The 2016 Toyota Corolla Hybrid feels to me like two old friends that you introduced and are now living happily ever after together.
Now, together at last, you can have a five-door hatch with all the good bits of the Corolla, and also the smart powertrain of the Prius!
Looking into my crystal ball, I reckon the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is not only here to stay, but could eventually be the dominant model in the range.
Straight off the bat you are going to use somewhere around 25% less fuel than a conventional Corolla.
And while fuel prices remain fairly low at he moment, chances are we are going to be paying more at the pumps again at some point in the future.
With the Corolla Hybrid you have a built-in insurance policy against higher fuel prices.
Just as importantly, the hybrid version really doesn’t drive that much differently to a run of the mill version of the top-selling model.
Sure, you can feel a bit more weight in the rear (that’s where the battery pack is) and the front-end feels a little lighter, overall though it’s just the same old Corolla experience.
In normal driving, when accelerating away from a stop, the electric motor is doing the work and that means it is a little sluggish, but if you need more go you just give it more pedal.
That’s the brilliant thing about the hybrid drive system, puttering around you can drive very frugally, but if you want extra (or perhaps regular) performance, well its there waiting for you.
This is especially handy when taking the vehicle onto the highway, it happily tours along at 110km/h and actually feels a bit more ‘planted’ to the road thanks to that weight over the rear wheels.
Around town I averaged just under 6.0L/100km in my time in the Corolla Hybrid and that is very good economy.
The rest of the Corolla Hybrid is essentially just good old Corolla.
Yes, you get the same nifty little shifter that features in the Prius (which I quite like) and the speedometer is replaced by a gauge that shows you when you are charging the batteries (when braking/going down hill) and when you are using the engine.
Other than that, everything is very familiar and very well sorted. Perhaps my only complaint with the current generation Corolla and some other Toyota models is the buttons around the infotainment screen.
They are just flat and have no tactile feel and that means you really need to take your eyes off the road to make a change.
In saying that, most of the key features are at your finger tips on the steering wheel.
You might also say that some of the controls on the actual touchscreen are also a bit small as well.
Summing it up; I like the Corolla and I like the Prius, the hybrid version of the Corolla is actually a little bit cooler than the standard model, while cool is never a word to be used when describing a Prius!
All the smarts of the Prius in a great little package, the Corolla Hybrid is a five-door hatch I would certainly consider buying.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Engine: 1.8 litre petrol with electric motor producing 73kW/142Nm
Transmission: CVT automatic
Safety: Five star
Price: from $27,530