The new hybrid version of Toyota’s all-time best-selling car series achieves at least 50 mpg (4.7 l/100 km) combined fuel economy (projected). That makes the 2020 Corolla Hybrid the most fuel-efficient model to ever wear the model name that debuted more than a half-century ago. The model adapts the latest Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive from the new-generation Prius, already proven as an MPG winner.
The new hybrid system combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT) transaxle. Combined system output of 121 horsepower yields responsive performance.
The nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack employs a newly developed technology called Hyper-Prime Nickel (developed by Primearth EV Energy—originally Panasonic EV Energy—in Japan) to boost battery performance in a smaller and lighter package.
The battery’s smaller size and flatter shape allow it to be packaged under the rear seat, rather than taking up trunk space, and also allowing a 60/40 split folding rear seatback to expand cargo capacity. The battery location also contributes to the vehicle’s lower center of gravity, a boon to agility.
The engine, working in concert with the electric motor (MG2), assures responsive performance, while energy efficiency is achieved by using both electric motors (MG1 and MG2) for hybrid battery charging.