Behind the Wheel

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Review: So good, you wonder why they still make the Prius

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is surprisingly fuel-efficient and cheap.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Earlier this year, I reviewed the Toyota Prius. I said that when it first came out twenty years ago, it was for environmentalist wackos and early-adopter do-gooders who didn't mind driving a weird looking car. In fact, that was the point—to show everyone how green you were.

That new Prius gets terrific fuel economy and still looks a bit weird, but that remains the point if you want to show off how green you are. But what if you don't want to show off? What if you just want a car to get you from point A to point B? A car that is normal and doesn't stand out in a crowd?

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Toyota delivers the Corolla Hybrid on standard 15-inch wheels.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In that case, my friend, you want to get yourself a Toyota Corolla. It's the least show-offey car around and, if you buy the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, it's just as fuel efficient as the polarizing Prius. In fact, it's so good that I think it might be the best small car that you can buy today.

The Corolla has always been a top choice for small car buyers. Between it's terrific reliability and reasonable price, it's a car that's easy to recommend (if a little boring). While the Corolla Hybrid won't get any hearts racing, it checks every box and then some.

The powertrain has been transplanted from the Prius, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder unit along with the requisite battery pack. There's no plug (that is kept for the Prius Prime and the new RAV4 Prime), so you drive it just like a regular car and the only hint to the outside world that there's anything different going on is the litany of "Hybrid" badges all over the thing.

The front end is also a bit more aerodynamic than the standard Corolla, but not so much that you'd notice unless you had them side by side. Easy-rolling low-resistance tires are fitted to 15-inch wheels to complete the look — no rolling on dubs here. In other words, it looks basically like every other Corolla you've ever seen. It's inoffensive and vaguely pleasing to look at.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid The car has a a traditional shifter setup that leaves the cabin feeling spacious.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Inside, it's a little more exciting. The floating dash leads to a surprising feeling of spaciousness for the front passengers, with reasonable amounts of storage in the doors and a big pocket for a phone sitting fore of the shifter. That shifter, it's worth noting, is a standard P-R-N-D unit (with an added "B" mode that adds additional engine braking for going down a hill) so it's familiar and easy to use.

The steering wheel allows easy access to volume and media controls, as well as the buttons to control the adaptive cruise control. A big digital display for the driver keeps you apprised of what the hybrid system is doing, including a tachometer which is lets you know what the internal-combustion engine is up to — not that you'll really care.

The center infotainment stack leaves a bit to be desired. Sure, it has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa, so you're good to go there, but the buttons surrounding the 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen are completely unnecessary and use up valuable real estate that could be a larger screen. It's a nitpick, but I wish Toyota would just give us a bigger touch screen and forget all the hard plastic buttons. There's single-zone climate control which works perfectly well, and there is no center-stack Prius dash cluster.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid The Corolla Hybrid comes with a standard 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

But the most important part of the Corolla Hybrid is actually made up of two numbers. First is the fuel economy. The EPA estimates it can make 53 miles per gallon city and 52 highway, with 52 combined. And... that's exactly what I got, too. Without particularly trying, and by that I mean I was cruising down the highway in the left lane, quickly pulling away from stop lights in a manner unbecoming a hybrid, etc — basically doing everything I could to not be an economical driver — I still managed 52 mpg. It was astounding.

Then there's the price. There are basically no options to be found on the Corolla Hybrid, aside from some paint protection film ($395) and carpeted floor mats ($249), and it still lands at $24,524. You get out under $25,000 with 52 miles per gallon and a normal looking, easy to drive, friendly car that will probably run forever without any major problems.

After my week with the Corolla Hybrid, I honestly found myself asking "why would anyone buy anything else?"

I haven't come up with a good answer, yet.

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The 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Dodge's trio of fresh horsepower hellions is rounded out by the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, a 797-horsepower car that is the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.

The exterior of the model is a Charger Widebody, complete with 3.5 inches of width, which alloss for proper space for the car's wide wheels and tires. It rides on standard 20-inch-by-11-inch Lightweight Carbon Black wheels wrapped on Pirelli 305/35ZR20 tires. Three-season wheels are also available.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye The car has a revised, functional hood scoop.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The front of the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye features a mail-slot grille. Side sills connect the front and rear fascias.

Thirteen different exterior colors are available including: F8 Green, Frostbite, Go Mango, Granite Crystal, Hellraisin, IndiGo Blue, Octane Red, Pitch Black, Sinamon Stick, Smoke Show, TorRed, Triple Nickel, and White Knuckle.

The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye has a top speed of 203 mph (7 mph higher than the standard Charger SRT Hellcat), which it reaches thanks to its supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8. The engine also achieves 707 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. That all sits. below a freshly fashioned performance hood.

Dodge has given the model an upgraded torque converter, which gives the car an 18-percent increase in torque multiplication.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Dodge has given the model a number of upgrades over the traditional Charger.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

"The Charger is a big, comfortable, five-passenger sedan that can run the quarter-mile in the mid-10s, 0-60 in the mid 3s and reach a top speed of 203 mph, and be your daily driver," said said Tim Kuniskis, Global Head of Alfa Romeo and Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye runs 1.2 seconds faster than the Charger SRT Hellcat on a 2.1-mile road course, equal to about seven car lengths after one lap.

Like its Demon relative, the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye's engine has 25 major component upgrades a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, larger induction air box, two dual-stage fuel pumps, high-speed valve train, fuel injection system, SRT Power Chiller, After-Run Chiller, and improved lubrication system.

The cabin's dashboard is centered by an 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, which includes performance pages where owners can monitor the vehicles' performance on and off the track.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye The interior features standard Laguna leather seats.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The standard Laguna leather seats are embossed with the SRT Hellcat logo. Buyers can add the Alcantara Appearance Package which adds Alcantara upholstery and retains the embossed logo. Seats are stitched with silver thread.

The interior is accented by Light Black Chrome material and it features a Gunmetal SRT Hellcat instrument panel badge. Additionally, the car gets a red speedometer, Light Black Chrome instrument panel badge with SRT Hellcat Redeye logo, SRT Hellcat Redeye logo splash screen, and SRT Hellcat Redeye logo on the key fobs.

The Carbon & Suede Package, available on Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, adds real carbon fiber accents to the instrument panel and console bezels and Dinamica suede headliner, sun visors and A-pillars.

Dodge sells the model in six interior color combinations: black, black/caramel, black/Demonic Red, black/houndstooth, black/Ruby Red, and black/sepia.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye The rear of the model features familiar Dodge Charger design.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Dealer orders open for 2021 Dodge Charger models this autumn and vehicles are scheduled to start arriving in dealerships in early 2021

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The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Altitude is a new offering for this year.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Customer have spoken and Jeep has heard. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator will be available in an Altitude trim level in direct response to customer requests.

"Our Jeep Gladiator Altitude model is a direct response to customers who ask for a 'blacked-out' look directly from the factory. The Jeep Altitude models continue to resonate with customers and adding Gladiator completes this lineup," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "We are thrilled that the popular Altitude model joins the Gladiator lineup and is another way for Jeep to connect with customers."

2020 Jeep Gladiator Altitude The new model features black accents.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Gladiator Altitude joins the newer Gladiator High Altitude and Gladiator Mojave in the Jeep trucks lineup. The High Altitude model is more refined than the Altitude while the Mojave delivers desert terrain-conquering prowess.

The new 2020 Gladiator Altitude is based on the Gladiator Sport S. On the outside, it features a body-color grille with Dark Gray throats and headlamp rings, body-color fender flares, and black Jeep and Trail Rated badging. The truck rides on 18-inch Granite Crystal aluminum wheels wrapped in 255/70R18 Bridgestone Dueler All-Terrain tires.

A black Freedom hardtop is standard on Gladiator Altitude while the dual top is available.

The truck has standard black cloth seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel with black stitching and Wizard Black instrument panel mid-bolster and bezels.

Jeep equips each Gladiator Altitude with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is available.

Gladiator Altitude models will be available in Jeep showrooms early in the third quarter.

Gladiator Altitude is available in Black, White, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Sting Gray, Hydro Blue, Gator and Gobi paint jobs.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Altitude Edition is priced at $40,340 and comes with an additional $1,495 destination charge.

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