It’s been around for a few years but has perhaps flown under the radar with all the attention focused on electric vehicles or even plug-in hybrids.
However, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a very solid offering from an automaker that has an excellent track record in this particular technology, and one that is available at a very attractive price point.
Our tester was the 2022 Corolla Hybrid Premium Package, which packs a whole lot of goodies into a fairly affordable sticker price of less than $30,000.
It comes with things like heated leather steering wheel, power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front and rear seats, Softex seat coverings, wireless charging, 8-inch touch screen display, smart key with push button start, Toyota Blind Spot Monitor system with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and more.
Also new for this model year, all Corollas have an added safety feature that turns the rear lights on when the vehicle is moving.
Powertrain: The Corolla hybrid, or any Corolla for that matter, is not built for speed.
In the case of our tester, it is designed with efficiency in mind, and it does just that thanks to the 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine mated with the automaker’s excellent hybrid synergy drive.
Toyota says the powertrain delivers a fuel efficiency of 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres, lowest in Canada for a compact car. While I missed that mark by averaging 5.2 L/100 km, I was still very impressed by the setup.
The engine/hybrid drive is paired with an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT).
Exterior: Once the punchline of many jokes, the Corolla may indeed have the last laugh.
The design of the compact sedan has greatly improved over the years and this generation is probably its most stylish.
Up front, your eyes are drawn to the J-shaped LED headlights that lead right to the angular fascia with a large lower grille.
Our tester was in a pretty tame Celestite paint scheme, while my personal choice would have been the Ruby Flare Pearl paint that is new for 2022.
At the back is really the only way to tell this Corolla apart from its ICE cousins with the Hybrid badge on the trunk lid.
Now, about that trunk lid, for some reason I found it and the passenger doors needed a bit more muscle than I was expecting to get them to close. A small thing to be sure, but I had to circle back to ensure the doors were properly closed on more than one occasion.
Interior: The inside of the Corolla is a no-nonsense cabin with a good amount of room given the size of the vehicle.
While awash in black, the contrast stitching on the seats and some nicely placed trim pieces break things up just enough.
The gauges are on either side of a display screen that can show you things such as your drive mode, fuel efficiency and more.
The centre stack features the display screen protruding from the dash, with a good mix of buttons and dials that are clean and easy to operate.
The switches for the heated seats are old-fashioned toggles that are ahead of the shifter and under the dash protrusion. A little hard to notice unless you know they are there.
Infotainment: The 8-inch touchscreen that houses the infotainment system offers a good visual interface, and the function that allows you to see where the energy for the vehicle is coming from (battery or engine) proved to be a crowd pleaser with my 8-year-old.
The audio system has six speakers and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
As in previous experiences with the Toyota setup, it’s a very straightforward and functional system that proved easy to use.
About the only complaint I had was that when connecting to phone calls on Bluetooth, the caller on the other end of the line sounded very faint despite the volume being cranked to the max.
Drive: The Corolla Hybrid certainly is not what you would call an exciting or dynamic drive. But that is not what it was designed to be.
It was conceived to be a competent and efficient vehicle, and it delivers on those aspects in spades, even if I missed the fuel economy mark a little bit. But it is also just responsive enough to not be too dull out on the road.
And the suspension does a good job delivering a smooth enough ride with minimal body roll, ensuring the comfort of everyone on board.
Conclusion: A few things really impressed me about the Corolla Hybrid. For starters, the price point. A well-equipped vehicle that is also a hybrid for under $30,000 (before taxes) is a pretty good deal, in my view.
Combine that with Toyota’s reputation for building reliable, long-lasting cars, and this model becomes even more attractive for those in the market for a midsize sedan that will be easy to drive around town, and easy on the wallet when buying it and for visits to the gas station.
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Price as tested: $29,080.70
Configuration: Front engine/Front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.8-litre 4-cylinder with hybrid synergy drive/ Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
Power/torque: 121 horsepower/ 105 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (42 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 4.5 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 5.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Insight, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Niro
Links: Toyota Canada