## Toyota launches Corolla hybrid models in Japan

##### 06 August 2013

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) launched hybrid versions of the Corolla Axio sedan and Corolla Fielder station wagon in Japan. In addition, there will be a special Corolla Fielder Hybrid G Aerotourer·WxB grade. Monthly sales target for Japan are 1,000 units of the Corolla Axio hybrid and 1,500 units of the Corolla Fielder hybrid.

The vehicles are equipped with a 1.5-liter hybrid system akin to that in the Prius c (earlier post) and that achieves a fuel efficiency of 33.0 km/L (77.6 mpg US, 3.0 l/100 km) under the JC08 test cycle of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

The vehicles also exceed the MLIT fuel efficiency standard for 2015 by 20% and achieve emissions levels 75% lower than the 2005 standards under the MLIT's Approval System for Low-Emission Vehicles, making them eligible for tax reductions under the Japanese government’s tax incentive program for environment-friendly vehicles.

Corolla Hybrid specifications
Engine Model 1NZ-FXE
Displacement 1,496 cc
Maximum output 54 kW (72 hp) / 4,800 rpm
Maximum torque 111 N·m (82 lb-ft) / 3,600-4,400 rpm
Motor Maximum output 45 kW (60 hp)
Maximum torque 169 N·m (125 lb-ft)
Complete system Maximum output 73 kW (98 hp)

The vehicles feature the fuel-efficient Atkinson-cycle engine, as well as a cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system to further improve engine efficiency.

The water pump is driven by an electric motor, thus eliminating the need for a drive belt. Not only is friction loss reduced, coolant flow rate can be very precisely controlled, contributing to improved fuel economy.

The NiMH hybrid battery is placed under the rear seat for more efficient use of interior space. Rear seat knee space is 640 mm, achieving comfort on par with gasoline-engine vehicles. Luggage space is also comparable to gasoline-engine vehicles, with the Corolla Axio possessing 461 liters and the Corolla Fielder possessing 407 liters when carrying five passengers and 872 liters when carrying two passengers.

Suspension and shock absorber settings were adjusted to accommodate the increased weight and lower center of gravity of the hybrid system. The use of additional sound insulation material and noise-reducing windshield glass further enhances cabin quietness.

Two drive modes come standard: the Eco-Drive Mode that gives highest priority to fuel economy and the EV Drive Mode for using only the electric motor.

Also standard is a Vehicle Proximity Notification System designed to warn pedestrians—and other people in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle—of the approach of a quiet hybrid car, and the Hill-start Assist Control function that is designed to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards.

Starting price for the Axio Hybrid is ¥1,925,000 (US$19,589); starting price for the Fielder Hybrid is ¥2,085,000 (US$21,217).

Presumably it is cheaper than a Prius in Japan.

Question is - would you buy it or would you rather have the green halo that comes with buying a Prius.

A Corolla hybrid is a rather anonymous car (like the Auris hybrid), so it is all about saving money on fuel, rather than being seen to be green (as well).

The new generation Corolla Hybrid (2014?) has better looks, is as fuel frugal and seems to be cheaper to buy than the current Prius III.

It may become a winner for Toyota.

The popular version is about \$22,500. Japanese taste is a little different than what would be popular in the states however.

Personally, I'd rather go with the hatchback design of the Prius if they were both the same money and even if they got the same mileage. There's less and less of a halo associated with the Prius as more hybrid models become available.

For mileage comparison the 2010 Prius (Gen III) is rated at 89.4 mpg (U.S.) on the JC08 test cycle.

This vehicle is rated at 77.6 mpg using the same method and measures.

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