2023 Toyota Corolla: New Safety Tech, AWD Hybrids


The Toyota Corolla has always been a great value. It’s seldom an inspiring car (though there is that one now). But it’s the best-selling nameplate in history because of its reliability, rock-solid resale value, and comfort for the buck.

None of that will change for the 2023 model year. The value proposition will just be refined.

The 2023 Corolla should reach dealerships in the fall. Pricing isn’t out yet, but we expect it to increase from 2022’s $20,425 starting point. Corollas also require a $1,025 delivery fee.

Styling Tweaks

It’s not time for a redesign – this Corolla has only been around for three years – but Toyota has given its compact car a slight visual update. The Corolla comes in sedan and hatchback forms, and they look more alike this year. They now share the same headlight design.

Hatchbacks get a reshaped rear bumper. So does the best-selling LE trim level of the sedan.

New Hybrids, Tighter Steering for Some

Speaking of the LE, it gets a power boost. The Corolla is available with a choice of two gasoline engines: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder making 139 horsepower, and a more powerful 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 169. The popular LE got the smaller engine in 2022. It gets the larger one for 2023, meaning only the base L carries the least-powerful mill.

Toyota has also reworked the continuously variable transmission (CVT) of gasoline models to provide a simulated first gear for quicker takeoff.

But the big changes come to the Corolla Hybrid lineup.

In 2022, the Corolla Hybrid came only in the LE trim level and only in front-wheel drive (FWD). But with Americans demanding more fuel-efficient cars, Toyota will offer us a greater choice of hybrid models.

2023 will see four hybrid trim levels – LE FWD, LE all-wheel-drive (AWD), SE FWD, SE AWD, and XLE.

SE models get a bit of sporty spirit. Toyota has dropped the sporty Apex model from the Corolla lineup (unnecessary with the much more capable GR Corolla carrying the lineup’s performance banner). But it’s tighter, more responsive steering rack isn’t gone. It’s now found in the SE Hybrid trims.

XLE, meanwhile, gets the full near-luxury equipment list.

Improved Safety, Entertainment

All Corollas get Toyota’s standard Safety Sense 3.0 driver assistance package. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high-beam headlights. Buyers can add parking assistance and new adaptive headlights (recently permitted by federal law, their high beams don’t blind oncoming traffic).

The standard 8-inch infotainment screen can now receive over-the-air updates. That means Toyota can improve software on the fly, adding new features or saving drivers a trip to the dealer for recalls that can be fixed with software patches. Finally, the Corolla now gets Toyota’s natural language speech assistant. That lets drivers adjust climate controls, directions, and other settings with voice commands. You wake it up by saying, “Hey, Toyota.”


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