The name Toyota Levin is one that rings a bell to enthusiasts. Images of a sporty coupe come to mind or, at the very least, a more distinct-looking Toyota Corolla. The Levin name was killed off in Japan by the turn of the millennium but it lives on in China.
Yes, you can still get a Toyota Levin if you are based in China and, in some ways, it sticks to the original idea of the classic models as a re-styled version of the Corolla. In fact, the Levin has actually been living a new life in China since 2013. However, there is one big difference from the Levins from the past; the new ones are now available as a plug-in hybrid model.
Based on the current Corolla (or Altis), the Levin gets enough styling touches that differentiates it from the Corolla. For starters, the front bumper is reminiscent of Toyota's current design language which sees cars with wide air intakes. It also takes a page from the Mirai's book with its glossy gray trim piece, at least for the plug-in hybrid model. The headlights and the grill, on the other hand, get a more rakish and upswept look much like the redesigned Toyota Yaris.
So far, Toyota is tight-lipped regarding the details of the plug-in hybrid Levin. They do claim that the Levin PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) can do up to 50 kilometers on pure battery power. It does seem likely that it will borrow tech from the Toyota Prius PHEV, also known as the Prius Prime. That car uses a 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle engine mated to a dual motor generator drive system.
Like the Levin, the Corolla also gets the plug-in treatment for China. Toyota says that both these cars will share the same drive system. This makes the Corolla PHEV and Levin PHEV Toyota's first plug-in models to be produced outside of Japan, according to the automaker.