If you’re one of the few people who still have to commute down to the office these days—pay attention. We have the car for you. For those looking for a new ride to work, we present the 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid. Upon first look, the Corolla may not jump out at you; however, there’s more to this car than meets the eye. It’s not the flashiest car in the world, but there’s a reason Toyota sold nearly 250k of these in 2021. No, it might not be the coolest vehicle in your neighborhood, but do you want to be cool and pay a fortune in gas, or would you rather be smart and pay less? We thought so.
Let’s be frank: you’re on the hunt for an affordable, fuel-efficient car that’s as reliable as an old pair of boots and exceptionally clever. You’re also looking for comfort, decent tech, and safety. We’ll cover all of these things and tell you why the Corolla Hybrid is the perfect automotive choice for the American commuter. But first, a smidge of backstory.
A Smidge of Backstory … and Some Fuel Stats
The Corolla began its journey on American motorways in 1966. While not an immediate success, the ensuing decade was bound to make it one. In the 1970s, record inflation and oil embargos brought an end to American motoring as it was known and created a need for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Gone were the days of single-digit mileage and cars the size of cruise liners. What was needed was a vehicle that was both affordable and fuel-efficient, and Toyota was determined to meet those needs.
It’s a trend that has continued well into the modern era, though it seems to have waned in recent years. Over the last 5 or so years, we’ve seen a definitive shift from the smaller cars back toward larger haulers. Increasingly few manufacturers are even offering compact sedans to the buying public, with the exceptions of Toyota and Honda. However, with inflation and high gas prices once again the subject of the evening news, it’s looking increasingly likely that the days of the compact commuter are here again.
Over 40 million Corollas have been sold since 1966, making it one of the best-selling vehicles of all time. Designed to appeal to the masses, Corolla has undergone several transformations throughout its history. Now in its astonishing 12th generation, the Corolla is as fresh and sharp-looking as it has ever been. Priding itself on fuel efficiency since its inception, today’s base model Corolla brings in an astonishing 31 MPG for city-driving, while getting 40 MPG on the highway. With the addition of the new hybrid into the lineup, that number jumps to 53 MPG in the city and 52 MPG on the highway. And, you can have one for under $25k—MSRP on the 2022 Corolla Hybrid is $23,750. What’s not to love about that?
The 12th generation began back in 2018, when the Corolla got its first major redesign in 7 years. The car looks streamlined and sporty with an angled front fascia despite its gaping maw of a front grill. The high-grade LED headlights are tapered, running down the length of the hood towards the central Toyota logo, which is shaded in blue to indicate the hybrid drivetrain. These headlights offer the Daytime Running Lights feature that provides maximum visibility for pedestrians and other motorists, no matter the time of day.
While most cars grow ostensibly bigger with each generation, Corolla has maintained its compact nature. Its current size is 56.5’’ tall, 70.1’’ wide, 182.3’’ long. A short wheelbase of 106.3’’ and 15″ alloy wheels make Corolla easy to maneuver around country bends or narrow city streets. LED taillamps round out the back, and the rearview mirrors and door handles are color-matched to the vehicle.
Inside, you’ll find a simple, refined interior—a premium cloth, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat as the base of the intuitive command center. Standard on all models, including the Hybrid, is the 3-spoke steering wheel with Bluetooth integration and audio controls built in. The instrument cluster on the hybrid includes a hybrid system power meter and Eco Mode indicator. The push button start is linked to Toyota’s Smart Key System, which also works the locks on the front doors and trunk.
Automatic climate control is integrated into the dash, along with a suite of multimedia features that include an 8’’ touch screen, 6 speakers, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Hands-free phone calling comes standard, as does Toyota’s Safety Connect and WiFi Connect with up to 2GB of data on a 3-month trial.
The rear bench seats provide seating for 3 passengers with 34.8’’ of legroom. The 60/40 folding bench leads to a sizable 13.1 cu-ft cargo trunk, which is enough to fit your gym bag and some after-work groceries.
Compact, Efficient, and Safe
One thing that has brought people out of the sedan market and into the crossover market is safety. The thinking is that a larger vehicle will protect you better than a smaller one. And while there is some truth to this, Corolla comes with safety features that may make you think better of compact sedans.
Included is Toyota Safety Sense—a tech suite that includes pre-collision warnings, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. The latter is a system that uses radar to track the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts the speed of your car accordingly, making a rear-end collision far less likely. If you need more convincing, Corolla comes with stability and traction control, 10 airbags, Whiplash-Injury-Lessening front seats, front and rear crumple zones, and the option of adding blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert in a separate package.
The Hybrid Drivetrain
Now we get to the heart of every car: the engine and its capability. Powering the Corolla Hybrid is a 1.8L 16 valve 4 cylinder mated to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), giving it 121 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. Not impressive numbers, but your intention in a Corolla is not to be climbing near-vertical surfaces in Moab, Utah is it?
Of course, it isn’t! You’re interested in a vehicle that is easy to drive and can give you amazing gas mileage. This 1.8L does just that. The engine helps to power an electric motor, which sends energy down to the lithium ion battery at the back of the vehicle. The battery stores up all the energy created from braking and other vehicle functions and sends it back up to the engine to fill in the spots where efficiency might be lagging. The placement of the battery is also key. Its position at the back of the vehicle allows for optimal weight distribution, which in turn allows for better handling, leading to better driving and better fuel economy. Which is all you can ask for.
Why Buy One?
So why should you buy one? Well, for many of the reasons we’ve just stated. The Corolla Hybrid is, first and foremost, affordable. The average cost of a new car in the United States is $46,000. The price of the Corolla Hybrid is nearly half that. So not only will you be saving money on your purchase, you’ll be saving money at the pump. It’s predicted that gas will reach over $4/gal nationally by the summer. While that may not seem like much to those who don’t drive daily, gas prices enormously impact commuters. And if prices are going to be as high as predicted, why would you want something that’s guzzling down gas like a hungry baby drinking milk?
With attention being shifted increasingly towards electric vehicles, hybrids have taken a bit of a back seat. But while EV’s are still unattainable for most Americans, hybrids aren’t. Hybrids work, and, in the case of the Corolla, they work well.