When the U.S.-spec refreshed 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid sedan was revealed this week, it received many significant updates. In addition to the LE grade, you can now get it in sporty SE and a more premium-looking XLE variant. The former gets sport-tuned steering and suspension components, a different front end, and dual exhaust tips. It’s also the first hybrid compact sedan to offer AWD, which will be available on the LE and SE trims.
Toyota didn’t give us concrete details on the upgraded hybrid powertrain. It revealed it still uses the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder but it’s now paired to a lighter lithium-ion battery mounted under the rear seats and a more powerful front electric drive motor. The latter gets a redesigned magnet and electromagnetic steel plate layout with two additional magnets to increase its output.
European-spec 2023 Toyota Corolla reveals details on updated hybrid systems
Thanks to Toyota’s European arm, we now have more details. The new battery is 18 kg or 39.6 pounds lighter and is more powerful. As a result, its combined output is now 138 hp, or 17 hp more than the pre-refresh model. This results in a 9.2-second 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) time, 1.7 seconds quicker than its predecessor.
This powertrain is part of Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid system first previewed in the European-spec Corolla Cross Hybrid. In the U.S., that model uses a more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder, resulting in a higher rating of 194 hp combined versus the 1.8-liter-based unit found in the refreshed Corolla sedan. The Corolla Cross Hybrid and AWD variants of the sedan employ a second electric drive motor mounted on the rear axle to provide additional power and traction during poor weather conditions. The new system in the refreshed Corolla sedan is the second member of the latest family of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain. In Europe, both powertrains are offered in the sedan, hatchback, and wagon body styles.
Like the European-spec Corolla Cross Hybrid, the refreshed sedan gets Toyota’s latest infotainment system. Unlike the versions we get in the U.S., European models get a larger 10.5-inch main touch screen instead of the smaller 8.0-inch unit and an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. This interface is also capable of accepting over-the-air (OTA) updates to keep it fresh. Every model is also offered with a full suite of driver assistance features that can be improved via OTA updates. Functions include evasive steering assist, front collision prevention that works at intersections, safe exit assist, and curve speed reduction, which slows the vehicle down to help your complete turns safely.
The European-spec Corolla sedan has a unique front fascia similar to what you’d find in the SE grade in the U.S.-spec car. However, this has a lot more silver trim in the lower front fascia and two L-shaped LED daytime running lights. You also don’t get dual exhaust tips and a chrome strip connecting the taillights.
Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid system is part of its initiative to make electrified powertrains accessible. One of these two could be used in the fifth-generation Prius and its plug-in hybrid counterpart, the Prius Prime. Expect those two vehicles to remain efficiency leaders while gaining better performance.