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2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Review: Expected Changes, Release Date, Prices, Engine, Features, and Com

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

July 17, 2020 at 03:46 PM

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is essentially part of the 12th generation model introduced for 2020. As same as the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, the 2021 Corolla Hybrid shall be a carryover model with no changes in exterior and interior. The sedan is expected to launch by late 2020. With an expected price of $23,500, the 2021 Corolla Hybrid is one of the most affordable cars in Toyota’s lineup. The Corolla Hybrid is known for offering exceptional fuel economy compared to Corolla’s closest rival Honda Insight. Packed new features, let’s see how the new Corolla Hybrid performs in the market.

Toyota’s most affordable Hybrid Sedan, the Corolla hybrid is here in its 12th generation.  The midsize sedan the Toyota Corolla is expected to be priced around $23,500. The technology in the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is derived from the Toyota Prius. Corolla Hybrid pumps out 121 horsepower and has an average mpg of 52(combined). The Corolla hybrid is equipped with an electronically controlled brake system like the other hybrid or electric cars, which increases fuel efficiency and ride quality.

The Sedan will surely give a very tough fight to its rivals, though the available styles include only LE hybrid. The car comes with a Front-wheel drive configuration. The car offers many features at a very decent price. The hybrid sedan remains based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA Platform) like the 2020 model. Read our detailed review to know more about the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

What’s new with the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

  • Mostly carry forward for 2021
  • Addition of Android Auto smartphone connectivity

What’s the price and expected release date of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

The car is expected to release in summer 2020 according to Toyota. The price of the 2021 Corolla Hybrid model might vary a little from the 2020 model. The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid was priced at $23,100 and the price of the 2021 model is expected to be around $23,530.

What’s under the hood of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is powered by a 1.8-liter Inline-4 engine paired with two electric motors, an e-CVT, and a nickel-metal-hydride battery. The hybrid power plant pumps out 121 horsepower and generates 105 lb-ft of torque. It uses the Hybrid Synergy Drive as same as the Prius, however, the car is offered in front-wheel drivetrain configuration only. 

Transitions between gasoline and electric power are buttery smooth, however, the engine roars louder when the gas pedal is pressed hard. Since it remains largely unchanged, similar performance characteristics are expected from the 2021 model as well.

Models

2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (Expected)

2020 Honda Insight LX

2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

MSRP

$22,530

$22,830

$28,945

$24,420

Engine

1.8L Inline-4 Gas/ Electric

1.5L Inline-4 Gas/ Electric

1.8L Inline-4 Gas/ Electric

1.5L Inline-4 Gas/ Electric

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

Continuously Variable Automatic

Continuously Variable Automatic

1-speed direct drive

1-speed direct drive

Power

121 hp @5,200 rpm

151 hp @6,000 rpm

160 hp @5,700 rpm

193 hp @6,000 rpm

Torque 

105 lb-ft @3,600 rpm

99 lb-ft @N/A

184 lb-ft @2,500 rpm

140lb-ft @5,000 rpm

0-60 MPH 

8.2 sec

8 sec

8.5 sec

7.0 sec

Quarter mile 

16.2 sec

16 sec

15.8 sec

N/A

*2020 data used for reference

Comparing all the cars, the Toyota Corolla has the lowest combined output. The Hyundai Sonata pumps the highest horsepower followed by Honda Insight and Chevrolet Malibu. All the cars have decent pricing, the Chevrolet Malibu is priced the highest followed by Hyundai Sonata and then Honda Insight.

From 0 to 60 mph the Toyota Corolla Hybrid takes 8.2 seconds and 16.2 seconds to cover a quarter-mile. For more gentle and sober acceleration the battery-powered motors do all the work. The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is all about good fuel economy rather than revving and accelerating. Since it remains mechanically unchanged, the 2021 model is expected to post similar acceleration times.

How does the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid handle?

As the 2021 Model of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a carryover model, it has the same driving dynamics as of the 2020 model. The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid had improved driving dynamics when compared to its earlier models. The handling of the car feels sorted and fine in corners and also performs well on rough roads. The Toyota Corolla Hybrid shares its braking system with the Prius, having synthetic feedback and computers allotting the slowing duties between the motor-generators that recharge the batteries and the friction brakes of the car.

However we cannot expect much power from the hybrid powertrain, but it is decent. Aggressive drivers should not go for the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. It is more of a car that is into comfort rides. The car rides smoothly and perfectly in long distances. Also, there is decent space in the inside of the car. The rear suspension of the car is swapped from a torsion beam.

What fuel economy can we expect from the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

As per EPA ratings, the 2020 model for the Toyota Corolla Hybrid gets 52 mpg in combined driving, turning out to be one of the most fuel-efficient hybrids in the segment. The small gas engine, powerful motors, efficient battery pack combine together to give out the best fuel-efficient car.

Model

2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (Expected)

2020 Honda Insight LX

2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

MPG (City)

54

55

49

42

MPG (Highway)

48

49

43

42

MPG (Combined)

52

52

46

42

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

11.4

10.6

13.0

15.9

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (mi)

604/593/592

583/519/551

637/559/598

636/731/667

*2020 figures used for reference.

Talking about the range, the Hyundai Sonata is better as it has a massive 15.9-gallon fuel tank. The Honda Insight has the smallest fuel tank in the segment. However, only the Honda Insight which is based on Civic stands head to head with the Corolla in this comparison. It can get you 55 miles on a single gallon of fuel.

Will there be any interior changes in the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

The cabin of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is spacious and gives us a nice airy feel, with amazing visibility of the outside too. As it is a carryover model of 2020 it sits lower than the 2018 model. If you’re going for a long-distance the interior will surely not bore you, it’s a great place to spend time. The trunk is wide enough and a broad floor ahead of the rear wheel arches.

The seats can be folded as increasing the boot/cargo space. The car is not for taller people, they might start to feel claustrophobic after a while. At this price, the seating upholstery and materials used are decent enough. We expect to see shuffling of some notable features inside the 2021 Corolla Hybrid. 

Model

2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (Expected)

2020 Honda Insight LX

2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.3/54.8/42.3

39.3/56.9/42.3

39.1/58.5/41.5

38.8/56.2/42.3

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.1/55.0/37.4

36.9/55.0/37.4

37.5/57.1/38.1

37.3/55.0/35.7

Cargo Volume (ft.3)

13.0

15.1

13.0

10.6

*2020 figures used for reference

Honda Insight offers the best interior space in this segment, as it is the biggest car of all. The rest of the cars in the segment are tiny and have less space. Even being the most expensive car the Malibu does not stand up to the mark in terms of interior space. Being a hybrid, the car might not have enough space to offer on the cargo front; however, the trunk of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid has a wide opening. The trunk of the car has practical space and can carry 6 carry-on bags

Standout Interior Features include:

  • Different-size air vents
  • Heated front seats and an eight-way-power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Automatic climate control
  • Smart key system
  • Power door lock
  • Keyless entry

What about the infotainment system of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

A tablet styled infotainment system is equipped in the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, having knobs for tuning and volume on top of the dashboard. The system supports smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and also Android Auto, which is newly introduced in the 2021 model. The navigation works well in Corolla. The infotainment might not be best but is decent enough to get the work done.

Some of the infotainment features are:

  • HD Radio
  • Navigation system
  • Wireless device charging
  • Nine-speaker JBL premium stereo
  • Wi-fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • USB port

Will there be any exterior changes in the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid? 

Looks and design are not what Toyota is about. Corolla follows the same trend of the brand, not the best looking Hybrid in the segment, also not the worst. For daily commuters, Corolla Hybrid is the best. The 2021 model has the same exteriors as that of the 2020 model.

It is sporty and has a sleek design, it has a trapezoidal grille fitted between J-Shaped bi-LED headlamps. Coming to the side and rear of the Corolla, it is very basic, unlike the European sedans. The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is offered many different color options.

Model

2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (Expected)

2020 Honda Insight LX

2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Curb Weight (lbs)

2840

3366

3986

2767

Length (in)

183.1

194.2

191.8

179.9

Width (in)

69.9

73.0

72.9

70.9

Height (in)

57.3

57.9

58.0

56.5

Ground Clearance (in)

6.7

5.9

N/A

5.3

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

111.4

112.2

106.3

*2020 figures used for reference.

When it comes to the dimensions of the car the Chevrolet Malibu tops the list, followed by Honda Insight. Toyota Corolla has small dimensions, which is a plus point to travel in cities.

Will the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid be worth it?

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a practical car to go with. The car is one of the best sellers hybrid cars in the American market. Being one of the best fuel-efficient hybrids at an affordable price, it is best suitable for daily travelers, and also good for long distances. With an affordable price tag, it is definitely worth the wait and money.

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