At the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, Toyota unveiled a compact silver sedan that was called the Yundong Shuangqing II concept. However, don't let that name fool you – this lightly disguised concept is a preview of what could be a hybrid version of the 2015 Toyota Corolla.
Toyota first previewed the eleventh-generation Corolla at the Detroit auto show this past January with the Corolla Furia Concept. Although radical in its aerodynamic kit and its paintjob, the Furia gave us a good look at what the next Corolla will look like, once it debuts later this year. This Shanghai concept has toned down the bright colors and extroverted bodywork in favor of a simple silver exterior color and trim that looks closer to production-ready.
The Shanghai concept has exchanged the Avalon-inspired front fascia for one that includes a grille treatment similar to the RAV4's. A Toyota insider told us to expect the next Corolla's front end to look "as though an Avalon and a RAV4 had a baby," so we're betting that this silver car's design will be pretty close to the final look. Our source also told us that the daylight opening from the Furia would carry over, including the beltline kink fore of the C-pillar – in profile, the silver car is almost identical to the Furia. The rear of the Shanghai car is more conservative than the bright-orange Furia, but the taillight treatment clearly recalls the Avalon's rump without cloning it outright.
Toyota didn't disclose much of what was under the hood of the Yundong Shuangqing, only saying that it would have a hybrid powertrain. We expect that, at least in the U.S., the 2015 Corolla will carry over the current model's 1.8-liter I-4, but pair it with a set of new transmissions – past reports have pointed toward a six-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission.
The current Corolla's 27/34 mpg rating (city/highway) lags behind much of the competition, so we expect the revised powertrain to boost those numbers, but could there also be a hybrid in the cards? We think so, if this concept is any indication. Overseas, Toyota offers both the Yaris subcompact and Auris compact hatchbacks with hybrid variants, and in the U.S., the company sells the Prius c hatchback. The former vehicles use a version of the 1.8-liter I-4 and electric motor setup found in the regular Prius, while the smaller Prius c uses a 1.5-liter I-4 paired with an electric motor for a net output of 99 hp.
Could a version of the next Corolla use one of those powerplants? Would you want to see a Corolla Hybrid join the compact sedan's range in the future, especially if it brought big fuel economy gains with it? Let us know in the comments sections.