Starting Price: $20,910
Goes on sale: Summer 2018
Engine: 168-horsepower 4-cylinder
City/Highway Fuel Economy: 28/37 mpg (SE MT), 32/42 mpg (SE CVT), 30/38 mpg (XSE CVT)
Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Similar Vehicles: Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda Mazda3 5-Door, Volkswagen Golf

  • Legitimate style backed by legitimate substance
  • A new must-drive in the small hatchback market
  • Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard
  • Entune 3.0 with an 8-inch touch screen and Apple CarPlay
  • The strength of Toyota's near-magical resale value

 

America loves hatchbacks, sometimes it just needs to be reminded.

With the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the carmaker fashions a substantial reminder that a small car with a rear hatch and a little attitude can be immensely appealing. Arriving in Toyota showrooms later this summer, the new Corolla Hatchback is all-new, in mind and body. It features some first-time-ever technology and a tidy abundance of style. Best of all, Toyota committed itself to the task of building this new compact hatchback without hedging its marketing bets with names like Mazda3 5-Door and Hyundai Elantra GT.

Lately, Toyota feels like a more committed company overall with its last three releases -- this Corolla Hatchback, the redesigned 2019 Toyota Avalon, and the redesigned 2019 Toyota RAV4 -- all bearing a little bit of a grudge aimed at anyone questioning the company's ability to move the industry forward.

In replacing the current Toyota Corolla iM (formerly, the Scion iM/formerly, the car almost nobody was asking for) with the 2019 Corolla Hatchback, Toyota refreshes the look of the growing small-hatchback segment and brings some fresh technology to the party as well. Two trim levels are offered, the working-class SE, which gets most of the expected standard equipment you'll expect (and find) in this class, plus some valuable extra perks like LED headlights and taillights, a Smart Key that never needs to leave your pocket, push-button start/stop, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment display, two USB ports ready for duty, standard 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, and the full measure of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 working for you. If you require leather seating, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, and other such pleasures, then a Corolla Hatchback XSE model is what you'll focus on.

Look at me, and look closely

Especially when paired with the also-new-for-2019 Blue Flame exterior color, the Corolla Hatchback visually more than holds its own with any other hatch in the arena. From every angle, the car makes a better photographer out of anyone. If you want to overdo it just a bit, a dealer-installed rear roof spoiler (as shown in the images on this page) is waiting for you.

It's true that the Corolla Hatchback's low-riding profile -- a little wider but not quite as long as the outgoing Corolla iM -- can't brag about having generous rear cargo area, but the 18 cubic feet of room behind the second row will still absorb more stuff than any midsize sedan out there. That interior will carry five 6-foot-plus adults in relative good comfort, too.

For the driver, Toyota provides a new 2.0-liter 168-horsepower/151 lb-ft of torque 4-cylinder engine that brings the Corolla Hatchback up to competitive parity with most of the other hatchbacks in this class. This engine is a definite upgrade from the Corolla iM's powerplant, but the new Corolla hatch will never be mistaken for an autocross champ. If that's your goal, most of the Corolla Hatchback's competitors include big-power versions in their lineups.

To get the 2.0-liter's power to the Corolla Hatchback's front wheels -- 16-inchers for the SE, 18-inches for the XSE -- you have a choice of two transmissions, a manual and a continuously variable automatic (CVT). Both of these gearboxes have one fascinating and all-new aspect going for them. For the CVT, the cool thing is that it actually does have a 1st gear (not the norm on CVTs) that does an excellent job of getting you off the line at stoplights, trundling you around at parking-lot speeds, and generally making a good impression at low speeds. When the actual standard CVT kicks in, it does its job and will improve your fuel economy, get you up to highway speed when asked, and make a bit more noise than you'd like when straining up hills. Steering-wheel paddles to manually shift you through the CVT's 10 simulated speeds come standard.

As interesting as the automatic transmission is, the Corolla Hatchback's new 6-speed manual is the one that works best with the engine, thanks in part to its Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). The iMT system technology automatically matches engine revs on downshifts like a pro and adjusts revs on upshifts to ensure smooth shifting, making anyone manually rowing through the gears seem like they were born to it.

Equally satisfying, Toyota engineers gave the Corolla Hatchback a fulfilling deck of driving inputs to draw from. The steering was especially firm and responsive, and the ride quality -- enhanced with a new multilink rear-suspension setup -- was excellent. From inside the cabin of the XSE model, we noted impressive levels of quiet for this class of car. We can't wait for the comparison test to discover the strengths of each player in this segment.

Sensibility, Safety Sense, and common sense

Spending time inside the new Corolla Hatchback, it's no work getting comfortable. The seat support is good, and it's a cinch to get set to drive or ride as a passenger. Generally, it feels roomy enough, although ancillary areas like the center-console bin and glovebox are all kind of small. Every Corolla Hatchback interior is blessed with a contrast character line stitched into the dash that runs from the right-hand passenger air vent on the dash to below the controls on the center dash. In pictures, it looks good, but in person, it adds edge to the car's interior vibe.

As is becoming the norm in this class, the Corolla's infotainment system includes voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity, a 6-speaker audio system, a color touch-screen display, USB connectivity, and available Apple CarPlay. Of note in the Corolla Hatchback, however, are extra touches: That standard Entune 3.0 touch screen is generously big -- eight inches -- and there are two USB ports available rather than the expected single port. Additionally, Apple CarPlay comes standard too, though Android Auto fans will have to be patient for a little while longer.

Something big is happening in small cars when it comes to high-tech safety. Safety features you used to feel lucky to be able to get in an S-Class Mercedes, are starting to appear on compact cars. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) is just such a suite of peace-of-mind protection, and it comes standard on every 2018 Corolla Hatchback. Heroic safety features that detect pedestrians, cyclists and slowing/stopped vehicles up ahead will warn you and automatically engage the brakes to avoid a collision. Radar-base cruise control that allows you to set a speed and preset a following distance -- your Corolla Hatchback will automatically speed up and slow down as necessary to maintain your presets.

Other greatest hits of TSS 2.0 include lane-departure warning with Steering Assist which guides you back into your current lane if it senses you drifting, and automatic high-beam headlights that'll help keep you from blinding other drivers on the road. A new Toyota Safety Sense feature included on the CVT-equipped Corolla Hatchbacks is Lane Tracing Assist (LTA). While you're on a freeway or highway, LTA "reads" the road's lane markings -- or the vehicle traveling ahead of you if the lane lines disappear -- to track the lane you're driving in and automatically make steering adjustments to keep you centered, as it were.

Pricing for 2018 Toyota Corolla Hatchback starts just a hair under $21,000 -- a great deal considering the new Corolla's generous standard features set. That starting price puts in the good company of the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf hatches, and allows you to shop knowing that the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a high-value, low-risk destination, a position that Toyota's reputation for holding its resale values only reinforces.
 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Exterior and Interior Pics

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Choices

The all-new Corolla Hatchback comes equipped with a very competitive set of comfort, convenience and safety features at every level. The following list of the four flavors of Corolla hatchback makes for an easier browse to find the one that's right for you.
 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE (Manual Transmission)
Starting Price: $20,910

168-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed manual transmission
16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
LED headlights and taillights
Smart Key system with remote lock/unlock and push-button start
Heated power mirrors
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
60/40-split fold-down rear seatbacks
6-speaker Entune 3.0 Audio with App Suite and Apple CarPlay
8-inch touch screen
2 front USB ports
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes:
    -Pre-Collision System detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Pedestrian/Cyclist detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
    -Lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
    -Automatic high-beam headlights
 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE (CVT Automatic Transmission)
Starting Price: $22,010

(versus SE with manual transmission):
168-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
Continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)
Paddle shifters
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes:
    -Pre-Collision System detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Pedestrian/Cyclist detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
    -Lane Tracing Assist
    -Lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
    -Automatic high-beam headlights
    -Lane Tracing Assist
 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual Transmission)
Starting Price: $23,910

168-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed manual transmission
18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
LED headlights and taillights
Smart Key system with remote lock/unlock and push-button start
Heated power mirrors
Leather seating
Heated front seats
8-way power-adjustable driver's seat
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
60/40-split fold-down rear seatbacks
Dual-zone climate control
6-speaker Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with App Suite and Apple CarPlay
8-inch touch screen
2 front USB ports
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes:
    -Pre-Collision System detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Pedestrian/Cyclist detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
    -Lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
    -Automatic high-beam headlights
 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (CVT Automatic Transmission)
Starting Price: $25,010

(versus XSE with manual transmission):
168-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
Continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)
Paddle shifters
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes:
    -Pre-Collision System detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Pedestrian/Cyclist detection with automatic emergency braking
    -Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
    -Lane Tracing Assist
    -Lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
    -Automatic high-beam headlights
    -Lane Tracing Assist
Blind-spot monitoring

 

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