Toyota Corolla lineup adds hybrid model for 2020

2020 Toyota Corolla three quarter front

The 2020 Toyota Corolla, now in new Hybrid flavour.

Toyota can seemingly do no wrong lately with the Toyota Corolla. The 53-year-old model made a splash last year with the launch of the handsome 12th generation hatchback, followed by the sedan. The latest development? The arrival of a 2020 hybrid variant, the first of its kind in North America. 

Borrowing Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive hardware from the current Prius, combining a 1.8-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine with two electric motors/generators and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, the system produces a net 121 horsepower. Fuel economy is rated at an approximate 5.0 L/100 km in mixed city and highway operation.  

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid side

Rather than conventional lithium-ion, the battery pack is of a nickel-metal hydride variety created using new Hyper-Prime Nickel technology resulting in a smaller and lighter setup. This allows for installation under the rear seat instead of the trunk, opening up more storage space and allowing the backbench to fold 60/40 for further flexibility, as well as resulting in a lower centre of gravity for better handling. 

Driving the electrified Corolla offers an experience unlike others. The battery is designed to give a small boost when starting off that, aside from enhancing performance, has the added benefit of putting less strain on the engine, as well as eliminating the “rubber band” feel of some CVT-equipped vehicles.   

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid rear

In addition, a special preload differential is able to limit torque to the front wheels during acceleration at low speed and low load to improve stability. 

For short distances, for example while looking for a spot in a parking garage, a pure EV setting is available if there is sufficient charge. A Vehicle Proximity Notification feature alerts pedestrians to the Corolla’s silent presence. Other modes include Normal, for the best balance between fuel economy and power; Eco, limiting output in exchange for efficiency; and Sport, which prioritizes throttle response.  

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid badge

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is in stores now, starting at $24,790.  

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights