2016 Toyota Corolla hybrid to launch here mid-year
Hybrids used to be unusual, but with the 2016 Toyota Corolla Hybrid launching here mid-year the technology is now mainstream.
TOYOTA WILL OFFER a Corolla with a petrol-electric hybrid drive around mid-2016, and claim it will use “around one third less fuel” on the ADR81/02 cycle, which we presume is the city cycle with a lot of stop/start and low-speed running.
The Corolla hybrid will bring Toyota’s total hybrid range to five; the small Prius c hatch, the Prius, the larger Prius v seven-seater, and hybrid Camry. None are diesel-electric, and no Australian models are plug-in, unlike some overseas equivalents. The Prius c review includes an explanation of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy drive.
Power for the Corolla comes from a 73kW 1.8L petrol engine with a 60kW electric engine, and as per current other Toyota hybrids the transmission is an eCVT, which is similar in concept to CVT but uses gears not a belt and pulley. The two engines can combine for a 100kW power output.
Toyota claim the Corolla can be switched to an EV (electric vehicle) mode only and driven for up to two kilometres. They make a similar claim for the Prius c, which we found to be true only if the two kilometers includes a downhill.
So if you want a smallish Toyota, you now have three options; Corolla, Corolla Hybrid and of course the middle-sized Prius. Here’s a brief snaspshot of how they compare:
|Engine||Petrol||1.8L 4cyl petrol||1.8L 4cyl petrol||1.8L 4cyl petrol|
|Fuel consumption (city cycle, L/100km)||3.9||5.8 *||8.9|
* Calculated based on Toyota’s claim it uses a third less fuel than a normal Corolla.
Toyota says the Corolla hybrid will be a single trim grade and “well specified”, which means it is not going to be the cheapest Corolla you can buy. This is as distinct from hybrid Camry which is offered in a range of trims.
Pricing hasn’t been released, but we can speculate. The Prius c is considerably more expensive than the comparably sized Yaris, but the hybrid Camry is only about $3000 more than the standard Camry (dependent on trim level). We think it likely that Toyota will follow the latter path with the Corolla hybrid.
Toyota say that in Europe the Auris (Corolla hatch) accounts for more than 50% of the model’s sales, and is the top-selling hybrid. In the UK, the cheapest Auris hybrid costs 20,045 pounds vs the cheapest Corolla which is a 1.2L turbo costing 18,695. The “Icon” grade hybrid is 21,095 vs the diesel Icon which is 19,895.
The Auris has rated a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, so we expect that to be the same for the Australian version with ANCAP.
At Practical Motoring we don’t yet believe that the premium charged for small hybrid vehicles is offset by lower fuel costs, as we show in this analysis and this back-to-back test, and we doubt the hybrid Corolla will change that equation. Then again, lots of people buy small diesel cars even though those often aren’t a cost-effective purchase, and logic has never been a primary driver of car purchase decisions.
Nevertheless, hybrid technology is definitely the way forwards as emissions regulations become stricter every year, and Toyota has long been a leader in the segment. Very soon a hybrid drive will be as unremarkable, and as expected as a diesel option. In time, it could be that pure diesel or electric will become as unusual as a manual transmission is today.
It was back in 1997 that the Prius was first introduced, and now you see them everywhere as taxis because they have proven to be highly reliable and cost-effective. Hybrids are also used in the likes of hypercars such as the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 – not so much for fuel efficiency, but for performance.
The move to offer Corolla Hybrid is interesting when the Prius offers the same technology and is about the same size. There’s a new generation of Prius due out soon and it looks likely that Prius will offer the leading-edge hybrid tech, and perhaps compromises such as low-rolling resistance tyres and an aerodynamically efficient body. In contrast, maybe Corolla will be more the everyday car that just happens to be hybrid powered.
There’s also image. If you mention you drive a Prius then, like it or not, that instantly says something about you. If you drive a Corolla then the image is quite different, and from the photos it looks like there’s just the subtle Synergy Hybrid badging, same as Camry, so the hybrid will look very similar to the standard car.
We asked Toyota for comment on the difference between the Prius and the Corolla. This is what they said:
We see the soon-to-be launched Corolla Hybrid and Prius coexisting together. We certainly wouldn’t be augmenting the Corolla Hatch range, if the needs of potential buyers were being met by an existing model within our range. This new addition to the Corolla family will blend the familiar and stylish design of the hatch body style with Toyota’s advanced hybrid technology.
Furthermore, many Prius buyers appreciate the vehicle’s distinctive style and packaging which matches its stand out fuel efficiency. At the approaching launch of the all-new Prius hatch, you’ll soon have the chance to examine the exciting new generation vehicle, which not only features an even more efficient drivetrain, but also offers a substantially more engaging drive experience and refreshed styling.
That probably also goes for Yaris vs Prius c. Either way, Toyota seem very committed to hybrids and that’s to be welcomed as there’s only so much of the earth’s resources to go around so the less we use of them the better. Not to mention emissions reduction.
PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 TOYOTA COROLLA 1.8-litre HYBRID
Four cylinder in-line
DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-i
Max power (kW @ rpm)
73 @ 5,200
Max torque (Nm @ rpm)
142 @ 4,000
Motor generator max. voltage (V)
Motor generator max. power (kW)
Max system output (kW @ rpm)
Overall length (mm)
Overall width (mm)
Overall height (mm)
1,475 (inc. roof antenna)
Story updated 15/2 to clarify transmission and ANCAP not NCAP.