It was just earlier this year that I reviewed the Corolla, Toyota’s second best-selling vehicle after the Camry. So why am I reviewing the Corolla again? Well first off this is the new 2019 edition of the CUV. And it’s the shape of something new…Corolla’s first hatchback model.
2019 Corolla Hatchback
Notwithstanding the glaring “Blue Flame” exterior of my test car, the shape of the Corolla is a head turner. All previous models were sedans with a typical trunk. To design and make the hatchback Toyota had to mold the liftgate out of lightweight resin. Glance up at the top of the slope and you can see the nicely sculpted hatch meeting the roof with a unique wind deflector.
Toyota is putting big, toothy grilles on everything it makes, and the Corolla hatchback gets one, too. There’s a demarcation between the upper and lower portions that gives the front end a distinctive face that’s kind of blunt. But blunt seems to be the new sleek.
The major instrumentation in the top XSE model is a 7.0-inch digital screen flanked by a tachometer on one side with fuel and temperature gauges on the other. The SE makes do with a 4.2-inch screen at the center. Both models get an 8.0-inch central touchscreen to control the Entune infotainment system and other gadgetry. Apple CarPlay is finally available in a Toyota, although Android Auto is still a no-show.
Even in base SE trim the front seats are well shaped and manually adjustable six ways. In the fancier XSE, the seats are covered in leather and fabric, and the fronts are heated and offer eight-way power adjustment for the driver. The rear seat in both is split to fold 60/40.
Cargo space with the rear seats up is 17.8 cubic feet. The back seat is not as generous as other vehicles in its class however it can fit three people back there.
Ride and Drive
I found its driving capability to be incredibly easy thanks to the electrically-assisted power steering. Toyota put a new 2-liter engine in the Corolla which puts out 168hp. It is not a powerhouse but enough to get you up a steep incline and pass slower traffic.
Safety and Standard Features
Safety continues to be a priority with the manufacturer as many features are standard. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control are all here.
My test XSE grade test vehicle checked in at $26,910. That gets you a long list of standard features like LED headlights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Base SE models make do with 16-inch alloy wheels and cloth upholstery.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback XSE is EPA-rated at 30/38 mpg city/highway or 32/42 mpg in the base SE.
If you’re looking for a sensible car with a dash of style, the Corolla Hatchback is mighty appealing. It is pretty fun to look at, comfortable to drive and its tech is no longer 5 years behind the competition.