How Did The Toyota Corolla Hybrid Beat Tesla For This Award?

For many people, cars that are all-electric and cars that are eco-friendly seem to be synonyms for each other, so it makes sense that we look to companies like Tesla when we expect a car to be deemed the most eco-friendly. So how did the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid beat Tesla for the award of Best Eco-Friendly Car of the Year?

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Let’s start with some background on the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid so that we know exactly what we are looking at. The Corolla has been a popular and highly demanded car for years. It is known for its comfort, safety, and reliability, and falls into a price range with the right amenities to make it a popular option. Among the 2020 model years, there is a hybrid option, with a starting price of about $23,100 making it an affordable hybrid option without having to give up and buy a Prius.

Toyota Corolla GR Sport Hybrid is displayed during the first press day at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show
The Toyota Corolla | Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Why it won

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a great eco-friendly car, but there must be something that sets it apart from the competition and deem it worthy of the title Best Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, especially over such a strong competitor like Tesla.

For one thing, there is a major benefit to having a plug-in hybrid over an all-electric, when it comes to vehicle ownership. For many people, a hybrid is a happy middle ground between environmental awareness and familiarity, without being a complete departure from the fully-gasoline cars many drivers have known for most of their lives.

There is also a significant price difference between the Corolla Hybrid and the Tesla Model 3, and not just in upfront costs. While the Corolla Hybrid is an affordable option and on the lower end of the cost spectrum when it comes to buying any new car, the Tesla Model 3 starts at a much higher $39,990 pushing it out of the price range for many consumers. The Corolla Hybrid is also easier to work on and has a lower cost of ownership. While Tesla repairs and maintenance can be costly, the Corolla Hybrid is easier to work on and can be maintained for little more than the price of a normal Corolla.

For a hybrid car, the Corolla also gets pretty good gas mileage. Toyota reported that the Corolla Hybrid could average 53mpg in the city and 52mpg on the highway for a combined average of 52mpg, but some tests have shown the Corolla Hybrid getting just over 70mpg in the right driving conditions.

Overall, the Corolla Hybrid won this award because it is more reasonable for the consumer market to own. It has the comfort, reliability, and safety features of some higher-end cars, without the bank-breaking price of buying, and repairing, a brand new Tesla Model 3, and to consumers, that makes all the difference.