Toyota officials have repeatedly said the company is not giving up on passenger cars, and they’re putting their money where their mouth his with the 2023 Corolla Hybrid.
The automaker bestowed its popular hybrid compact with a substantial set of upgrades for the new model year, while cutting the starting price by $1,250. The new model receives electronic on-demand all-wheel drive and a more powerful hybrid system, the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 safety and advanced driver assistance package, and two new trim levels.
In all, the Corolla Hybrid will be available in five trim levels, ranging from the affordable LE, which gets that $1,250 price reduction for the new year. The Hybrid LE is also available as the LE AWD with an electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Then there are the sportier SE and SE AWD grades, which inherit the standard Corolla SE’s sport suspension and the firmer-feel electronic power steering. Finally, there’s the more upscale XLE trim, available only with the hybrid for the new year.
Corolla Hybrid gets AWD
The big addition for the year is more power from the hybrid driveline and electronic on-demand all-wheel drive. The Corolla maintains its 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder gas engine with two motor-generators passing power through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission.
Fresh tuning on the system yields 13 horsepower and 10 additional lb-ft of torque, up to 134 hp and 156 lb-ft. At the same time, the Corolla Hybrid’s EPA-estimated combined fuel economy is raised to 47 mpg. Toyota says the upgraded hybrid system improves acceleration and mid-range power.
As with other Toyota hybrid products, the Corolla Hybrid’s AWD system uses a rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed, such as when starting from a stop or any time the system detects front wheel slip. The upgrade makes the Corolla Hybrid a more appealing choice in any region with significant winter weather, and still achieves a combined fuel economy rating of 44 mpg.
Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 and upgraded tech
Notably, all Corolla Hybrid models will be equipped with the latest Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 ADAS system. The 3.0 system carries new features including Proactive Driving Assist with Obstacle Anticipation Assist and Deceleration Assist.
This is on top of the already impressive suite that includes adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure and lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, and road sign assistance. Although it’s not technically part of TSS, all Corolla Hybrid trims will also include blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts. All 2023 Corolla Hybrid models will also include Safety Connect and Service Connect up to 10-year trial subscriptions.
On the dashboard, all 2023 Corolla Hybrid models will come with an Over-the-Air (OTA) updatable, 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen. The screen is mounted high on the dash, near the driver’s line of sight. The new infotainment system includes standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. All models add two rear-seat USB-C ports for a total of four USB-C ports in the car.
With the available Connected Service subscription, Drive Connect, users have access to Intelligent Assistant, Cloud Navigation and Destination Assistance. The system responds to both touch and voice controls. As is becoming standard across the industry, the system is activated by saying, “Hey Toyota.” An available AT&T Wi-Fi Connect subscription offers 4G connectivity for up to five devices. HD Radio, USB data and SiriusXM are also supported.
On the Corolla Hybrid SE and XLE grades, buyers may upgrade to an 800-watt, 9-speaker JBL Premium Audio system. A 10-inch subwoofer in that system provides all the thump one could want.
Hybrid SE Infrared Edition
Every new model needs a special edition, and for 2023 Toyota is offering the SE Infrared Edition in both FWD and AWD versions. The Infrared Edition derives its name from the unique red trim accenting the exterior and interior, standing out against Ice Cap, Midnight Black Metallic or the all-new Underground exterior colors.
The Infrared Edition comes with the same 18-inch gloss graphite-colored alloy wheels that are standard with the SE for 2023. In the cabin, the Infrared Edition comes with a red-stitched shift handle and red-accented floor mats and door trim. The Corolla Hybrid SE Infrared package is expected to arrive at dealers later this year.