Many safety features are included in the new model-year vehicle as well, including a high-tensile strength steel body panels, advanced airbag system, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which comes standard.  -  Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Many safety features are included in the new model-year vehicle as well, including a high-tensile strength steel body panels, advanced airbag system, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which comes standard.

Photo courtesy of Toyota.

On Dec. 16, Toyota announced details of its 2022 Corolla Hybrid — the brand's most fuel-efficient model to ever wear the Corolla name, an announcement says.

Achieving at least 50 MPG combined fuel economy, the 2022 Corolla Hybrid uses the latest Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive and a hybrid system that combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with two motor/generators, and a combined system output of 121 horsepower.

Coming standard with each vehicle is the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems. Drivers can take command with a tilt/telescopic 3-spoke steering wheel, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. In-vehicle tech includes a standard 8-inch touchscreen with a six-speaker sound system. A premium instrumentation cluster with 7-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) with customizable settings keeps drivers in-the-know with a hybrid system power meter, eco-mode indicator, speedometer, and tachometer, coolant temperature, one-touch 3-blink lane change turn signal indicator, and warning messages.

Safety features include a high-tensile strength steel body panels to provide a strong shell for the unitized body construction, and front and rear energy-absorbing crumple zones with side-impact door beams come standard on every model. On the inside, an Advanced Airbag System includes driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, front passenger seat cushion airbag, rear seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard with Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist, Lane Tracing Assist and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert are an available option.

Toyota says the hybrid powertrain and battery were a natural fit for the new Corolla because of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform. The nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack employs new technology called Hyper-Prime Nickel to boost battery performance. The battery’s smaller size and flatter shape allow it to be packaged under the rear seat, rather than taking up trunk space, and allowing a 60/40 split folding rear seatback to expand cargo capacity. 

The engine works in concert with the electric motor (MG2) for a responsive performance, while energy efficiency is achieved by using both electric motors (MG1 and MG2) for hybrid battery charging. The brand says that when pulling away, the battery provides a subtle power boost to put less strain on the engine and eliminate the “rubber band” effect experienced with some hybrids.

A preload differential adds to the acceleration feel. During low loads and low differential rotation, differential-limited torque is distributed to the left and right wheels for handling stability. At mid-range and high engine loads, the preload differential functions as an open differential.

Corolla Hybrid has EV mode, which allows the vehicle to be operated as a pure electric vehicle for short distances, depending upon certain conditions, such as battery charge level. The Vehicle Proximity Notification feature alerts pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence when running in battery mode.

Adding more efficiency is the Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, which coordinates operation between the regenerative braking force of the electric motors and the hydraulic braking system force to provide stopping power. Toyota says if there is ever a malfunction in the ECB system, the conventional hydraulic braking system can stop the vehicle.

The vehicle's gas engine, the 2ZR-FXE 1.8L inline four-cylinder, was designed for a hybrid application. A long-stroke configuration employs the Atkinson cycle, which uses a high-compression ratio (13.0:1) along with a shorter intake stroke and longer expansion stroke than the Otto cycle. The Atkinson cycle extracts more energy from the fuel, and the electric motors compensate for reduced low-end power (versus the Otto cycle).

An exhaust heat recirculation system speeds up engine coolant warm-up, allowing the hybrid system to stop the gas engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed. The PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heater quickly provides cabin heat electrically in cold temperatures.

The Corolla Hybrid rolls on 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels with low-rolling resistance tires. As on the Corolla gas models, the new multi-link rear suspension improves agility and comfort compared to the previous-generation Corolla sedan.

Safety Features

The Corolla Hybrid features eight standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System and Smart Stop Technology. All Corolla models come equipped with a standard backup camera.

Significantly, all 2022 Corolla models are equipped as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, an advanced suite of integrated active safety features, including:

  • PCS (Pre-Collision System) is designed to automatically activate the brakes to help avoid a collision or mitigate the impact force. PCS is able to detect a vehicle or pedestrian in day and low-light conditions, as well as a bicycle during daylight.
  • Full-Speed DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control) is designed for highway use, designed to maintain a set vehicle-to-vehicle distance and is also capable of low-speed following up to speeds of about 24 MPH. The Corolla can stop when the vehicle ahead comes to a stop, maintaining an appropriate distance to it.
  • LDA (Lane Departure Alert) w/ Steer Assist is designed to give the driver audible and visual warnings and, if necessary, provides steering assistance if it detects the possibility of leaving the driving lane. It also detects excess weaving within the driving lane that might indicate driver distraction, inattention, or drowsiness.
  • LTA (Lane Tracing Assist) is enabled when LDA and DRCC are both on and active. LTA employs a lane centering function that will make constant steering inputs to help the driver keep the vehicle in its lane. LTA is designed for uses on relatively straight highways to preemptively avoid unwanted lane departures and reduce driver fatigue.
  • AHB (Automatic High Beam), when enabled, detects the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles and automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate.
  • RSA (Road Sign Assist) is designed to recognize speed limit, Stop, Yield and Do Not Enter signs and display them on the vehicles MID to help assist the driver.

The 2022-MY LE grade, FWD vehicle, starts at an MSRP of $23,750.

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