2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid SE AWD: Review

Despite its raging sales success, the Corolla has always been a bit of “an car.” It was an obvious choice if you wanted a reliable commuting appliance that wasn’t too expensive. Lately, Toyota has been adding a bit of diversity to the lineup with the Corolla Cross, the GR Corolla, and the Corolla hatchback. There’s also a hybrid version of the sedan, and we’ve been driving it for the last week and had things to say. Let’s get at it.

2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Overview

Their website treats the Hybrid version of Toyota’s compact sedan as a different thing. Sort of. Click on the regular Corolla, and you can see it displayed alongside its petrol-only brother. It’s also listed separately, with four trim levels to choose from. The base LE starts at $23,500 and the top-spec XLE is just over $27,200. For 2024 the sporty-looking Nightshade trim returns to the lineup with some bangin gold wheels (I say that with love, I dig it).

We got an SE trim with AWD which adds just under $1,000 to the bottom line. The “Blueprint” color didn’t add anything to the MSRP, but the Premium package adds $1,295. You get stuff like keyless entry and ignition, heated side mirrors, blind spot warning, a sunroof, wirelss charging and a leather-wrapped wheel.

All in you’re looking at just over $29,500 making this one of the least expensive cars I’ve tested in some time. Let’s see how it did as a daily driver.

2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid SE AWD Inside & Out

Toyota has been doing a great job with its small car design lately. I drove the 2023 Prius recently and found myself staring at the shape and overall exterior design. The twelfth generation (E210) has been around since 2018 but has gotten some exterior tweaks over the model years. The front has an almost avian look with aggressive headlights, a large air dam, and some nice details on either side. It’s not overdone and looks more premium than Corollas used to look. I like the simple side profile, while the back may be trying a bit too hard with the diffuser-looking plastic bits. Airflow bro.

Inside, things are clean and straightforward. A basic set of HVAC controls sits below a nicely sized eight-inch touchscreen. That’s about it: you get what you need to drive and control the primary functions. The center armrest slides forward and aft so you can dial things on out on the open road. Is there a closed road? I guess there is, we just don’t talk about it in these reviews.

The rear legroom is “fine,” with a max of 34.8 inches available. My nearly six-foot-tall daughter wasn’t particularly excited about spending time in the back as we went to dinner, but it did the job. Interior space for small items isn’t bad, but the cubbies in the door were a bit small. The trunk delivers 13.1 cubic feet of space, which is enough for the average grocery run but not as large as some competitors.

The Corolla Hybrid is a bit leisurely when accelerating from a stop, with 0-60 times in the nine-second range (or more) on most sites. Not surprising since the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine plus hybrid system only has a total output of 138 horsepower. It’s not that bad once you’re on the move, midrange acceleration actually feels pretty peppy. I used the Corolla for some light road trips during my week and other than the buzzy CVT it did everything I needed.

In reality, the estimated 44 mpg combined for the AWD SE is the big selling point vs. any other performance figure.

Summary

Overall I didn’t mind my week in the Corolla Hybrid, it’s comfortable, efficient, and looks good. It’s pretty clear why this car sells so well, it’s a great little package that should be reliable and last for a while. So for buyers who may want something bigger and more interesting, but are on a budget, the Corolla should definitely be on the shopping list. It would be a great first car for a teenager as well, as it has pretty decent standard safety features.

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