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2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review: Great Car, But Many People Want a Hybrid

Last week when I test-drove the 2023 Toyota Corolla XSE Hatchback for this review, I had lots of great arguments, except one: I wish Toyota would also offer a hybrid version. I hope Toyota ads the hybrid Corolla in the coming years.

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The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback benefits from a series of updates designed to increase its appeal to compact sedan buyers looking for a versatile compact. Competition in the segment may not be what it used to be, but it remains strong. While the most powerful Corolla variant features a four-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower, some critics argue that it lacks the verve seen in competitors like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 Hatchback. While the driving experience compared to Honda and Mazda may be different in many ways, the 2023 Corolla shines in a number of other aspects when it comes to driving experience.

What's New In 2023 Corolla?

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has undergone some notable changes, as I reported in our Torque News Youtube Channel below.

Toyota introduced the first major updates to the Corolla Hatchback for the 2023 model year, giving it a slightly revamped look. The changes include a redesigned grille, LED headlights, and a rear bumper with chrome accents. Additionally, the SE and XSE models received a new rear diffuser and fresh 18-inch Gloss Graphite wheels.

Despite these visual enhancements, Nightshade and Apex trims are not offered in 2023, and the base L trim has been removed, making LE models the new entry-level option for the Corolla Hatchback lineup. These alterations aim to provide a refreshed and modern appearance to the 2023 Corolla Hatchback, as Toyota continues to adapt to evolving car buyer preferences. However, Toyota quickly changed its mind and confirmed that the Nightshade edition will be back in 2024.

The changes made to the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback not only focus on aesthetics but also introduce adjustments in trim levels and model offerings. The revamp includes the introduction of SE and XLE trim levels for Corolla Hybrid models, providing consumers with more choices. Moreover, Toyota has made all-wheel drive optional for Hybrid SE and LE trims, enhancing the vehicle's versatility.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Review: the engine

A significant powertrain upgrade sees the replacement of the 139-hp 1.8-liter engine with a more powerful 169-hp 2.0-liter engine for certain trims. Sadly, the 2023 Corolla bids farewell to the optional six-speed manual transmission, now exclusively offering an automatic transmission. These changes reflect Toyota's commitment to keeping the Corolla lineup competitive and aligned with the evolving needs and preferences of drivers.

2023 Toyota Corolla Trims and Pricing

The 2023 Toyota Corolla offers a diverse range of trims to cater to various preferences and needs. When I say diverse range, I mean it as in 2023 Toyota offered eight trims for the Corolla. The lineup includes the LE Sedan, Hybrid LE Sedan, SE Hatchback, SE Sedan, Hybrid SE Sedan, XSE Hatchback, Hybrid XLE Sedan, and XSE Sedan. Each trim is designed with specific features and characteristics, allowing buyers to choose a model that aligns with their preferences. Whether you're inclined towards the efficiency of a hybrid or the sportier features of the hatchback, the Corolla's extensive trim options provide flexibility for different drivers. From the practical LE Sedan to the more performance-oriented XSE models, Toyota ensures there's a Corolla trim suitable for everyone.

When considering the pricing of the 2023 Toyota Corolla trims, it's essential to weigh the features and capabilities each model offers. The LE Sedan comes at a starting price of $22,795, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers. For those seeking hybrid efficiency, the Hybrid LE Sedan is priced at $24,145. The SE Hatchback and SE Sedan offer a balance between affordability and enhanced features at $24,250 and $25,235, respectively. Moving up the range, the Hybrid SE Sedan is available for $26,585, providing a hybrid option with additional features. The XSE Hatchback, Hybrid XLE Sedan, and XSE Sedan, all priced at $27,675 and $27,945, respectively, cater to buyers looking for a more premium driving experience. Ultimately, the choice of which one to buy depends on individual preferences, with the Corolla lineup offering a suitable option for various tastes and requirements.

2023 Corolla Hatchback's Exterior Design

As I mentioned in the What's New in 2023 section above, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback undergoes a refined exterior design, showcasing a blend of sophistication and modernity. A prominent feature is the adoption of LED headlights, a design cue borrowed from the top-tier GR Corolla version. These LED headlights not only enhance visibility but also contribute to a more aggressive and contemporary front fascia.

The grille of the Corolla Hatchback has been redesigned, imparting a fresh and distinctive look. Specifically, on the XSE variants, which offer a more luxurious driving experience, the fog lights are elegantly framed in chrome, adding a touch of sophistication to the vehicle's frontal aesthetics.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Review, exterior design changes

Moving to the rear, the 2023 model introduces a new gloss black diffuser with chrome accents, contributing to a harmonious and refined appearance. This design choice aligns with a trim-only approach, emphasizing a clean and tailored aesthetic at the back. Additionally, the inclusion of new 18-inch Gloss Graphite alloy wheels not only enhances the vehicle's visual appeal but also brings a sense of modernity and style to its overall profile. The Corolla Hatchback's exterior design for 2023 reflects a meticulous attention to detail, combining elements of elegance and contemporary aesthetics.

Hatchback Corolla's 2023 Interior

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback offers an interior that really nicely combines quality materials and tactile comfort. The cabin, adorned with soft-touch surfaces, exudes a sense of refinement, with only a few piano black plastic accents that don't detract from the overall pleasant experience.

Front-seat occupants are treated to comfort and support, making long journeys a kind of breeze. In the rear, the outer seats are sculpted to enhance support, but the central seat is less comfortable due to the typical hump found in that area.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Review, interior upgrades and touchscreen

The multimedia system takes a step forward with an updated eight-inch touchscreen, featuring seamless compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the latter being wireless. The native system is user-friendly, and the physical appearance of the climate controls adds a convenient touch for everyday use. Adding to the modern conveniences, the Corolla Hatchback includes a well-placed pad for wireless smartphone charging.

When it comes to practicality, the Corolla Hatchback offers a commendable 660 liters of cargo space behind the rear seats. While front legroom is satisfactory, rear legroom is more limited for adult passengers, making it suitable for short trips but prompting consideration for longer journeys with occupants. 

I like Toyota's upgrade infotainment system The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback features a standard touchscreen system equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot for enhanced connectivity on the go. The prominent 8.0-inch touchscreen bezel commands attention on the dashboard, complemented by a thoughtful design that incorporates numerous hard buttons and rotary volume and tuning knobs. This layout prioritizes driver safety by facilitating easy and intuitive control without diverting attention from the road.

By the way, in case you may want to update the software in your Corolla or any recent Toyota vehicle, see my tutorial, which I did, while I was reviewing the 2023 Corolla Hatchback.

Also, the Corolla Hatchback offers top-tier options such as wireless charging, providing convenient power for devices, and an upgraded JBL audio system for a superior in-car audio experience. These features collectively contribute to a technologically advanced and user-friendly infotainment experience in the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

The Drive

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback drives smoothly and comfortably. It's not a powerhouse, but it offers a pleasant experience with its responsive engine and precise steering. The car handles well, navigating turns with ease thanks to its well-tuned suspension. The CVT transmission operates seamlessly, and for those seeking a bit of sportiness, paddle shifters are available for added control.

While the ride comfort can be a tad rough at times, it's essential to note that it's not comparable to a luxury car like a Lexus. However, this doesn't make the driving experience uncomfortable.

In terms of fuel consumption, the Corolla Hatchback shines, scoring competitively with an impressive combined average of 6.8 liters per 100 kilometers. This makes it one of the most fuel-efficient options in its class, adding to its appeal as a practical and economical choice for drivers.

Concluding Words From The Editor About The 2023 Corolla Hatchback

Overall, I think the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback impresses with its attractive styling, lots of safety features, and a hyper-efficient hybrid powertrain. However, the underachieving four-cylinder engine could have been upgraded in my opinion. It would be a welcome addition if Toyota offered a hybrid or manual version, although introducing a hybrid might make it closely resemble the Prius

This vehicle deserves a serious consideration The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a solid option in the compact category.

What's your opinion about the 2023 Corolla? Please, share in the comments section below for disussion.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News TwitterFacebokLinkedin and Youtube. He has more than a decade of expertise in the automotive industry with a special interest in Tesla and electric vehicles.

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