2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback review: The best it’s ever been

    I solely ever used to advocate the Toyota Corolla to individuals who did not care about vehicles. In the event that they needed a automobile that was the equal of elevator music — one thing that simply form of… exists within the background — the Corolla was at all times my primary suggestion. It is not that the automobile was unhealthy by any measure, it simply lacked pleasure in actually each manner.

    However I can not do this anymore. The 2019 Corolla Hatchback (née Corolla iM Hatchback, née Scion iM) offers the Corolla lineup one thing it hasn’t had in years: character.


    It is not precisely prepared for Preliminary D, however the brand new Corolla Hatchback proves Toyota‘s designers are able to making a handsome automobile at times. The automaker’s company nostril is far more refined than it’s on the current-generation Corolla sedan, the headlights and taillights are the proper of skinny and there is a heapin’ helpin’ of character on the edges. My XSE tester, the sportier trim of the 2, has upsized 18-inch alloy wheels a surprisingly massive (however not annoying) wing atop the hatch.

    The inside additionally makes use of extra expressive design, although it is a bit safer. There is a good little bit of layering between the highest of the sprint and the underside, with some simulated stitching to offer it a extra premium really feel. The whole lot is inside plain view, and there are many actual buttons for the infotainment system and local weather management. On the XSE trim, the seats are coated in each material and leather-based, the entrance row will get heating and the driving force’s seat is eight-way energy adjustable.

    One factor the Corolla Hatchback ought to have taken from its sedan sibling is rear legroom. The present Corolla sedan has distinctive rear legroom. Issues are a lot tighter for my 6-foot body at the back of the ‘Again, which has surprisingly slender door openings however, fortunately, ample headroom. Ahead visibility is ample, however the rear hatch glass is a bit small for my style. The aspect mirrors are large enough to cowl my blind spots with out requiring a twist o’ the neck.

    The Corolla Hatchback’s rear wing seems to be becoming from some angles, however a bit garish from others.

    Andrew Krok/Roadshow

    Tech-rich, however with a notable omission

    If security is your jam, the Corolla Hatchback will delight. Each repeatedly variable transmission and six-speed handbook variants get a lot of commonplace security techniques, together with computerized emergency braking with pedestrian and bike owner detection, lane-keep help and adaptive cruise management.

    Adaptive cruise management works nicely on my handbook tester. It even permits clutch use for upshifts and downshifts, which I have not skilled on some other cruise-control-equipped handbook, adaptive or in any other case. The lane-keep system is a hands-on-at-all-times affair, however it holds the lane nicely, not ping-ponging between strains and customarily staying lifeless middle in the event you your self are incapable of doing so.

    On the XSE trim, I’ve not one, however two screens — a 7-inch display within the gauge cluster, and an Eight-inch display dealing with infotainment duties. The gauge display provides two completely different types, actually solely altering the way you need the speedometer displayed. The middle of the display can swap between gas economic system, security, music and different pertinent info utilizing simply accessible switches on the steering wheel.

    So far as infotainment goes, Toyota’s Entune system is okay. The graphics are a bit behind the instances, however the system performs its jobs rapidly. Neither the bottom SE nor uprated XSE get commonplace embedded navigation — that is a part of a $1,600 bundle on XSE alone. And whereas providing Scout navigation by way of Toyota’s app is a high quality stopgap, I suppose, I nonetheless get mad that I’ve to dump a part of my $23,000 automobile’s job to an app. Fortunately, I’ve Apple CarPlay at my disposal, however Android customers are plumb out of luck — a stunning omission in 2018.

    Like them or not, “floating” infotainment screens are right here to remain.

    Andrew Krok/Roadshow

    Not a driver’s automobile, however manner higher than earlier than

    Toyota’s new 2.Zero-liter I4 places out 168 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Whereas that appears high quality on paper, it is a naturally aspirated engine and peak torque is all the best way up at four,800 rpm, which implies you will be jamming the gasoline for even the slightest enchancment in ahead movement, particularly at freeway speeds. Toyota must get with the instances and embrace a turbo engine with a decrease torque band, particularly on a trim just like the XSE that payments itself as being a bit sportier.

    My tester has a six-speed handbook, which feels strong sufficient because it snicks via well-defined gates, though the throw is on the lengthy aspect. The clutch pedal is a letdown, although, with zero really feel that makes discovering the chunk level a continuing guessing train. One flip of the “iMT” button engages rev-matching downshifts and adjusts engine velocity for smoother upshifts, each of which work very nicely. It is a disgrace it defaults to turned-off with each press of the beginning button, although.

    Round Detroit’s iffy-at-best roads, the Corolla Hatchback is cool as a cucumber. The experience consists, even with the XSE’s thinner 225/40R18 Yokohama Avid GT all-season tires, and a substantial amount of outdoors noise is saved the place it belongs. At freeway speeds, there is a little bit of wind noise however it’s in any other case a cushty, quiet affair. There’s lots of give within the suspension, which type of ruins the driving dynamics when issues get twisty, however it’s nonetheless leagues higher than any earlier Corolla I’ve pushed.

    As for gas economic system, it is hit and miss. The EPA charges the handbook Corolla Hatchback at 28 miles per gallon metropolis and 37 freeway, however the CVT variant achieves 30 metropolis and 38 mpg freeway. Even small modifications in velocity are main figuring out components in my gas economic system — between a gradual 55 and 70 mph, I see near 40 mpg freeway, however something north of 75 mph returns no higher than 30-32 mpg, which is definitely the identical determine I noticed within the metropolis.

    How I would spec it

    The Corolla XSE has a particular fascinating benefit over the SE within the seems to be division, regardless of its gas economic system deficit. That places me at $22,990 with a six-speed handbook (no CVT for me, thanks). I’d add the $1,600 possibility that features embedded navigation, wi-fi telephone charging and an 800-watt audio system. That places me at $24,590, or $25,510 after the $920 vacation spot cost.

    Right down to brass tacks

    The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has some very strong competitors, together with the Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT and Mazda3 hatchback. All three are superior driver’s vehicles — heck, you will get the 201-horsepower Elantra GT Sport for about the identical worth. The Corolla has the Civic beat on tech (minus its lack of Android Auto), in addition to the Mazda, however Hyundai’s tech choices are onerous to prime on this phase.

    Toyota’s new Corolla Hatchback is enjoyable to have a look at, snug to drive and its tech is not 5 years behind the competitors. I can solely hope that that is the beginning of one thing fascinating within the Corolla lineup, moderately than a one-off that will not translate to a redesigned sedan. This is hoping.

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