2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid SE AWD

The 2023 Toyota Corolla offers a choice between a compact sedan or hatchback with both gasoline and hybrid powertrains, boasting Prius-like fuel efficiency and a modern, aerodynamic design.

Within the compact car market, the Corolla competes with a roster of formidable contenders, including the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Mazda 3.

DESIGN

The Corolla exhibits a slight deviation from perfect exactness, with a few stray lines that fall short of the meticulous detailing seen in the VW Jetta or Mazda 3 sedan. However, it has transformed into a more visually appealing vehicle than before, both on the exterior and within the cabin.

Despite this, it’s important to note that this evolution doesn’t imply a radical deviation from the Corolla sedan’s traditionally shaped profile or any groundbreaking distinctions between the Hybrid and gasoline-powered versions, which are nearly imperceptible. The design remains straightforward and unobtrusive, aligning perfectly with its intended audience.

Stepping inside the Corolla, one immediately senses a feeling of spaciousness, especially when opting for lighter color schemes. The interior design maintains a logical and cohesive layout, and selecting certain trim levels introduces a leather-like material to the seats and dashboard.

Our test model, the Corolla Hybrid SE AWD, was equipped with the SE Premium Package, an optional upgrade priced at $1,220. This package includes desirable features such as a Blind Spot Monitor and power outside mirrors with integrated turn signals. Additionally, it boasts a power tilt/slide moonroof with a sliding sunshade, enhancing both driver safety and overall comfort.

Furthermore, there is an option to enhance your audio experience with the $600 JBL Premium Audio system. This system boasts a 9-speaker setup complete with a subwoofer and amplifier.

This audio upgrade elevates the in-car entertainment experience, delivering exceptional sound quality that will be appreciated by music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike, making it a compelling choice for those who prioritize premium audio quality while on the road.

PERFORMANCE

The gas-electric model showcases impressive efficiency through its seamless integration of batteries, an electric motor, and a compact gasoline engine, which delivers a modest 121 horsepower. What sets this model apart, though, is its smooth acceleration, thanks to the continuously variable transmission (CVT), making it a compelling choice despite slightly longer acceleration times.

Achieving an impressive balance and handling, the Corolla Hybrid owes its prowess to a meticulously tuned suspension system that seamlessly complements its precise, yet comfortably relaxed steering. This synergy not only elevates ride comfort but also imparts a sense of driving a larger vehicle to the Corolla, further accentuating its overall performance and driving experience.

VERDICT

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid SE AWD is priced at an initial MSRP of $26,600. However, when factoring in all additional options, the final cost amounts to $30,388.

Competition

When comparing all the vehicles, the revamped Civic and the 2022 Elantra have a slight advantage. The Civic brings fresh energy to Honda’s lineup with a larger size, enhanced interior space, and a more sophisticated design, offering sedan, hatchback, Si, and Type R models.

Hyundai also improved the Elantra, introducing an N performance variant, although its styling may appear somewhat forced in its attempt to stand out in the compact sedan category.

On the other hand, the Mazda 3 sedan and hatch gracefully transition into the premium class with impressive power, handling, and the availability of all-wheel drive.

For those who frequently navigate snowy or gravelly terrain but prefer a conventional body style over the Crosstrek’s ovoid proportions, the Subaru Impreza presents an excellent choice.

Lastly, the refreshed Kia Forte manages to impress as an affordable yet thrilling option in specific configurations.

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