2019 Corolla: chat with hybrid engineer Hiroyuki Tsukushima

Road test reviews of the 2019 Toyota Corolla provide proof that our new core model not only looks stunning but feels superb on the road. In order to better understand this quality we have spoken to three key engineers involved in the model’s development.

We began the series with chief engineer Yasushi Ueda, who was followed by vehicle performance manager Rembert Serrus from Toyota Motor Europe. The series now concludes with hybrid engineer Hiroyuki Tsukashima.

How do the 1.8- and 2.0-litre hybrid systems differ from each other?

It offers both excellent fuel efficiency and enthusiastic driving

Tsukashima: “The 1.8-litre system was developed for customers who value fuel economy, while the 2.0-litre powertrain has been developed for those who want more power and a more dynamic drive.

“But the difference between the two is not limited to the displacement of the internal combustion engine. The latter is a completely new self-charging hybrid system that can offer both excellent fuel efficiency and enthusiastic driving.”

Is the 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain identical to that featured in the Prius and Toyota C-HR?

Tsukashima: “The 1.8-litre hybrid system is basically the same, but we made some small tuning changes to further refine the powertrain and enhance the driving experience.”

What was your main challenge during the development of the new 2.0-litre hybrid system?

A more linear feeling between the engine and vehicle speed

Tsukashima: “For that powertrain (pictured above) we further developed not only the rate of acceleration but also the sense of acceleration.

“By suppressing the initial engine revs by using more battery and electric motor power we were able to realise a more linear feeling of the engine and vehicle speeds matching during acceleration.”

Is there a difference in regeneration capacity between the two powertrains?

Tsukashima: “Since the 2.0-litre hybrid system has more battery cells than the 1.8-litre, [we’ve engineered it to] develop a greater output and offer more regenerative energy.”

How is the gearbox of the 2.0-litre system different to that of the 1.8-litre?

Tsukashima: “To be exact, these hybrid systems don’t have a gearbox; they have a transaxle. And the difference between the transaxles in the 1.8- and 2.0-litre systems is in the size of the motor and gear.

“On the 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain we provide shift paddles as they give the driver more control and so allow for a more enthusiastic driving experience.”

Read more: Talking with chief engineer Yasushi Ueda
Read more: Talking with performance manager Rembert Serrus


  1. Please confirm that the 2.0 litre hybrid is coming in the C-HR. And more importantly when, as although I am impressed by the 2.0 Litre Corolla it is too small and too low for us?

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We don’t have any updates on this at this time, however please keep an eye on our blogs and social channels for the latest news.


  2. Looking forward to test-driving the 2.0 litre version next week, it’s a strong contender for next car especially if the car builder app is correct and a space saver spare is available in the ‘Design’ grade (sadly not in Excel). I already have a 1.8 Prius and would welcome the extra performance – and reassurance of a spare tyre rather than a pot of gunk.. Any chance of some brighter more exciting colours for the Corolla soon? In other countries it’s available in that nice cyan splash seen on the RAV4, C-HR but we get the usual dull silvers, black & whites. I’m not a fan of red but it’s the only vibrant colour on offer.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great to hear that you’re a fan of the new Corolla and have planned a test drive. Please do let us know how it goes, we’d love to hear what you think! In regards to the your comments on the colours, we currently have no new information on this. However, we always welcome and appreciate customer feedback, so will pass this on to our Product Team.


    1. Hi Toyota – after testing the Corolla vs several others I’ve just placed an order for the 2.0 litre Excel Hatch. It’s almost perfect for my needs but some areas I’d like to see addressed for future upgrades – needs Apple Car Play, where’s the HUD option available in other markets?, any chance of an AWD version using tech from Prius AWD, and please please please some bright colours! I’ve opted for denim blue (didn’t want red, white, black or various shades of silver, the bronze can’t be had with the sunroof) but would love to have had the choice of the bright,, vibrant colours available in other markets. Also why can’t the Excel be supplied with a space saver, when the Design with same engine & battery pack can? Looking forward to receiving the car in a few weeks. S

      1. Hi Steve,

        Thanks for getting in touch. It’s fantastic to hear that you’ve placed an order for the new Corolla. Customer feedback is extremely important to us, so thank you for this and we will pass it all on to our Product Team. We wish you many happy miles behind the wheel of your new Corolla!


  4. I test drove a 2.0l four weeks ago as the first option for my new car purchase and now have one in white with the panoramic roof, the black/white contrast is great and so is the car! I am also happy to have the spare wheel (“Design” model).
    Is it true that the engine is the same as the Lexus UX?
    My only gripe? Being of a certain age I’d have liked a CD player.

    1. Hi Ian,

      Thanks for getting in touch, it’s brilliant to hear that you are an owner of the new Corolla. We will pass this feedback on to our Product team regarding the CD player.

      The Lexus UX and the Corolla 2.0l have the same 4-cylinder engine, however they are calibrated and tuned differently.

      We wish you many happy miles behind the wheel of your new Corolla!

  5. Being the nerd I am I researched the M20A FXS engine and am very impressed with engine design and technology, the car handles very well indeed. I also picked up on the linearality of the electric motor -engine tuning alluded to in the article and can confirm this is successful for most driving, meaning the engine revs do not build up “out of synch” with actual acceleration under most acceleration conditions.

  6. Hi, had my Corolla TS 2.0 now for about 4 week. The car is great around town and on the highway too. Been doing over 600km daytrips with the family. The only real gripe I have is the infotainment. It sucks. My dealer told me he heard that there light be some kind of upgrade available sometime in the future so that we could at least get Apple CarPlay. That would really save the day! He didn’t know when this might be available, if it would be free or even how it would be implemented. He had heard about it at an official Toyota training session for resellers.
    Please give us some info if this is something we can look forward to.

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch, we’re sorry to hear you’re not a fan of the infotainment. Apple CarPlay is currently available in our Aygo models and we are looking at rolling it out across the range in the future. Unfortunately however, we don’t have any new information to reveal at this time. If you would like to discuss this further we recommend contacting Toyota in your region.


  7. i just purchased the corolla 1.8 GR sport and with regret is’s very disappointing as it scrapes the underside of the car in going into my local garage, which has a small camber. It also doesn’t like any type of road speed restriction like sleeping policemen, so it’s been one big mistake and a financial loss as will have to sell

    1. Hi Nick,

      We don’t know which vehicle you drove before, but the Corolla has a minimum ground clearance of 135mm, which is normal for this type of vehicle. Before you sell your vehicle, try approaching inclines and speed bumps with a bit less speed to see how the car handles it.


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