The 2020 Toyota Corolla is one of the best-selling compact cars in the U.S. Over the last 50+ years Toyota has sold more than 46 million Toyota Corollas and for the first time ever they are offering a 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid that gets an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined, 53 mpg city, and 52 mpg highway.

That means that the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is more efficient than one of the most efficient hybrids on the market,  the 2019 Toyota Prius which gets an EPA-estimated mileage of 52 mpg combined, 54 city, and 50 highway.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla is also packed to the gills with safety features across all trims and two models start under $20,000. Is a Toyota Corolla right for you? Read on to find out.

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History of the Toyota Corolla

Will the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid replace the Toyota Prius?

The short answer according to Ed Laukes, the Group Vice President of Toyota Marketing, is no, the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid will not replace the Toyota Prius even though it is currently slightly more fuel efficient than the popular hatchback.

“The Toyota Prius and the Toyota Corolla Hybrid don’t step on each other’s toes. The Prius represents where hybrids started and we don’t see the Corolla Hybrid cannibalizing that. People who buy Priuses want the space of a hatchback and the cache that comes along with owning the characteristic-looking hybrid,” he said at the press launch in Savannah, Georgia.

Toyota expects that just 10% of the people who purchase a 2020 Toyota Corolla will opt for the hybrid powertrain. The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid starts around $23,000 and Toyota execs see it as a “new path” for consumers to get into a hybrid car. The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is based on the all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla and while the hybrid has been available in other places for years, this is the first model year that the alternative powertrain will be available in the U.S.

What engine is in the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid uses the same powertrain as the 2019 Toyota Prius and gets an Atikinson-cycle 1.8-liter in-line 4-cylinder hybrid engine that is connected to a CVTi transmission. The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid makes 121 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. That’s slightly more than the 2019 Toyota Prius which makes 96 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque from the same engine.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid offers three modes of driving:

  • Normal
  • Eco
  • Power: This feature uses the battery to power the car up to 0.6 miles.

An active grille shutter helps warm the engine in cold climates and the battery pack has been placed under the rear seats so that passengers don’t lose any leg room due to the encroachment of the pack. All the space measurements inside the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid are the same as the gasoline powered versions.

What makes the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid different from the gasoline versions?

Outside of its improved efficiency, the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid gets a number of exterior and interior features that make it different from its gasoline counterparts. Exterior Features Include:

  • Hybrid badging
  • 15” machined-alloy wheels

Inside the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid gets:

  • The larger 8.0-inch touchscreen that offers Apple CarPlay, available Verizon 3G Wi-Fi, and voice recognition including Amazon Alexa.
  • A 7.0-inch customizable digital dash display that shows things like eco-indicator to show how efficiently you are driving, and battery charge
  • The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, lane-centering assistance, lane-departure warning with steering assist, road sign recognition technology, and automatic high-beams.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid goes on sale in April with the rest of the Corolla line-up and costs $22,950 plus delivery of $930.

The Corolla is available in four versions: Modern, Sport, Hatchback, Hybrid

What’s the 2020 Toyota Corolla like to drive?

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is efficient and easy to drive on the road. Thanks to the new TNGA platform that the Corolla rides on,  rigidity and improved suspension make it more agile when weaving through LA traffic. We got a chance to spend a few days tooling around Los Angeles in the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

While I didn’t get the same kind of mileage that Toyota and the EPA estimate for the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, I did see 47 to 49 miles per gallon. For context, I drove the Toyota Corolla Hybrid the same way I would drive any gasoline car in order to understand its real-world mileage.

I drove the 2020 Corolla Hybrid roughly 100 miles over the three-day period that I had it, and got to experience it in a variety of conditions. These included experiences in stop-and-go rush hour traffic, high speed highway cruising and local roads.

On the highway, the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is capable enough to merge into fast moving traffic from a standstill.  The steering is just as quick and agile as it is in the other models I drove on the first drive launch in Georgia, but the hybrid gets an additional driving mode. In B-mode or Braking, when coasting downhill, the engine brakes a bit more for the driver and  regenerative braking is boosted. In LA traffic, this can help increase your mileage.

I spent some time in both regular drive and B-mode to test the features and preferred the more free-rolling sense of the car in Drive. If you live in a hilly area or spend a lot of time going down steep grades driving the Toyota Corolla in B-Mode makes a lot of sense.

The adaptive cruise control system on the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid works well though there are a few small frustrations I had with it. The system uses

Like it’s fully-gasoline counterparts, the Corolla is also rather noisy inside the cabin thanks to the low-resistance tires and more minimal sound dampening in the cabin.

The Hybrid Corolla is outfitted with many of the top-level bells and whistles found in the top-of-the-line gas-powered Toyota Corolla and it makes for a really pleasant experience. The configurable digital dash and the 8.0-inch infotainment screen is easy to read in all kinds of light and it’s easy to use. The interior of the trim that I drove, had lovely quilted cloth seats that were comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. I spent more than six hours driving around Los Angeles and never once got out feeling stiff or uncomfortable.

When you first turn on the 2020 Toyota Corollla Hybrid it makes a whining sound. That is so that pedestrians around you know that the car is powered on. All hybrids or electric cars are required to make some kind of sound when powered on.

When you step on the gas however, the engine kicks in. While it’s not a raucous sound, it doesn’t have an annoying whine that most other hybrids can have. The engine isn’t necessarily quick and powerful, but it can move the car into swift moving traffic as long as you give it enough time and space.  On take off, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid feels more sluggish than it’s gasoline S-trim counterpart, but that is to be expected since the hybrid battery adds weight to the vehicle.

Since I am an Android user I did miss having Android Auto. The 2020 Toyota Corolla does not offer Android Auto at all., though it does offer Apple CarPlay. I was able to plug my phone into the available USB charger in the center armrest and connect to the infotainment system via Bluetooth to play music and hear navigation instructions, however.

Should you buy a 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

If you or your loved ones are in the market for a safe, reliable and affordable vehicle, the 2020 Toyota Corolla is a great choice.

Nancy Hubbell, Senior Manager of Toyota Communications noted that once people get into the Toyota family through the Corolla, 65% stay in it. The company is expecting more multi-cultural buyers to step into the compact sedan in the next few years and while other manufacturers are pulling out of the sedan market, Toyota is doubling down on it.

Overall the 2020 Toyota Corolla makes a marked improvement over the previous generation and the price is going to be tough to beat with the sheer number of high-end features that Toyota has packed into the compact car. It’s no wonder that the Toyota Corolla has been the world’s best-selling car and it’s likely to continue with the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

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2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Gets More Than 50 MPG
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2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Gets More Than 50 MPG
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See how the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid improves the world's best selling car with more features and better mileage than the Prius.
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Abigail Bassett is an Emmy-winning journalist, video content producer, and manager who has covered a wide range of world-impacting events including everything from the invasion of Iraq to Katrina and the financial and housing collapse. She has covered premiere automotive and lifestyle launches and unveilings all over the world over the last 15 years. Abigail has also extensively covered personal finance for a variety of outlets and start-ups including CNN Business, Money Magazine, and LendingTree. She spent more than ten years as a Senior Producer at CNN in New York and was most recently the Senior Director of Photo, Video and Social Media at Edmunds. She currently lives and works as a freelance writer and content manager in Los Angeles. Her clips have appeared in top-tier publications including Autoweek Magazine, Forbes, Arstechnica, Motor Trend, TheDrive, Fast Company and Fortune. She is also a U.S. juror for the World Car Awards.

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