Auto123 updates” 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid review.
When we talk about hybrid vehicles at Toyota, the Prius is the model that immediately comes to mind. And often the words that follow are like, “I don’t like the look”, “she’s ugly”, “Toyota could have made an effort”, and so on. But if everyone doesn’t like her appearance, once you taste her frugality, her autonomy and her life on board, you forget her style.
Appearance wise, the Corolla has fared better over the years, so it has the credit of surviving the decades and still being offered for sale on multiple continents. Respect!
Despite all this, it is seen as a flat car to drive, good for the trip from point A to point B, and at the same time very reliable, affordable and economical. Regarding this last point, Toyota believed it could do even better by adding a hybrid version to the family. Note that there are no less than eight variations of this model. Starting at $ 21,519 in a six-speed manual configuration, the Corolla tops out at $ 31,119 fully equipped. The version we are interested in, the hybrid, is trading at $ 27,259.
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At the front, we immediately notice the tapered J-shaped LED headlights with a slightly gaping grille in the middle; first consideration; take care when parking. On the sides, a small mention “Hybrid” on the top of the front fender. At the rear, almond-shaped LED lights connected to each other by a non-luminous reddish stripe. The overall styling of this Corolla is not bad to look at.
Once on board, we find the essential. Our eyes are first drawn to the eight-inch screen installed at the top of the center console. Just below, the automatic air conditioning controls (one zone). A little lower is the location for wireless charging of your phone (available with the Premium package), the heated two-speed seats and the gearbox lever with the different driving modes.
In front of the driver, a seven-inch TFT screen also draws attention. The latter is easily adjustable thanks to the various controls on the steering wheel. The whole is taken well in hand and we immediately find our bearings.
Small flat, however; when the time comes to physically connect our phone to use Apple CarPlay, we have to find out where the correct USB port is. There is one in the center console and another well hidden under the dashboard, to the right of the wireless charging.
Among the other interior features, it is necessary to underline the good grace of Toyota to have put power windows with automatic raising and lowering in all the places. Several much more expensive cars still do not offer this kind of functionality.
At the wheel, from the first kilometers, we notice the smoothness of the driving. Moreover, even if it is a hybrid car which switches from all-electric mode to the combustion engine, the action takes place without the driver noticing it, and remains this feeling of comfort.
The car responds well to the steering and you go through the turns smoothly and confidently. This might be where some will argue cars like this are devoid of feel, but we’re sure the bulk of Corolla buyers will want to get one precisely because it inspires confidence and safety.
Moreover, on this point, the Corolla is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 technology. This means that on the security side, you are armored. You are entitled to adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning system (with a beep first, then followed by slight steering correction movements), lane keeping assistance, lights automatic road signs and the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. In addition, there are other standard safety features such as the blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and 10 airbags.
Mechanically, we are entitled to 121 horsepower to move the Corolla hybrid forward. Nothing to strut in front of friends! Except that, in reality, the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine assisted by an electric motor makes you feel like you have more under the hood. All this favored, or disadvantaged, by a CVT (continuously variable transmission), about which we will say nothing. She does her job properly, nothing more.
The whole gives us a combined official consumption of 4.5 liters per 100 km. Note that in winter, with temperatures as low as -15 Celsius and a snowstorm during our test week, we achieved a combined average of 6 liters after driving a little less than 500 km, which does not is not bad at all. It would be interesting to take this vehicle back in the summer to see if we can at least get closer to the official figures. Remember, however, that the non-hybrid version consumes – officially – 7.1 liters per 100 km.
Another detail: there are three driving modes with this Corolla hybrid, namely Normal, ECO and Power. We’ve been using Normal mode all week, as we’ve found it to be the most quiet. The ECO mode makes the vehicle miserable on the road because the power is so limited. We only used this mode once, during a snowstorm. We wanted to avoid unnecessary spinning of the front wheels when accelerating. Power mode makes the vehicle more lively, but the engine is louder. So, for the overall comfort and healthy eardrums of all occupants, Normal Mode turns out to be Wisdom.
On the braking side, with this Corolla hybrid, it took additional adaptation time to successfully adjust the pedal. The brakes seem to bite suddenly, which jerks. This is due to the transition between regenerative brakes, which allow the battery to be recharged, and mechanical brakes.
The different versions
There is only one hybrid version. At $ 27,259, you’ve got the security systems mentioned above, automatic climate control, heated front seats, and of course the Apple Carplay and Android Auto apps. For an additional $ 2,000, you get, with the Premium Package, an eight-position electrically adjustable driver’s seat, wireless charging, heated rear seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and Softex leather seats.
Overall, while there is nothing particularly extravagant about the Corolla Hybrid, it is a pretty attractive little car, and for its price, one of the lowest for a hybrid product on the market. Its consumption, its comfort (for the price paid), its spacious interior and all the technology on board are all elements that also militate in its favor. In short, a detour is in order.
Technology and security
Softness of the mechanics
We like less
Lack of feeling
Some driving modes that are not very interesting
Gaping mouth in the front
The main competition
Hyundai Ioniq hybride
Kia Niro hybride