Toyota has unveiled the new Corolla Hybrid sedan for the United States market, in conjunction with the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. This comes a few weeks after the hybrid model made its debut in China, where it is sold as both the Corolla Hybrid (Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor) and Levin Hybrid (GAC Toyota).

For the US market, the Corolla Hybrid follows the Levin Hybrid’s design very, very closely, and is distinctively different from the non-hybrid XSE trim revealed earlier. Primary differences include the bumper that is a lot more “tame in appearance” by comparison, while the Toyota badge has been placed further down to “bridge” the upper and lower air inlet areas.

Viewed from the side, the Corolla Hybrid is identical to the XSE although the greener model comes fitted with 15-inch aluminium alloy wheels with low-rolling resistance tyres. At the rear, it is a copy of the Levin Hybrid. Highlights include a black trim piece that links the taillights, faux outlets in the bumper corners and body-coloured trim just above the exhaust.

Toyota USA didn’t provide any interior photos of the Corolla Hybrid but it should be identical to the XSE and Levin Hybrid, albeit with some model-specific touches. These include specific screens for the seven-inch multi-info display in the instrument cluster, as well as different drive modes – EV, Normal, Eco and Sport.

On that mention, motivation is provided by an updated Hybrid Synergy Drive system lifted from the refreshed Prius. The setup pairs a 2ZR-FXE 1.8 litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine with an e-CVT and two electric motors. There’s also a preload differential that sends torque between the left and right wheels at low speed, and behaves as an open differential at higher engine loads.

Said electric motors are powered by a new nickel-metal hydride battery that features the carmaker’s Hyper-Prime Nickel technology, allowing for better battery performance within a smaller and lighter package. This allows the battery to be placed under the rear seats rather than taking up boot space, allowing the 60:40 split-folding rear seats to be retained and allows for a lower centre of gravity.

Recharging the battery can be done via the electric motors or regenerative braking, with the second item being managed by the car’s Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system that coordinates operation between the regenerative braking force of the electric motors and the hydraulic braking system.

The total system output of the hybrid powertrain is 121 hp, and Toyota is projecting to achieve at least 5.6 litres per 100 km (50 miles per gallon) combined following EPA standards.

Equipment-wise, the Corolla Hybrid comes with an Entune 3.0 infotainment system and eight-inch touchscreen as standard, along with eight airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System. All 2020 Corolla models are equipped as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes PCS (Pre-Collision System), Full-Speed DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control), LDA (Lane Departure Alert) w/ Steer Assist, LTA (Lane Tracing Assist), AHB (Automatic High Beam) and RSA (Road Sign Assist).

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid will go on sale in the US from spring 2019, although no official pricing has been revealed yet.

Tags: