Toyota Considering All-Wheel-Drive Corolla With Electric Rear Axle

If developed, the all-wheel-drive Corolla will reportedly use tech similar to that of the Prius AWD-e and Lexus UX250h.

Daniel Byrne/Toyota

Toyota officials have revealed that a hybridized, all-wheel-drive Corolla is on the company's mind.

The model would use a system similar if not identical to that used on the Prius AWD-e, which features an additional electric motor to give the compact extra traction in all conditions, and at speeds of up to 43 mph. It was announced by Toyota alongside its first-ever hybrid Corolla, which will make its showroom debut in spring of 2019 as a sedan only (at first, at least).

"There's no doubt that it is [being considered]," said Toyota North America general manager Jack Hollis, in a conference transcribed by AutoGuide. "You've heard from Akio Toyota, our CEO, who has said his desire was to offer every one of our cars with a hybrid option. Or an electrification option is really what I should say. Because it can be different technologies."

"We're not ready to make a comment about AWD (Corolla), but the AWD systems that are interchangeable, and or growth in AWD, is something we know is something that the US consumer has asked for, it'd be silly not to deliver on that," Hollis continued.

Toyota confirmed to The Drive during the show that hybrid power will initially grace only the sedan body style, calling into question whether the hatchback Corolla will adopt hybridization at all. Previously, rumors suggested that an AWD Corolla hatchback with sporting pretenses is "inevitable," and Corolla lead engineer Yoshiki Konishi admitted that a hybridized Corolla hatch may yet happen, though he stopped short on confirming such a car would be AWD.

"In an agreement, we started with [hybrid] being on sedan, obviously from a volume standpoint, return on investment, it's better for us to go there," stated Yoshiki. "We've mentioned before our goal is to offer up hybrids on all vehicles. That has never changed. That doesn't necessarily mean a derivation of a product. So the hatchback could get there—the hatchback has so much interest we're actually losing [hybrid] to actually test other special editions that don't have hybrid in them."

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