"Everything all at once" is a decent partial title for a movie, but sometimes in cars, it can backfire.
See, to our American brains, tuned to instant gratification, the idea of a hybrid car in a "sport" trim with all-wheel drive sounds like the best of all possible worlds.
And while the all-wheel drive in the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid does what you can reasonably expect all-wheel drive to do in a compact sedan (give you a bit more traction in inclement weather), it also does a number on the number that Toyota Corolla Hybrids sell on---the EPA fuel economy average.
The number that's most impressive in the Corolla Hybrid lineup is the hyper-miling LE's, which, in front-wheel drive form gets an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined city/highway. Regular readers will recall that I got an indicated 61 over the course of a week in the one I drove last year. If that was a faulty trip computer, nobody at Toyota bothered to let me know. When you move from LE to the next trim level, SE, the laser-focus on economy shifts a bit. The combined average drops to 46 mpg. Add all-wheel drive, and it falls further, to 44. And that's only 7.5 better than a gasoline-powered Corolla.
Beyond that, well, hey---it's a Toyota Corolla. Essentially the hallmark of compact sedans for 55-ish years. Practical and reliable as the day is long, and that day is the summer solstice.
All-wheel drive also adds to the cost of a Corolla Hybrid. Our tester had a base price of $27,695 (including destination). That's $1,360 more than a front-wheel drive Corolla Hybrid SE and $3,800 more than a FWD Corolla Hybrid LE (the fuel-miser base model).
As is typical for Toyota, you get a decent amount of standard equipment---in the case of the SE AWD, a sport suspension, 18-inch wheels, a "sport" drive mode (which would likely hurt your mileage further), Toyota's comprehensive active safety suite, a sport mesh black front grille, automatic LED headlights, color-keyed rear spoiler, sport rocker trim, a single exhaust with dual chrome tips, an eight-inch touchscreen with a six-speaker audio system including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Audo, sport fabric-trimmed seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Our tester also carried a healthy bunch of extra-cost options---the SE Premium Package (blind-spot monitor on color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, with rear cross-traffic alert, and a power moonroof) added $1,220, the "Preferred Accessory Package w/AWFL" (beats me, and I tried looking it up), is $631, an upgraded nine-speaker JBL premium audio system with amplifier and subwoofer put another $600 on the tab, a frameless Homelink mirror is $175 and alloy wheels locks contributed $67 to the bottom line of $30,388.
The Toyota Corolla is pretty much unassailable as a smart buy in compact sedans. But attempting to mash-up Hybrid, AWD and "sport" ends up diluting the appeal of this particular model.