During its Nov. 28 conference at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota pulled the wraps off a hybrid version of its best-selling compact, the Corolla sedan.
The 2020 Corolla hybrid will be the first in the model's 53-year history, pairing the car's gasoline-fueled, 1.8-liter internal combustion powerplant with an electric motor to achieve fuel economy estimated to be greater than 50 miles per gallon. Toyota debuted the hybrid model in the sedan body style, though the Corolla is also manufactured with a hatchback body—Toyota confirmed to The Drive that hybrid power will only grace the sedan at first, and only on automatic transmission models.
Standard to the new Corolla—hybrid or otherwise—is Toyota's "Safety Sense 2.0," a family of safety assist features that earned multiple Toyota models spots on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) top safety pick list in 2017.
Toyota debuted the model alongside another first, the Prius AWD-e, which uses an electric motor on the rear axle to increase forward traction in slippery conditions and inflate city mpg to an estimated 52. Because the Corolla hybrid isn't denoted as such, it's safe to assume the Corolla hybrid's electric motor will solely power the front axle.
The Japanese automaker could reportedly take the Corolla's hybrid power in the opposite direction of efficiency by producing a hybridized hot hatchback Corolla GR, one producing power in excess of 250 horses. It remains to be seen if the 1.8-liter engine known to power the North American market's upcoming hybrid Corolla will be capable of even scratching that figure, even in the hands of its in-house performance group Gazoo Racing. A company spokesperson told The Drive that it doesn't see any market interest in a Corolla Hybrid GR at this time, though, so this fantasy may remain just that.
Toyota told The Drive to expect the 2019 Corolla Hybrid to arrive in dealerships in spring of 2019.