2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Hatch review (2023)

7.5/10score

score breakdown

7.5

Safety, value and features

7.0

comfort and space

8.0

motor and gears

8.0

ride and drive

7.0

Technology

things we like

  • Unmatched fuel economy
  • improved hybrid propulsion
  • new screen
  • Reasonable service prices

Not that much

  • narrow back seat
  • Free connected services for one year only
  • small boot
  • Too much red inside.

If you've seen Toyota's recent Corolla ad campaign, it's a sing-and-dance musical production with lots of high kicks and riotous color. It will make you smile.

That tells me two things: The first is that Toyota knows that the car has historically been considered a bit boring. Despite years of campaigning trying to infuse some passion into reliability, it still doesn't look quite the way the company sees fit.

Second, the Japanese giant still has great faith in its core product. theCrown of flowersit has always been there and is synonymous with the Toyota brand. And despite the arrival of shaped SUVsKronenkreuzThere's clearly some life left in the tailgate, as the range has been expanded to include the top-spec hybrid-powered ZR, as tested here.

It also doesn't hurt that the Corolla is now more stylish than ever, even showing off some premium and high-volume rivals when it comes to visual appeal.

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SKIP FORWARD

  • How much does it cost and what do you get?
  • How do competitors compare on value?
  • Interior comfort, space and storage
  • How is it to drive?
  • What about the fuel?
  • how safe is it
  • Warranty and running costs
  • VERDICT
  • Specifications

How much does it cost and what do you get?

The most expensive Corolla hatchback you can buy costs $39,120 before transportation costs. That sounds like a lot, and you're going to have to try really hard to justify that price, because it's not a hot hatch.

Just a few months ago you couldn't get a ZR hybrid and now there is, Corolla prices are up about $2000about bandwidth.

When you're in your 40s, you want a lot of standard equipment, and you want it to be good, something the Corolla hasn't always delivered.

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2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Hatch - Outstanding Features
12.3 inch digital dashboardhead screen
18-inch alloy wheelsElectric and heated front seats
Stereo system with 8 speakersHeated Power Folding Mirrors
Tempomat adapterkeyless entry and start
Automatic LED headlights with automatic high beamTeillederausstattung
automatic wipersbackup camera
Radio digital DAB+satellite navigation
Dual zone automatic climate controltire repair kit
Front and rear parking sensorsApple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (wired)

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To partially justify the price increases, Toyota finally got rid of that ill-fated head unit that was old when it made its debut. While its replacement closed a path of creativity and comedy in my reviews, the new one is much better, though I do worry about the lack of a home button. It's interesting how we've been trained by our phones over the years.

Its screen size is still 8.0 inches, now supported by decent hardware, and the screen loses the washed-out look of its predecessor.

Overall, it's a much better system and matches that of the homey-looking Corolla Cross, with the handy addition of wireless Apple CarPlay, which I found more reliable than one.Volkswagen Golf.

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All eight speakers are JBL, if you feel like it.

Together with the new screen you will receive an annual subscriptionToyotaConnect, a phone app that offers remote control and telematics capabilities if something goes wrong and you need to call an ambulance after an accident.

After the first year, you lose remote connectivity for locking, engine start, and air conditioning, unless you pay $9.95 per month for the Essentials package and an additional $12.50 per month to add a suite of connected navigation services and profiles. Username.

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How do competitors compare on value?

Until recently, the Corolla's most obvious rival was aHonda Civic.

But with price increases and the slightly crazy decision to go with a commercial model that leaves us with two expensive Civics, one gas and one hybrid, the former starting at $47,200, the Corolla looks pretty good. Although thehondaIt has much more space inside.

However, they cross the Sea of ​​Japan and two Korean rivals, theHyundai i30 Line N Premium($37,020 before road costs) andKia Cerato GT($35,790 before retail cost) - Packs some punches with a sportier chassis and 1.6-liter turbocharger.

However, neither are hybrids. And theceratoIt has a lot more room in the back seat than both.

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It's not a hybrid either.Mazda3G25 GT has a hybrid for $36,690. It looks fantastic and drives great. Mazda has what it calls a hybrid, the X20 Supercharged Mild Hybrid for $43,190 (both before highway costs).

It doesn't offer the fuel economy you might want from a hybrid-badge car, but it drives faster than the Toyota.

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2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Hatch review (7)

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Interior comfort, space and storage

A few years ago, Toyota discovered the joys of truly beautiful front seats.

I feel like someone bought one.peugeotand someone else aCitroën(the three companies are collaborating in Europe on Aygo/108/C1 tiddlers) and said: "Hey, these are good. We should make better front seats."

And they did. At least in my head. A good number of Toyotas now feature these both attractive and very comfortable front seats, which in the ZR, like the cabin as a whole, sport slightly ridiculous red inserts. However, they are very comfortable, and that is the main thing.

The convenience that goes with your comfort extends to door pockets, a pair of cup holders, a cordless phone charging pad that fits full-size phones, and a small bin under the armrest. And unfortunately only the single USB port, although one could argue that wireless charging softens that blow somewhat.

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It's quite an attractive interior, even if it's starting to show its age a bit. In some ways, the interior of the Corolla Cross in front of the B-pillar is pretty much the same, but it looks and feels dated and a bit tacky. It's amazing what a difference a slightly different quality of plastic can make.

Move back and, like most cars in this segment, it's a bit bleak for passengers. There's not a lot of knee or leg room, and even headroom is best described as passable. Interestingly, there are cup holders in the doors, which is novel and a bit strange given that there's a center armrest.

The boot measures an astonishing 333 litres. Surprising, because there is a battery here somewhere, but a good 116 liters more than with gasoline engines. The trick is that, depending on the specification, these cars have a space-saving or even full spare, while in the ZR hybrid you sometimes literally get goosebumps.

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What is it like to drive?

The basics

2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Lucas
handlefront wheel
Motor1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline-electric hybrid
transmissioninfinitely variable
Energy (Gasoline)72 kW bei 5200 U/min
Torque (gasoline)142 Nm a 3600 rpm
electric power)70kW
torque (electric)185 nm
combined power103kW
matched pairnot fixed

This generation of the Corolla was a turning point for Toyota when it first landed on dealer forecourts.

Like so many other classic Toyota names, this Corolla now relies on Toyota's NGA platform.

While a platform doesn't magically make a car good, it seems to have inspired its manufacturer to ensure the Corolla handles well and not vintage car understeer.

The ZR has a set of double wishbones under the rear, which helps the ride never end, but pairs nicely with the MacPherson struts up front to give the Corolla a firm footing. It's very, very nice to drive.

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And it's still competitive, with a good set of well-tuned brakes and a suspension that doesn't want the car to tip over on its door handles. It's not a hot hatch, but it handles with the confidence and playful feel of its Korean rivals, just without the rough ride.

As always, the powertrain needs a little explaining and the marketing a bit of debunking. While we refer to Toyota's hybrid powertrain as a series hybrid, local operations have developed a slightly mischievous habit of calling it a self-charging hybrid. It's not as naughty as some companies label mild hybrids as hybrids, but that's for another day.

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Under the hood is Toyota's 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE petrol engine, delivering 72kW and 142Nm via the Atkinson cycle. That's not much and would only make the ZR, which weighs over 1400kg, uncomfortably slow.

In the continuously variable transmission (CVT) there is a 70 kW electric motor with 185 Nm of torque. Toyota says that if you put them together you have a combined output of 103kW and we don't want to tell you a Newton-meter of torque.

It's probably safe to say that's more than the measly 142Nm of the combustion engine alone, but not the 327Nm you get when you've got the electric motor on top.

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The 2023 Corolla's hybrid powertrain includes an updated electric motor, smaller hybrid components, and the switch from Ni-Mh to Li-Ion for the battery, all of which reduce system weight, which is always helpful. Power is also increased by 13 kW, making the new car a bit more agile than the old one.

It drives like a normal car, except that under normal acceleration it starts quietly, and with electric driving it will likely back up out of parking spaces. You may also have trouble finding reverse gear because, like me, you put it in B mode for maximum energy return during coasting and braking.

That's the autorecharging part, and not coincidentally the part that saves you all that money on fuel. When you ease off the accelerator or brake gently, this energy is not lost through heat or mechanical resistance, but rather the electric motor in the gearbox becomes a generator, feeding the small battery with electrons for redistribution. The Formula 1 guys call it the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, or KERS.

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One great thing about Toyota's hybrid system is that it's flawless and extremely effective. You get very used to the silence when you get in and out, and it's a great game to see how long you can drive pure electric. You can even press the EV mode button to force it to use electricity for the few hundred (slow) meters it can go without revving the gasoline engine.

The extra torque from the electric motor belies the fact that it has a CVT, my least favorite type of transmission. You still get the lawn mower sound effect, but you don't get the rubber band effect, which makes for a much more relaxing car ride.

It's not particularly quick to launch, but roll acceleration is pretty good and it's better than the 2022 model. It feels like there's a little more torque available and it's very smooth.

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What about the fuel?

Obviously, a hybrid is all about fuel economy, although thankfully these days that comes with quite a bit of power.

However, the specified 4.0 l/100 km seems a bit optimistic.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Hatch Fuel Economy
Fuel consumption (claimed)4.0l/100km
Fuel consumption (on-board computer)5.8l/100km
fuel capacity43 liters
fuel type91 ROZ/E10

My time with the Corolla wasn't mitigated by my wife's more laid-back driving style, so understanding the notoriously inaccurate ADR fuel economy numbers was a bonus, especially considering the car was new.

One wonders if he will dive into the high four every 100km with a few tanks to his credit. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.

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how safe is it

This generation of Corolla was tested by ANCAP in 2018 and earned five stars, the highest available.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Hatch - Safety Features
7 airbags (including driver's knee)lane stop assist
anti-lock systemReverse Cross Traffic Warning
blind spot monitoringbackup camera
Automatic forward emergency braking with detection of pedestrians, motorcycles and cycliststraffic sign recognition
crossing assistantsafe exit warning
SpurverlassungwarnungTraction and stability controls
lane stop assist

The updated safety package includes more features in the automatic emergency braking system, which watches out for motorcyclists and prevents you from crossing an intersection if someone approaches you.

There are two sets of ISOFIX points and three top tethers for children.

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2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Hatch review (16)

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Warranty and running costs

Toyota's five-year unlimited mileage warranty applies to all Corollas.

Each of the first five services is $205 each for a total of $1,025 over the five 12-month/15,000 km intervals.

Chances are most, if not all, can be done in less than 90 minutes, so you can poke around and play on your phone while they're at it.

MORE

Car brands with the longest warranties and price-limited service periods

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VERDICT

The 2023 Corolla hatch series doesn't look much different. On the other hand, at least it still exists, and it's still a good thing.

Having outgrown the rarity of driving a hatchback in this SUV-soaked era, it was nice to reacquaint yourself with a car that has subtly but usefully evolved for the 2023 model year.

More power and torque, more gears inside, and contemporary connected services—with subscription fees to match—mean the updated Corolla brings enough upgrades to earn a spot on your small-car list.

Top of the line is rarely the best value, but hey, if you want it, I can assure you the ZR Hybrid is pretty good.

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TodoToyota

Specifications

2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid ZR Lucas
BodySmall hatchback with 5 doors and 5 seats
handlefront wheel
Motor1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline-electric hybrid
transmissioninfinitely variable
Energy (Gasoline)72 kW bei 5200 U/min
Torque (gasoline)142 Nm a 3600 rpm
electric power)70kW
torque (electric)185 nm
combined power103kW
matched pairnot fixed
Bohrhub (mm)80,5 x 88,3
compression ratio13,0 : 1,0
0-100 km/h10 seconds (estimated)
Fuel consumption (claimed)4.0l/100km
Fuel consumption (tested)5.8l/100km
Weight1430kg
SuspensionMcPherson struts front/double wishbones rear
L/B/H4630 mm/1780 mm/1435 mm
distance between axis2700 mm
brakes274mm ventilated disc front / 231mm solid disc rear
tires225/40 R18
Wheels18-inch aluminum (tire repair kit, no replacement)
Preis$39,120 + highway costs

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Related Video: The Corolla Cross Arrives! Is it time to cross off the Corolla's hatch?

7.5/10score

score breakdown

7.5

Safety, value and features

7.0

comfort and space

8.0

motor and gears

8.0

ride and drive

7.0

Technology

things we like

  • Unmatched fuel economy
  • improved hybrid propulsion
  • new screen
  • Reasonable service prices

Not that much

  • narrow back seat
  • Free connected services for one year only
  • small boot
  • Too much red inside.

pedro anderson

taxpayer

Peter Anderson spent his high school years reading car magazines at the end of class and most of the time he can't count more than the 18 fingers he has.

sam rawlings

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