Toyota Corolla Commercial 2023 long-term test

As a reminder, while the B mode in most EVs and hybrids ramps up the regenerative braking, in hybrid Toyotas, it works to keep the engine on when decelerating and the revs up for more engine braking.

As a result, if you were to drive in B mode all the time, you would get significantly worse economy. To be clear, that’s not what I’m doing. My point is that I never have cause to use it, and it would be more useful if it acted like the B mode in most EVs.

The brake pedal in the Corolla is nicely progressive and the gauge cluster shows neatly the point where you’re moving from regen to the friction brakes, but it would still be useful to quickly max out the regen with a B mode.

As it is, B mode does make the engine more responsive, so you might use it as a kind of sport mode, but I prefer to leave it in Eco because the effect is still superficial. That aside, Toyota hybrids seem to be the only cars whose Eco mode makes them nicer to drive.

Rather than render the powertrain apparently gutless, it seems to dull the initial part of the throttle pedal in order to keep you within the electric motor’s capability.

Because electric motors have instant response, this feels adequate for a lot of town and suburban driving; once the engine fires up, the software seems to use as much electric power as possible to keep the engine revs down.

That’s good for both fuel economy and dulling the CVT effect. In this latest generation of Toyota hybrids, the typical CVT ‘mooing’ has been significantly reduced anyway. You wouldn’t want this system in a sporty car, but for the Corolla it’s perfect.

It remains fairly quiet even when you floor it, and the lack of gearchanges means it’s always smooth. As a stress-free and economical way of getting around, the Corolla still takes some beating.

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Even the lowliest Corollas come with heated seats – and a pair of massive rocker switches with which to operate them.

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