Toyota’s Hybrid Lineup Expands Exponentially
Welcome to the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient Corolla ever. After 53 years of being gasoline-only, Toyota’s best-selling compact now gets a hybrid power plant with projected fuel economy of 50+ mpg. With the success of the Prius and Camry Hybrid, it is a pretty safe bet that Toyota has high expectations for the Corolla Hybrid.
The Corolla’s Toyota Hybrid Synergy drive technology, shared with the latest generation Prius, consists of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two motor/generators producing a combined 121 horsepower. The front-wheel drive Corolla also has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with four driver-selectable drive modes: EV, Normal, Eco and Sport. If our experience with previous Toyota and Lexus hybrids is any indication, the 2020 Corolla Hybrid will perform with spirited acceleration (especially in the Sport mode) and high fuel efficiency when in the EV, Eco and Normal modes. The EV mode is for driving around at slow speeds in electric drive. The range is short, but makes for a great way to not use any gasoline when in parking lots, crowded streets, and even in stop-and-go highway traffic jams.
The nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery is smaller and flatter than previous battery designs, so it fits nicely under the seats. This placement increases interior space for passengers and cargo, and drops the center of gravity, thus aiding handling. The Ni-MH battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the engine (no plugs). The energy recovery system takes wasted friction and heat from braking or coasting, converting its kinetic energy into stored electrical energy in the battery. The process of using and restoring electricity to the battery can be watched in real time on dash gauges.
Tech, Safety Equipment Increases
The standard Entune infotainment (information and entertainment) system comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system, along with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. There also will be Siri Eyes Free and Bluetooth connectivity, with voice recognition, for hands-free telephone. A long list of advanced driver systems includes pre-collision and lane departure warning and full-speed dynamic radar rise control.
The non-hybrid Corolla comes in both a sedan and hatchback. Initially the 2020 Corolla Hybrid will be in sedan form, arriving at dealers in Q2 2019. Look for a full Road Test review on Clean Fleet Report in the coming months.
Photos by Lex Adams
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