2023 Toyota Corolla LE Hybrid AWD

You still get the easy to drive and fuel-efficient front-drive dynamics but with the added security of automatic all-wheel-drive.
You still get the easy to drive and fuel-efficient front-drive dynamics but with the added security of automatic all-wheel-drive.

by Arthur Chiang | April 12, 2023


Over 70 nameplates color a long and storied history for Japan’s largest automaker, Toyota. Names like Corolla, RAV4, and Camry – one of these happens to be the best selling in the world, with over 50 million units sold since initial release in 1966. If you haven’t guessed yet, we’re talking about the Toyota Corolla. Now in its twelfth generation, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE AWD arrives with some significant new tricks up its sleeve.

For most of my driving lifetime, the ubiquitous compact sedan has long been the de facto choice for anyone looking for the most economical and reliable appliance to get them from point A to point B (usually in some shade of beige). When Toyota revamped its entire lineup to be more fun and exciting, the Corolla was swept up in the effort and the result was staggering compared to the North American Corollas of old.

At first glance it’s not difficult to fish out the Corolla’s econobox roots. Though not beige, the Celestite paint of our test vehicle has a generic metallic baby blue tint that blends into its surroundings. It rides on 15-inch wheels wrapped in skinny 195/65R15 tires – tiny by today’s standards. And for reasons not immediately obvious to us the little alloys even sport a set of plastic hub cap covers. Then there is the interior and its wall-to-wall hard black plastics. It may not look or feel all that great, but you can tell that it will probably last forever.

Upon closer examination, this new Corolla is utterly packed with modern features. The five year old exterior design still looks modern and is updated with a set of LED headlights. Though the interior is quite basic, the fabric seats have some interesting stitchwork, and more importantly are heated and comfortable. The bean counters at Toyota have allowed for a heated leather wrapped steering wheel, offering a huge tactile upgrade to what you’ll be interacting with the most.

Corolla continues to impress with a seven-inch color TFT Multi Information Display provides clear at a glance information, while an eight-inch touchscreen drives Toyota’s excellent new multimedia interface. It’s a huge improvement over the previous system with its snappy interface and easy to navigate menus. Driving six speakers the sound quality is surprisingly good, with full wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to boot. To top it off there is even a backup camera and automatic climate control. USB-C outlets further showcase just how modern the technology in this Corolla is.

The improvements continue under the skin too. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder Hybrid Synergy Drive now puts out 134 horsepower and 156 lb-ft. of torque, up from last year’s 121 and 105 respectively, to support the biggest upgrade of them all, an all-wheel-drive system. This new system uses a dedicated electric motor to send power to the rear wheels whenever conditions demand extra traction.

You still get the easy to drive and fuel-efficient front-drive dynamics but with the added security of automatic all-wheel-drive. when needed. Paired up with those skinny wheels we mentioned earlier and a set of snow tires, the Corolla Hybrid AWD makes for a fantastic winter commuter handling deep snow conditions with ease.

Those small wheels also aid in providing a light and nimble handling characteristic with Macpherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension. Steering is assisted with an electronic power steering module, which also allows for Toyota’s latest and greatest suite of active safety features to come along for the party. Lane tracing assist and dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management really take the fatigue out of long stints on the highway; the Corolla seems almost capable of driving itself. With rear cross traffic alert, pre-collision alert and blind spot monitoring there isn’t a whole lot more you could ask for with regards to active safety.

Though zero to 100km/h acceleration is still quite slow at over nine seconds, initial take off is smooth aided by electric power. With a press of the EV Mode button and enough charge in the on-board lithium-Ion battery, you can cruise around silently under solely electric power at speeds up to 30km/h. Disc brakes all around provide good stopping power and harness energy for the battery.

Even with the addition of all-wheel-drive, fuel economy is still impressive, rated at 4.6L/100km city, 5.4L/100km highway and 4.9L/100km combined. Our week of winter wonderland testing resulted in an observed 5.1L/100km, a great result that we expect will be even better in less severe conditions. Naturally, only regular 87-octane fuel is required.

The front-drive Corolla Hybrid starts at $29,104, a tough pill to swallow when you can have the AWD LE for $30,599. Beyond the economy car bones, we are blown away by the sheer content on offer here. They say that a “rising tide lifts all ships”, and we couldn’t get that out of our minds as we unearthed more and more of the modern-day features that have trickled down and became adopted into this little compact. With the new Prius going more premium, Toyota has filled the void and then some with the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE AWD.

See Also:

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2022 Honda Civic Touring

Vehicle Specs
Compact Hybrid Sedan
Engine Size
1.8L inline-four hybrid
Horsepower (at RPM)
134 at 5,200
Torque (lb-ft.)
156 at 3,600
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Arthur Chiang

Staff Writer

Arthur is a walking encyclopedia of cars and is a known go-to source for obscure JDM parts in Ontario. He’s an avid track junkie and has amassed a collection of rare Subarus and Hondas.

Current Toys: ’00 WRX STI S201, '23 Canyon Denali, ’98 WRX STI Type R, ’97 NSX, ’72 H2 750, ’08 Ruckus