It’s a big day for the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. Not only will the company now offer all-wheel drive on the model, there are now also five trim levels and a lower starting price. Oh, and it’s got even more power than before. None of that is to mention a general refresh the car is undergoing for the 2023 model year on the inside and outside.
It’s a big day for Toyota’s smallest vehicle. Let’s break it all down.
In a world of ever-increasing vehicle prices, I come with good news. The 2023 Corolla Hybrid will start at $1,250 less than the previous model year. Oh, happy days. In 2022, the starting price was $24,050 (without destination). For 2023, the starting price is now $22,800.
Part of that price reduction is because of a handful of new trim levels. Before there was just one trim level: LE. Now, there are going to be five. We’ve got the LE, LE AWD, the sporty-ish SE and SE AWD and at the top of the heap is the more premium XLE. According to Toyota’s website, the XLE starts at $26,600, and the SE models start at $25,200.
Toyota has done some tunage to the Corolla’s 1.8-liter hybrid powertrain by adding some more powerful electric motors. The revamped package makes an additional 13 horsepower and 10 lb-ft of torque. That’ll bring power numbers to a healthy (for the car’s size) 134 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque.
Battery technology also changes for the 2023 model year. Gone is the old nickel-metal hydride pack. In its place is a new lithium-ion unit. Altogether, the new package delivers 50 mpg in the city and 43 on the highway. That’s good for combined EPA-estimated 47 mpg in daily use. That’s actually down a bit from the 2022 Corolla Hybrid’s combined EPA-estimated 52 mpg.
The sporty-ish SE model is getting its own designated edition to, according to Toyota, commemorate it joining the “enlarged Corolla Hybrid family.” It’ll be available in both FWD and AWD trims, and will come with some red exterior and interior trim accents. Those splashes of red should play off well against the three colors available (Ice Cap, Midnight Black Metallic or Underground) I assume these are white, black and gray, respectively. Buyers will also get 18-inch glossy, graphite-colored wheels.
There is a slight miles per gallon penalty when you spring for the all-wheel drive system. Average mpg estimates drop to 44. That’s still not too shabby for an AWD vehicle.
Toyota says that in following with its other AWD hybrids, the Corolla Hybrid uses a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when the system detects slippage from the front wheels. The company also says the system will improve cornering agility by reducing understeer. Sadly, there’s no word on a drift mode just yet.
Inside the 2023 Corolla, you can now get an 8-inch touchscreen that will include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are also a handful of new colors to choose from on the inside and outside, as well as new wheel designs.
There’s also a new “Hey Toyota” feature that is sure to work every single time and won’t be annoying at all.
In terms of safety, buyers will get Toyota’s latest Safety Sense 3.0. It comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection. There’s also adaptive cruise control with lane-centering, automatic high-beam headlights, and rear-seat reminders so you don’t leave your kids… or anything else back there.
All in all, it’s a pretty nice little suite of goodies you get here.