Its fuel economy figures are that good.
For years, the Toyota Prius hybrid (and now optional plug-in hybrid) has been the go-to vehicle for solid fuel economy without the range anxiety associated with pure electric vehicles. However, there's a new kid on the block that may somewhat push the Prius aside and, ironically enough, it's also a Toyota. According to recently published EPA fuel economy figures, the new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid sedan returns 53/52/52 mpg city/highway/combined.
By comparison, the latest Prius returns 54/50/52 mpg. Nearly identical figures, we know, and there's a completely logical explanation why: both vehicles are powered by the same Atkinson cycle 1.8-liter inline-four with two electric motors, a nickel-hydride battery, and an e-CVT.
However, the Prius Eco manages to squeeze out an even more impressive EPA-rated 58/53/56 mpg. But the fact remains that the standard Prius hybrid and the new Corolla sedan hybrid are now sort of internal competitors. It'll be interesting to see how that'll play out in terms of actual sales figures.
The EPA also released fuel economy figures for the also new non-hybrid Corolla models and, as expected, straight up internal combustion is more efficient than ever. The SE and XSE 2020 Corolla trims, powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four and linked to a six-speed manual return an also impressive 29/36/32 and 29/36/32 mpg, respectively.
Lower trim levels are powered by the smaller 1.8-liter four pot and rated at 29/39/33 with the manual and 30/38/33 mpg with the optional CVT. Moving up the ladder for the more powerful 2.0-liter with 169 hp returns 31/38/34 for the XSE trim and 31/40/34 for other trims.
If you're in the market for a non-hybrid economy car with high fuel economy scores, the new 2020 Corolla and its also new 2.0-liter inline-four may be the way to go. But it's the new Corolla Hybrid that's mighty impressive. Not only does it nearly equal the Prius, but it actually beats the Kia Niro, matches the Honda Insight, and only slightly trails Hyundai Ioniq.