2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid SE AWD Review

The little, affordable master of winter

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Stylish outside, pragmatic inside, excellent all-wheel drive system, easy to operate, decent rear seat room.
Negatives: Dog slow, numb steering, some tiny control buttons.
Bottom Line: Toyota gives buyers a great reason to seriously consider the Corolla Hybrid over the competition by adding all-wheel drive. It makes Corolla better to drive, sure-footed, and extremely fun in winter.
No one will argue that the venerable Corolla is affordable, practical, and reliable. Toyota saw fit to give it all-wheel drive for 2024, and it's thankfully available across every Corolla sedan trim level ranging from the base LE all the way to the top-trim XSE. Even fully loaded, the Corolla Hybrid AWD is priced $20k lower than the average price of a new car in 2024. Our SE tester came standard with heated seats, Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, and even a Sports Suspension paired with a Sport Driving Mode exclusive to the trim level. We drove it for a week to see how two more driven wheels changes the flavor of the Corolla Hybrid.

Driving Experience



There's nothing exciting about driving a Corolla Hybrid. It's slow, the steering is devoid of feedback, and there's palpable body roll in the turns. All that said, when you drive it hard (as hard as one can) in the snow, it's actually quite enjoyable. There are zero surprises, except for the fact that you can tactfully and controllably move past most vehicles when the snow gets deep. It's all attributable to the four-wheel traction via two rear electric motors, sub-3,000-lb curb weight, and compact size.

Ride Quality: The Corolla Hybrid's ride quality is on the firm side, but it's not upsetting as it seems to manage bumps and uneven pavement well. The 18" tires, no doubt, contribute to the firmer ride.

Acceleration: The low output, added AWD weight, and the CVT contribute to a slow 9-second sprint to 60 mph. On the bright side, it actually feels quicker than it is.

Braking: The brakes work fine, and stopping distances are about average, a little bit longer from 70-0 than the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Steering: The steering is fairly accurate and decently responsive, but there is no feedback coming through, unsurprising for a car like this.

Handling: Some noticeable body roll is present, but the all-wheel drive traction helps in the corners and mitigates oversteer. Control in the snow is excellent.




Although the software in all Corollas has been updated, the system in the Corolla is just ok. It's fine in terms of usability and controls, but it's no looker. At least it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard along with Amazon Alexa capability and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Infotainment System: The 8-inch touchscreen is, at least, easy to use and not difficult to navigate. It responds to inputs well, and making selections isn't too distracting from the driving experience.

Controls: Sadly, the physical buttons that flanked the touchscreen are now gone, and those functions are now relegated to the touchscreen. At least there are physical climate controls, and the steering wheel controls are pretty good.




The SE trim level is the sportiest looking version of the Corolla, even more than the gold-wheeled Hybrid Nightshade version. The dark trim and larger wheels give the car more presence. We like the styling of this generation's car more than the last one's angularity. The cabin has a cheap look and feel, and the seat fabric and hard plastics aren't nearly as good as the ones found in Hyundai and Honda at this price.

Front: The dark mesh grille on the SE gives the already attractive front end a sportier look. We like the shapely headlights and the clamshell hood, although the hood could have more creasing.

Rear: Everything looks good from the back, including the split taillights, simple decklid spoiler, faux diffuser, and the twin exhaust ports.

Profile: The Corolla Hybrid is well proportioned with properly-sized front and rear overhangs and wheels and tires that fill the wells. The black trim around the windows, the dark wheels, and the simple crease that runs from the front wheel to the back end give this affordable sedan a handsome look.

Cabin: The Corolla Hybrid's cabin is nice but a bit overstyled in places. Some cheap plastics are apparent, but that's no surprise at the price. The broad-shouldered cloth seats look good. The two-tone colorway helps break things up. It's not nearly as nice inside as the Honda Civic, Mazda3, or the Hyundai Elantra.




The Corolla sedan is roomier in back than the hatchback, and it manages to be just about right for four adults, even tall ones. Everything looks and feels better inside compared to the old car.

Front Seats: The seats feel comfortable with the right balance of bolstering and support.

Rear Seats: There's almost five more inches of rear legroom in the sedan, making it much better for two passengers. The middle position cushion is too high, compromising headroom for the center passenger.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Like all Toyotas, the sedan is well-built with no noise problems. Sound insulation could be improved when it comes to highway speeds.

Visibility: Sightlines are good, and the back isn't too bad even though the pillars are on the thicker side. The sloping nose in front helps place the car in tight spaces.

Climate: The climate system works well, but the vents should be upsized for a bit better airflow.




The Corolla does very well in safety tests, and it comes with a great set of standard safety features that are class-leading.

IIHS Rating: It earned the Top Safety Pick, just missing the top score due to "marginal" and "acceptable" headlights, depending on trim. It nailed every other category.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 has a full set of great features like Pre-Collision System w/ Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert w/ Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist; Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Seat Warning, and an Integrated Backup Camera w/ Projected Path.

Optional Tech: None.




Sometimes styling has to eclipse practicality. Though the Corolla will have plenty of space for most folks, it's only about average when it comes to trunk space and cabin storage.

Storage Space: Aside from the center console's cupholders, the small armrest, and a shallow cubby in front of the shifter, there's not much for gear in the cabin.

Cargo Room: The trunk is only about average with 13 cubic feet of space. The seats fold down but not completely flat, and the hinge setup intrudes on the usable space.

Fuel Economy



We drove the Corolla Hybrid pretty hard most of the time in order to extract what minimum performance chops it has. The 44 combined EPA rating for a hybrid all-wheel drive vehicle is worth noting. It should be attainable under normal driving conditions rather than the Sport mode we drove in 100 percent of the time.

Observed: 34.4 mpg.

Distance Driven: 277 miles.




Our tester didn't have the JBL audio upgrade. The 6-speaker system is just ok with a lack of bass and fullness. The sound was undistorted, and the system worked well.

Final Thoughts

The Corolla Hybrid with all-wheel drive is an excellent winter car. Although it's not quick or thrilling, matters change when it snows and the car is able to manage more than just a few inches of snow without any issues. It becomes tractable and nimble, where as on dry pavement, it's about average. The Corolla Hybrid looks good, its tech is easy to operate, its supremely safe, and the efficiency is impressive. We were pleasantly surprised by it and recommend it for the buyer who wants real four-seasons drivability, efficiency, and safety.

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