Looking to shake things up in 2022? Maybe break out of the traditional compact sedan mold and try something a bit more, well, exciting? Then I have the vehicle that could be for you. It’s the 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. A sporty and stylish take on the sedan version that’s fun to drive (thanks to an available 6-speed) and yet still practical (but don’t tell it that.) The Corolla Hatchback made its debut in 2019 as a welcome addition to the lineup. It’s currently available in three trims: the SE, range-topping XSE and a returning SE Nightshade edition.
I’m all about my Corolla Hatchback XSE’s model’s two-tone exterior color. It makes a terrific impression right off the bat in eye-catching Wind Chill Pearl with a Midnight Black Metallic Roof. The XSE’s sporty-looking 18-inch bright machine-finished with dark gray metallic painted wheels add even more appeal.
The XSE grade also comes equipped with LED fog lights and a chrome front grille surround that flanks slim J-shaped headlights. An Adaptive Front Lighting system is optional. The tail end is all about making a statement with the XSE’s optional black roof and spoiler, along with a single exhaust with dual chrome diffusers.
The Corolla Hatchback’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers 168-horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Is it the most powerful hatchback in its class? No. But it still delivers a fun, and just powerful enough, ride that I’m going to attribute to the 6-speed manual gearbox. The key is that it features Intelligent Manual (iMT) mode with downshift rev-matching control that automatically adjusts engine revs when changing gears. Press the iMT button and shifting becomes noticeably smoother.
The XSE’s well-designed interior follows the exterior’s two-toned theme with black combo leather seating. Leather-trimmed, heated, sport seats are quite comfortable and the driver is bestowed with an 8-way power adjustable seat. XSE features also include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, along with unique stitching in the cabin which is accented by gloss black and silver trim.
The center stack hosts the XSE’s dual zone climate controls and down on the narrow center console you find the gear shift knob, buttons for the automatic parking brake and auto brake hold as well as two cup holders.
The XSE is equipped with the Corolla’s best technology. Above the steering wheel, the XSE model boasts a 7-inch digital driver display. It’s bright but I do find the digital type on the small side.
Toyota’s familiar 8-inch responsive touchscreen is surrounded by glossy black. The multimedia system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa. The XSE adds standard Toyota Audio Plus which includes other features like 2 USB ports, HD Radio (a must for The Car Pro Jerry Reynolds) and Weather/Traffic info. The system also houses a standard backup camera.
There are some notable trade-offs you make with this particular model.
With the manual version, you won’t be able to get the XSE trim’s 8-speaker premium JBL sound system (available on the CVT XSE model) which also comes with JBL’s Dynamic Voice Recognition and Navigation. The 6-speed iMT model must make do with the standard 6-speaker audio system.
There’s also another trade-off on this particularly equipped model. You get more cargo space, but lose the spare tire. A no-cost Enhanced Cargo Space option lowers the cargo floor to add six cubic-feet of cargo space. But in doing so you ditch space for a spare and get a tire repair kit instead.
Accessing the cargo area is easy – the lightweight hatch is easy to open and close even though it’s not power operated.
Ride and Drive
The Corolla Hatchback has a great ride and drive feel to it. It’s easy to maneuver and handles bumps in the road well. The 6-speed manual gives it a sporty vibe and fun acceleration, but don’t confuse it with a more powerful hot hatch like the Golf GTI. Handling is confident, but it’s not a vehicle made for tight cornering. There’s also no sport mode in the manual version.
The Corolla Hatchback comes with standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system that includes Pre-Collision with Pedestrian detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Daytime Cyclist Detection and Road Sign Assist. The XSE is also equipped withBlind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
My test vehicle’s list of options include Adaptive Front Headlights ($415), the black roof, spoiler and side mirrors ($500), a carpet mat package ($249), a rear bumper protector ($89), rear window spoiler ($375) and a TRD air filter ($79.) (Note, my vehicle Monroney lists the special color as $425 but the website tool builder lists the combo as $925.)
What You’ll Pay
The Corolla Hatchback XSE as equipped is a terrific value at just under $27,000.
The two-toned Corolla Hatchback is a fantastic part of the Corolla lineup, offering stylish looks, a sporty driving vibe and great optional cargo space for those looking to break out the compact sedan mold.
- What I Liked Most: It's two-tone looks and sports seats.
- What I would change: Boost horsepower. Also make a wireless charger optional on the iMT trim (as it is on the CVT XSE model.)
- MSRP: Base price $23,765: as equipped $26,922.
- Fuel Economy: 28 city/36 highway/31 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,462 miles.
- Weight: 3,060 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Tire Repair Kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 172” long/70.5” wide/ 57.1” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
- Official Color: Wind Chill Pearl with Metallic Black Roof.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 Corolla Hatchback iMT: A supremely stylish, fun to drive hatchback that’s a great choice for 6-speed manual fans without going into all-out hot-hatch territory.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile Basic new vehicle warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain; 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation.
- Final Assembly Location: Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
- Manufacturer's website: Toyota