wants to make the most of the lithium-ion battery and wants to stay in EV mode as much as possible. However, it is hard to keep it in EV mode at higher speeds, mainly due to its underwhelming internal combustion engine performance, it switches to gas mode frequently once you get up to speed.

The Corolla Hybrid generates a combined 138 horsepower, the front electric motor can push 93 horsepower and the rear motor can only send an extra 40 horsepower on paper, but the total output is low by modern standards. It sends power through the eCVT system, which means the front electric motor is located inside the transmission case and acts like a transmission for smooth operation.

With the help of the eAWD system, it is very sure-footed despite having low ground clearance compared to a traditional SUV. Aside from the uninspiring powerband, the other compromise is the total range. Even though it offers excellent fuel economy numbers, the hybrid Corollas come with a smaller gas tank than the gas-only version, reducing the distance you can go without stopping.

The ride quality isn’t too bad and adequately isolates most road imperfections. Although it suffers a little bit because of the larger rims and sportier suspension tunes, other trims should offer more refined ride quality. The biggest negative impact is the buzzy 4-cylinder engine, especially during hard acceleration, but at lower RPMs, it offers relatively low noise, vibration and harshness levels.

The Verdict

There is a reason why the Toyota Corolla has been the best-selling vehicle of all time for more than 5 decades, and it still offers excellent value like when it was first released more than 50 years ago. Until the refreshed Honda Civic with a hybrid drivetrain arrives, the Toyota Corolla is still one of the very few options with a hybrid drivetrain, offering great fuel economy numbers with traditional Toyota reliability, which is appealing to most people looking for reliable transportation.

Engine1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 + 3 AC motors
Transmission & DrivetraineCVT & All-wheel drive
Max power (combined)138 hp @ 5200 rpm
Battery packLithium-ion
0-100 km/h9.0 sec
Curb Weight3296 lbs – 1495 kg
Fuel Economy (as tested)43.5 MPG – 5.4 L/100 km
Price (as tested)$37,742 CAD
Website:www.toyota.ca

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