The Toyota GR Corolla is undoubtedly the hottest new addition to the Corolla’s lineup for the 2023 model year but the automaker has interesting upgrades for the more humble versions of the model. Leading the novelties is a more powerful hybrid system and there’s also an available all-wheel drive, plus a new combustion engine.

Starting with the latter, the most popular trim level of the Corolla, the LE, now gets a 2.0-liter gas engine with 169 horsepower replacing the previous 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 139 hp. The new mill is not only more powerful but also more efficient by nearly two miles per gallon on average compared to the 1.8-liter unit. All 2023 Corolla models with a gas engine come with a CVT, which gets paddle shifters to engage 10 pre-set gear ratios in the SE and XSE grades.

Gallery: 2023 Toyota Corolla

The biggest news, however, has to be the new hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain. It has a rear-mounted electric motor that power the rear wheels. Toyota doesn’t reveal output numbers but says the system engages the rear electric motor not only as a response to slippage at the front but also to enhance cornering and reduce understeer.

All 2023 Corolla Hybrid models have a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine, while a newly-developed motor has been added to the hybrid system with a redesigned magnet and electromagnetic steel plate configuration. The lithium-ion battery has also been upgraded and is now located under the rear seat for a lower center of gravity. For the 2023 model year, the previously available Corolla Hybrid LE FWD trim is joined by four new hybrid models –  LE AWD, SE, SE AWD, and XLE.

Standard on all 2023 Corolla grades is Toyota’s 8.0-inch infotainment system with over-the-air updates, a voice-activated assistant, and a cloud-based navigation system. Optionally available on the Corolla SE, XSE, and XLE is a JBL premium audio system with nine speakers and an 800-watt amplifier. Leather upholstery, ambient lighting, wireless phone charging pad, and other cool features are also part of the optional equipment.

On the safety side, Toyota introduces version 3.0 of its Toyota Safety Sense family of safety technologies. It now includes enhanced versions of lane departure warning with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, automatic high beam, pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, and lane tracing assist. The 2023 Corolla is also available with front and rear parking sensors and a parking camera.

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