2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Review: Toyota Canada Hates Me

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The all-new Toyota Corolla Hybrid is so damn good that you should avoid buying one…

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (all would agree) but occasionally, even I can make out greatness. Now, greatness can be defined in a few ways. For a car like the one in question, the all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, it signifies one that excels at everything it does, and/or was designed to execute.

If, for a moment, we step back from the 750-horsepower Porsche Taycan, the new Chevy Silverado HD’ 35,500 lb. towing capacity and the $40- to $70 million price tag for a Ferrari 250 GTO, cars were put on this Earth, by us humans, to get around. I submit that the best known-to-man example of this has always been the Toyota Corolla. Fact is that nearly all of you know as roughly 42 million have bought a new one in nearly 54 years of existence, and another 150-175 million (rough guestimate) of you have bought these cars 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th hand.


So many damn more Corollas on the way

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The Toyota Corolla is a rolling legend. It has, time and time again, proven its worth, its mettle, reliability and taken your daughter, husband, father, son, mother, and so on, where they needed to be and back. And yet, I really don’t like the Corolla.

For a good while, I would mercilessly post pictures of poorly parked Corollas, get my passenger to shoot the beige 8th generation Corolla driving in the middle of two lanes or down a one-way street, and, well, I think you get the idea. I loved singling out these Corollas with a #corollattack on Instagram. To be fair, the issue is, and always will be, the Corolla owner and driver.

And it’s about to get worse. Yes, Toyota has created THE Corolla that will haunt my every drive not because they’ve heavily discounted the car or installed a 2-cylinder 31-horsepower hyper-efficient powertrain that runs on fallen leaves. No, they’ve done far worse.


Real-world fuel economy that shames almost all

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid will render these already frugal and speed sensitive drivers to hyper-miles by the hundreds of thousands. Even I mildly got caught up in this nonsense despite driving in my usual aggressive way. After a week of mixed city and highway driving, the Corolla Hybrid returned a 4.4L/100km fuel consumption average. On paper, the car manages 4.4L/100km and 4.5L/100km (city, highway respectively) and so yes, I matched the combined rating of 4.4L. With little effort, I think it could be possible to drop this number to 4.0L/100km, hence why I’ll be putting snow tires on my 35-year old skateboard.

And while I would normally say that the Corolla Hybrid’s 1.8-litre 4-cylinder, continuously variable transmission, Hybrid Synergy Drive and total 121-horsepower system output are terrible, pathetic and stinky, I can’t. The Hybrid’s electric power delivers a generous dose of torque from a standstill and if you’re not careful, wheel-spin ensues. Ask me how I know…

The power is better than decent, I like the brakes, the CVT has a “B” mode for extra regenerative braking (which I love) and steering is light and just right. As well, the new Corolla, one of the latest Toyotas to be built on the brand’s Global Platform, rides perfectly well. Driving this freakin’ Toyota Corolla Hybrid isn’t terrible!


Priced to further litter the roads with Corollas

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

And how I know I’m completely screwed is from the price. I think Toyota Canada did this on purpose. The base Corolla Hybrid is $24,790 (WHAT?) and includes a 7-inch IP display, an 8-inch screen, heated front seats, smart key, Apple CarPlay and more. My tester included the Premium package that, for an extra $2,000, throws in a heated steering wheel and rear seats, a wireless charger, a power driver seat, softex faux-leather seats and more. WHAT THE WHAT? For $26,790 you get far more equipment than you do in a new $28,550 Toyota Prius!

What’s more, the Corolla is much prettier than the Prius – Maybe Toyota’s trying to kill the Prius… That’s right, it’s not that they hate me, it’s that they’re trying to annoy Prius owners. But seriously, other than the Prius’ trunk holding about 700 litres of stuff compared to the Corolla’s 371 litres, and the fact the AWD-e is an option on the hatchback, there are no conceivable reasons why anyone should get the original mass-produced hybrid. If Toyota decides to offer AWD-e on the Corolla, I’ll have to join them as I’ll never be able to beat them.


It’s a good buy

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Finally, the new 2020 Toyota Corolla happens to be very spacious and comfortable. With all of this, the Corolla decimates all other compact cars unless driving pleasure is at the top of your want list. In this case, go for the Mazda3.

And here’s another element: internal combustion engines will not disappear overnight. They’ll be around for a while yet even if fuel prices rise. A Corolla Hybrid is the medium-term solution. And a good one.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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