Only 1 Compact Hybrid Car Offers All-Wheel Drive

These days, it’s hard to stand out in the world of sedans. Cars are constantly competing for the best and brightest—but the Corolla is stepping up its game for 2023. While the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is typically front-wheel drive (FWD), the refreshed 2023 hybrid model will offer all-wheel drive (AWD) for the first time. The Corolla Hybrid AWD will be the first and only all-wheel drive compact hybrid car in 2022.

Is the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid AWD?

Red 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid AWD sedan cruising down a dirt road
2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid AWD sedan | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid will arrive with all-wheel drive variations available for the new year. Toyota’s Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive works by sending power to the rear wheels only when needed through a separate electric motor mounted in the rear. Other systems use a driveshaft that sends power to the rear.

Per Toyota

“The system works seamlessly and transparently, preemptively distributing driving force to the rear wheels to help suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts. It also engages the rear motor in response to slippage at the front wheels and enhances cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer. The driver can view torque distribution on the Multi-information Display and audio system screen.”

The affordable, good-looking new Corolla Hybrid AWD will join the ranks of the best and cheapest all-wheel drive cars.

Toyota’s all-wheel drive Corolla Hybrid

For the first time, the Corolla Hybrid will offer a whole collection of trim levels within the battery-powered family: 

  • 2023 Corolla Hybrid LE FWD
  • 2023 Corolla Hybrid LE AWD
  • 2023 Corolla Hybrid SE FWD
  • 2023 Corolla Hybrid SE AWD
  • 2023 Corolla Hybrid XLE

What else is new for the 2023 model? The Corolla Hybrid sees an upgraded hybrid system, which includes a new lithium-ion battery and a retouched drive motor. The system as a whole runs on a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors paired with a CVT.

These updates—and the addition of Toyota’s AWD, makes the Corolla Hybrid a lot more competitive against its larger sibling, the Camry Hybrid.

Does the Toyota Corolla have all-wheel drive?

Three versions of the new 2023 Toyota Corolla: the Corolla sedan, the Corolla Hybrid AWD sedan, and the Corolla Hatchback
The new 2023 Corolla family | Toyota

Unfortunately, and strangely, the best-selling Toyota Corolla does not offer AWD for this year, even though the Hybrid model does. It remains a front-wheel-drive car only. However, this hasn’t stopped the Corolla from receiving a Top Safety Pick+ rating, and it likely won’t this year, either.

Toyota has made a very interesting decision here—I’m interested to see what happens in the next few years. The gas-powered Corolla does not offer all-wheel drive, but the Corolla Hybrid does. The gas-powered Camry does offer all-wheel drive, while the Camry Hybrid does not. 

For body structures and systems that you would assume work similarly, this inconsistency seems odd. However, hopefully, it means that we’ll soon see an AWD Corolla and an AWD Camry Hybrid to round out the family.

Which Toyotas are hybrids with AWD?

The addition of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid AWD to the lineup of new Toyota cars and SUVs with a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive is welcome. Other models in this group include: 

  • Toyota Prius AWD
  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD
  • Toyota RAV4 Prime AWD
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD
  • Toyota Venza AWD

Will the addition of all-wheel drive to the 2023 Corolla Hybrid be enough to tempt buyers away from other popular hybrid cars? It serves a unique segment as the only all-wheel drive compact hybrid car in 2022.

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