2019 Corolla Hatchback's looks promise more than Toyota's
usual sensible shuttle.
Calif. — Unlike automotive journalists, most people only really
care about cars that last a decade without muss, fuss or bother. To
them, a car is little more than a major household appliance with
four tires — one that consumes vast amounts of money. So the best
car is one that economically delivers an exceptionally unexceptional
This is how
Toyota has sold more than 44 million Toyota Corollas since 1966.
emotionally, no one rewards you for having the best automotive
appliance. No child ever turns to their parents and says, "Why
don’t you buy the boring, sensible car?" No woman ever looks
at her date and says, "Darling, I love your benignly
inoffensive car." And no car magazine editor applauds a vehicle
that provides the emotional fulfillment of a dishwasher.
this notion of emotional satisfaction has gotten under the skin of
Toyota executives, who seem committed to injecting their automotive
appliances with a vitality that goes beyond dependability. Exhibit
A: the redesigned 2018 Camry.
us to the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. It replaces the Corolla iM,
previously known in the United States as the Scion iM and
inexplicably called the Auris in Europe. That’s a whole lot of
bother for a vehicle that, until now, has been impressively mundane.
But the 2019
Corolla Hatchback’s looks promise more than Toyota’s usual
sensible shuttle. Its face, developed from the current Corolla,
looks like an evil smile, and is accented by LED headlamps that wrap
into the front fenders. Out back, there are LED taillights, and
chrome exhaust tips, a fitting embellishment for this all-new ride
that has a pugnacious presence its predecessor never did.
attitude continues inside, where Toyota has creating an inexpensive
interior that’s eloquent in its simplicity, yet never feels cheap
or sparse. Materials impart a premium feel, and other choices just
seem smart. For instance, rather than using fake metal, wood or
carbon fiber trim, designers employ a simple topstitch across
interior panels to break up the masses of color. The instrument
panel, itself a visual symphony of gloss and matte finishes, is
anchored by a high-resolution 8-inch multimedia touchscreen that
resides just above the simple row of climate controls. Beneath that
is open space; the center console and instrument panel don’t
physically connect. This lends a feeling of spaciousness, and gives
the different elements a sculptural feel. Overall, the interior is
not just captivating; it’s one of the best on the market. That’s
quite a feat in this segment.
come with automatic climate control, leather shift knob, paddle
shifters, Apple CarPlay, an electronic parking brake, six-speaker
audio system, SmartKey system, automatic up/down windows, voice
recognition and two front USB ports, although Toyota still doesn’t
offer an imbedded navigation system. An 800-watt JBL audio system is
available, but didn’t seem to be a huge improvement from the
is enhanced by the Corolla Hatchback’s cozy interior, which seems
cozier than its competition. The big issue is rear seat space, which
seems meager compared to the front, although there is 18 cubic feet
of cargo space. That’s more room than a Toyota Avalon.
time to move, you’ll find Toyota’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder
engine to be lively. Mated to a six-speed manual or a continuously
variable automatic transmission, the Corolla Hatch launches from a
stop without the rubber banding typical of a CVT transmission,
thanks to its special launch gear. After that, the CVT’s variable
gear ratios take over. The six-speed manual transmission is a
welcome relief for those who prefer their cars with three pedals on
the floor, not two. But its feel was disappointing. Nevertheless,
this hatch was fun to lob it into a corner, even if it’s benignly
predictable, with the agility that comes from being so diminutive.
Notably, the upper-level XSE model’s 18-inch wheels impart greater
road feel than the base SE’s 16-inch rubber. While it’s no
sports car, it is a captivating one.
And its list
of driver assistance features is impressive, and includes dynamic
radar cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian
detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high
beam, lane tracing assist, and a system that alerts the driver about
various road signs.
In the end,
you’ll discover that the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has a
pulse. Even if it’s more haute hatch than hot hatch, its special
flavor stands apart from its competitors, or for that matter other
dishwashers — oops — I mean Corollas.
Look for it to
reach showrooms in July.
Double-overhead-cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder
economy: Not available
capacity: 18 cubic feet