2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid Hatch Review

New Toyota Corolla gets mid-life update w/ Gen 5 hybrid. We examine new features, performance & fuel efficiency.

Jacob Brooke
Expert reviewer
Updated on
February 9, 2024
Saucey score


  • Awesome infotainment display
  • Nice boost in power which is noticeable
  • Unbelievable fuel economy


  • Rear seats are pretty lacklustre
  • Boot space is very small
  • Cloth seats feel a bit cheap
Car specs

103kW + 142Nm

$34,280 + On-roads


5-Star ANCAP

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The crowd favourite Toyota Corolla has just received its mid-life update so we thought we’d revisit it and see how it fares against the likes of the Hyundai i30 and Mazda 3, among other popular hatchbacks. While not typically our pick of a hatchback, given the slow nature of the older versions, we thought we’d give Toyota another chance to wow us with their improved hybrid drivetrain (Generation 5) and see if that extra power and torque will translate into real-world performance.

We’ll be taking an in-depth look at all the new features and updates to the interior of this mid-spec Corolla Hatch, and take it on the road to test its capabilities around Saucy corner, launch it 0-100km/h, and see if it can do it all while still being one of the most fuel-efficient hatchbacks in the world.

How much does the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid cost?

The 2023 Toyota Corolla range kicks off at $28,630 (excl. on-roads) for the Ascent Sport Hatch, which is increased to $31,780 for the SX Hatch, and $34,280 for the Hybrid SX Hatch, which we tested today.

This puts the SX Hybrid smack-bang in the middle of the updated Corolla lineup, behind the ZR and ZR Hybrid which are $35,620 and $38,120 (excl. on-roads) respectively for the Hatch variants, with these higher trims also commanding a $1500 premium for the Sedan body style.

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What do we think of the exterior looks of the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid?

If you’ve been on the road before, chances are you’ve seen a bunch of Toyota Corollas driving around, and they can definitely fly under the radar. The SX Hatch does feature LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights which are nice and bright, they operate automatically and you also get auto-high-beam.

Only the ZR trim gets 18-inch alloys, though the SX and SX Hybrid do share the entry-level 16-inch alloys which look ok, and our test car was fitted with Bridgestone Ecopia tyres which performed quite comically during our 0-100km/h launches, more on that later.

You get tinted privacy glass on the back windows and rear windscreen, keyless entry and go, and Toyota’s signature blue-accented logo to signify “electricity”, for their Hybrid models. There is also a reverse parking camera fitted with pretty average quality.

Available in 8 colours, we had Jasper Red which looks more orange in the sun, though there is an even more orange “Sunstone Orange” option, and all colours apart from the basic white cost an extra $601.

There are Hybrid badges on the sides and rear, and apart from that and the wheels, it looks like any other Corolla Hatch. This is definitely not a bad thing, just a little boring!

What’s the interior and connectivity like of the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid?

The interior has been improved most notably in terms of the infotainment system and digital instrument cluster. Up ahead you will notice the new 7-inch digital instrument cluster, it is bright and clear and shows plenty of information so no complaints there. 

The biggest improvement is definitely the infotainment display, on the Ascent and SX variants you get an 8-inch screen with fairly large piano black bezels, and an awesome new processor so it everything loads quickly and the touchscreen is snappy and overall really enjoyable to use. The inbuilt navigation is probably one of the most usable I’ve seen so props to Toyota on  Another great new addition to the infotainment system of the 2023 Toyota Corolla lineup is Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and the Apple Carplay worked perfectly without any dropouts (looking at you Hyundai and Mitsubishi).

Continuing the wireless theme we get a wireless charger that fits the latest iPhones and keeps the phone secured in place while you throw your beefy hybrid hatch around Saucy Corner. Connectivity otherwise is decent with a USB-C port next to the wireless charger (on the passenger side), and another USB-C port inside the centre armrest storage along with a 12V socket, and a cable passthrough, nice!

I like the physical climate controls situated below the infotainment display they work quite well and have a bright digital analogue temperature display, though the glossy black finish does definitely show scratches and smudge marks fairly quickly. This is the same for the centre console, around the automatic shifter the piano black plastic is impossible to keep scratch free.

The shifter itself is a nice faux-leather-wrapped unit that feels premium - just like the steering wheel, and I’m a big fan of the grippy matte black finish on the buttons, they feel a lot nicer than some of the other aforementioned materials. Just in front of the shifter we also get our ‘EV’ and drive mode buttons, which allow us to switch between EV-only mode or ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, and ‘POWER’ hybrid drive modes.

The colours are a little bland which is par for the course for Toyota products, we get black surfaces pretty much everywhere, and the black cloth seats which are manually adjustable and quite comfortable do mix it up with a grey pattern, but still look a little boring and lack a bit of lumbar support which can make them a little uncomfortable over long distances.

That is kind of the whole point of this mid-spec Toyota Corolla Hatch though, to be a car that can do everything well whilst being as inoffensive as possible, and in that regard, it has hit the nail on the head, and I really believe that Toyota has made some much-needed improvements that have bumped the Corolla a couple of notches up in my book.

What about the Back seats of the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid?

The back seats are where the Corolla hatch starts to fall down in comparison to the competition. The leg room isn’t great, with limited toe room as well and the head room is decent if you can avoid knocking your head against the C pillars where the roof begins to slope down significantly…

If you thought things were gloomy up front with all the black then you won’t enjoy the back seats very much at all, and it almost feels like rear occupants were a bit of an afterthought given that there is a complete lack of air vents and charging ports in the back. All you get is a small storage area, perhaps designed to store all the written complaints from Uber passengers, complaining of lack of space and oxygen.

Apart from that, you get small door bins and a fold-down soft armrest with a couple of cupholders, and mat pockets on the front seats. The seats themselves are nice and padded, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be sitting back there on a long road trip.

How much can it fit in the boot of the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid boot?

Boot space on the Corolla SX Hybrid is very limited at 217L, due to a space-saver spare wheel, as well as the independent rear suspension which eats into space a little bit. On the entry-level Ascent Hatch you get a full size spare because of the absence of the independent rear suspension, which means boot size is similarly bad across the range. Of course this isn’t helped by the hybrid battery pack.

You do get some deep storage areas on the sides which is good, but overall the shape of the boot makes it a little awkward to get bulky items back there. You should expect to only be able to fit a single large suitcase.

Luckily you can fold down the rear seats flat for extra storage, at the expense of the lives of your rear passengers. Overall, the practicality of the Toyota Corolla Hatch is a bit disappointing.

What’s under the bonnet of the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid?

Powering the 2023 Toyota Corolla lineup, as well as a range of their other products is Toyota’s new generation hybrid power system. You get a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor at the front, which is connected to a new high-output generator.

This translates to about a 15% bump in power output, combined power is now 103kW, with 142Nm of torque. This power is sent exclusively to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The increase in power output is definitely felt, and thankfully not at the expense of fuel economy, which is claimed at 4L/100km, and we can verify those figures are met in the real world.

How does the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid drive?

The updated Corolla Hatch is a bit of a silent performer when it comes to its driving ability, and it’s thanks to that new hybrid system that we get some pretty spritely performance from about 0-50km/h, with a lot of the pep coming from the electric motor so torque is instant and smooth. That is, of course, when the tyres manage to actually grip the tarmac.

Unfortunately, when testing the car we had some wet weather conditions and so we discovered that the Bridgestone Ecopia tyres, paired with Toyota’s improved hybrid power train, really don’t play well in the wet. Despite the immense amount of wheel spin, we still managed a 0-100km/h launch in 10.6 seconds, quite far from the claimed sub-9 second launches that some have had.

When you aren’t launching the car or driving like an idiot, the Corolla SX Hatch now has quite a refined ride. This is due to the independent rear suspension which allows the rear wheels to articulate independently and therefore reduces the amount of pitch and vibration that makes its way into the cabin. This has a noticeable effect on comfort, which is excellent at this price range, even while driving on gravel we found that alot of the bumpiness was mitigated by the suspension, which is pretty impressive. Yes, it eats into boot space, but this is the price you must pay for comfort, in the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatch.

The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is not an issue in the Hybrid, and around town the engine is almost silent. In fact it stays in EV mode alot of the time, then you take it on the highway and the 1.8-litre inline 4-cylinder engine kicks into action smoothly and quietly. Speaking of driving on the highway, the semi-autonomous driving systems on board seem to have been improved, with the lane centering working very well alongside adaptive cruise control, meaning the Corolla essentially drives itself on the highway. You can also drive in “one pedal” mode with regenerative braking, which recharges the hybrid battery through engine braking, though it won’t bring you to a complete stop.

Taking the car out to the back roads, you wouldn’t expect a mid-spec Corolla Hatch to be a corner carver but surprisingly, it handles pretty well. The steering has a nice weight to it with good feedback, and body roll is present but not really a problem. The front end feels pretty nimble and combined with the extra power from the electric motor, there is definitely some fun to be had with the new Corolla Hatch.

Overall, the level of road comfort, driving dynamics and safety technology makes this updated Corolla feel like a premium vehicle (if you look past the cloth seats), which at this price point is really something. 

Is the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid Safe?

The Toyota Corolla has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating for all hatch variants (excluding the GR) which it achieved in 2018, receiving a score of 96% for adult occupant protection and 83% for child occupant protection. It has the following suite of safety systems:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with:
  • Junction assist
  • Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane tracing assistance
  • Lane departure warning
  • Emergency steering assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition
  • Reverse parking camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Safe exit assistance

How much does the 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid cost to service?

Like the rest of the Toyota range, the 2023 Toyota Corolla is covered by a five-year unlimited-kilometer warranty that can be extended to 7 years if you service exclusively through Toyota dealerships.

This warranty is extended to cover the high-voltage Li-Ion battery and this gets extended to 10 years if you service through Toyota and complete their yearly battery checks.

Logbook servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first, with the first 5 services capped at a total of $1225 for the first 5 years.

Final thoughts - should you buy a 2023 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid?

Toyota have made precisely the changes that they needed to make for the Corolla range, and I would even say that this could be one of the best all around hatchbacks for the money. The practicality and lack of space and connectivity in the back is a real shame, though from Toyota's perspective, that is what the Corolla Cross and RAV4 are for.

I would recommend the Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid Hatch to anyone looking for a safe, reliable hatchback that can fit a couple of kids in the back, want extreme fuel efficiency, doesn’t have many bags, and still wants to have a little fun on the back roads every once in a while. If this is you, the new Corolla Hatch is the perfect option in the budget price range.

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Jacob Brooke
Jacob Brooke, a respected voice in the world of automotive journalism, brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to his reviews at CarSauce. His keen eye for detail and passion for all things cars shine through in his in-depth analysis and honest evaluations of the latest models of cars. Join him as he guides readers through the car-buying process and explores the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

103kW + 142Nm

$34,280 + On-roads


5-Star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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