2019 Corolla Hatchback – Review & Road Test

2019 Corolla Hatchback – Review & Road Test

Corolla! For many the name is synonymous
with sensible, fun-free transportation, but this is a Corolla of a different
color. Ah, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Ponder its swoopy compact modernism. If this
exact car rolled into hot import nights way back in the day, heads would have
exploded, especially with this Blue Flame paint job. But underneath that
superficial allure hides outstanding value. The bass SE trim with destination
charges starts around $21,000 and includes automatic climate control, LED
head and tail lights, seven airbags, a 5-year, 60,000 mile powertrain warranty, a
leather steering wheel, and push-button start with a smart key, so you’ll never
have to reach into your pocket or purse to unlock the car. Also, standard is an 8-inch Entune 3.0 infotainment screen placed near the drivers sight line
featuring 6-speaker audio, 2 USB ports, and OMG Apple CarPlay. Ah, thank you
Toyota. Though Android Auto is not available, but at least I got mine.
Toyota’s infotainment solution is a breeze to use and like the best systems
these days roughly blends well organized screens with physical buttons around the
bezel. Throughout the rest of the interior I’m kind of blown away by the
material quality. It’s much softer and stylish than the name Corolla hatchback
would suggest and on the fancier XSE trim, there stitching on the dash and
doors. Like real stitching! The center armrest could be more padded,
but I love how it slides letting me rest my elbows while keeping both hands on
the wheel. I also dig the nicely adjustable driving position and front
seats that merge long-distance comfort with superior lateral support. Speaking
of support, the available power driver’s seat
includes adjustable lumbar support. Second row seating feels tight,
but my knees and head actually do clear though, that might not be the case with
somebody taller driving. Move inboard and a low center hump and decent headroom
make the middle position workable for short stints. I wouldn’t want to live
here, but it’s okay. Where interior storage is concerned there’s a USB, adjacent phone
corral, a damped average-sized glovebox, bottle storage in the doors, two central
cupholders, and a small nook in the center console. Versus hatchback variants
of the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze the Corolla’s 18-cubic foot cargo area is
small. Even so, it’s a workable space and the standard 60/40 split seats fold flat
without much pain. I also like how the headrest flip forward rather than
having to be removed. Another thoughtful touch is an indicator
in the gauge cluster that shows which of the rear seat seatbelts have been
latched. As a concerned parents that matters to me. All Corolla Hatchbacks utilize a
decently powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The standard transmission is a
6-speed manual with sports car inspired downshift rev-matching abilities,
impressive. Personally, I favor the manual but, there are good reasons to choose the
optional continuously variable transmission. For $1100 the CVT
simplifies stop and go commutes while substantially boosting fuel economy. CVT
models also make blind spot monitoring available while adding full-speed
abilities to the dynamic cruise control, meaning in traffic the Corolla hatch can
automatically slow itself to a complete stop, but the best thing about the CVT is
the complete absence of delay at any speed. When you press the throttle
engine revs rise immediately delivering spunky acceleration. The same holds true
when leaving from a stop where continuously variable transmissions have
traditionally struggled. The ingenious incorporation of a launch gear into its
CVT imparts the Corolla Hatchback with strong smooth power off the line. Matching
the powertrain’s immediacy are brakes that are right on the edge of being a
little too touchy, but with a little driver adaptation that immediacy becomes
an asset, especially when driving aggressively. There’s a straight road. I
can’t drive aggressively, yet. On that note, can a compliant ride
coexist with quick steering and playful handling? Apparently yes. This is the face
of man who’s having fun driving a car with a badge that says Corolla. On the
freeway wind noise is apparent but not unacceptable for the category. Thick B
and C pillars hinder visibility somewhat to the rear and sides, but thin a pillars
support a clear view forward, and for strategically blocking your view of the
sun there are fully effective sun visor extenders because, you know, I have to
talk about the sun visors. The Corolla Hatchback’s outstanding value is further
elevated by a standard collection of active driver assists called Safety
Sense 2.0 that includes pre collision warning with pedestrian detection,
daytime cyclist detection, roadside detection, dynamic cruise control and
lane departure alert with steering assist. I really like how instead of
constantly beeping the system gives you a visual alert in the gauge cluster, and
then for really critical lane departure warnings it’ll beep at you. Noted! CVT equipped models also get lane tracing assist, which tracks lane markings and the vehicle ahead to keep
your Corolla Hatchback in the center of its lane, even when faced with curves or
less than obvious lane markers. The system works well, thoughtfully
anticipating the vehicle’s trajectory and then proactively steering to keep it
within its lane. If you want to live your best Corolla Hatchback life the roughly
$24,000 XSE trim offers upgraded infotainment, front seat heaters, dual
zone climate control, and 18-inch wheels replacing the base car 16-inch alloys.
Just keep in mind that the XSE gives up three combined MPG versus the cheaper SE
trim. Hatchback versions of the Mazda3, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf, Chevy Cruze and Subaru Impreza have their pluses, but man the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is
compelling. Its competitively priced, packed with safety features, it’s a
Toyota so resale value should remain strong, it’s fun to drive, comfortable,
practical and most importantly it looks cool. If I was in the market for a
compact hatchback that’s the one I’d buy.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. This is definitely on my radar as I'm thinking about stepping up to a new daily driver. Maybe in a year or two when I finish my MK3 Supra project and perhaps put some finishing touches on my Celica GT-Four. 😀 BTW, nice shoutout to the ST185RC!

  2. I test drove this yesterday and let me tell you, unless you are one of those F-n-F wannabe kids who wants to drive like they are racing all the time, this car has plenty of power. I have test driven GTI, Veloster Turbo, Mazda 3 GT, Focus ST and Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 and the manual transmission in this car was the best. It was smooth like butter and acceleration was pretty good. If you know how to drive a manual, I'd highly recommend going for the manual. It is full of nice features and the XSE trim has nice wheels and wing. If you are looking for a solid, inexpensive commuter, this is it.
    I am looking for the best time to get one but I am definitely getting one.

  3. Way too many "driver assist" things going on here. Is it that hard to pay attention when driving? The rest of the car looks promising, however. An interesting Corolla, as rare as a pro war politician who wasn't a draft dodger.

  4. The new Corolla is a LOT of car for your money. Granted it is not that big (it is a Corolla) but now it looks good, drives well, has a nice interior & plenty of safety features + that Toyota reliability for years to come. I just wished for a tad more power (190~200hp) but overall an excellent package.

  5. damn ill knew corolla will fire back,, before this new corolla released, many people hated it but this time this corolla looks so perfect inside and out,, its like puberty hit corolla so hard

  6. why do these guys never invest for android auto like seriously i know more people with samsung galaxy than the shitty iphones

  7. Toyota is better than BMW, AUDI, Mercedes cuz every model of toyota looks totally different than the previous one, and other companies all models looks same

  8. Don't trust KBB on car evaluation, they're owned by a corporation so of course they're going to try to rob you….. Give you crap resale values on your cars

  9. I plan on replacing my 2001 Toyota Celica soon and I've been watching YouTube reviews for the past week to help me decide what I might want to replace it with. I think I just added this Corolla to my list.

  10. After being a happy and only owner for 15-years of a Mazda Protege 5, I'm ready for my 2nd hatchback. This car was on the #1 spot of cars I was considering buying. Went to the dealer and fell in love with the outside and the cabin…then…I opened the trunk. After that, I told my wife…"we're NOT buying this car". My 15-year-old car offers twice as much space in the trunk than this. The trunk in this car is literally useless! The Honda Fit has a whole lot more space in the trunk and even after folding the rear sits than this vehicle. This made me so sad, but…I won't own a car where I can only fit "two gallons of milk" (yes, I'm exaggerating, but you get my drift!). > Also, the lay out of the speeds in the manual transmission makes more sense in a Honda Civic than in a Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

  11. You have the BEST reviews on YouTube and one of the reasons why is because you keep your reviews under 10 minutes! I believe I have seen all of your reviews and I learned a lot from them. Keep up the great work!

  12. Now that is a beautiful car! My 2005 Corolla was god awful boring looking and Toyota’s newer models were dull looking, so I could not have anticipated this new design. By the way, I wonder if anyone here knows what my profile car is. I’ll give you a clue – I saw it in Prague, Czech Republic.

  13. I don't even like Hatchback's or Corollas, but this one is Lit… I'm really diggin' the blue color… Thumbs way up on this one Toyota 😉

  14. FINALLY!!! Hatchbacks in America! Now if we could only start making everything with a manual transmission.

  15. Great review, thank you 🙂 And well done Toyota – you've made a car that sparks the flame in a driver and that's a good thing, because now you can satisfy both brain drivers as well as heart drivers 🙂

  16. You people are full of crap by saying corollas aren’t fun. Going 110 on a 45 street is fun to me. I smoke Porsche’s in Lincoln Town Cars. It possible. When you’re sipping iced coffee, of course you car will be slow.

  17. I was a loyal Ford customer, but since they no longer want the money of their loyal sedan customers, I'm thinking about this as my next car.

  18. The back window is to slanted, can't fit much in the back. The window should be more 90 degrees for a hatchback. I'd call it a lift back.

  19. Is it an actual speed limit sign detector or is does it go off of the navigation information? If it's the latter, it is correct about 60% of the time where I live. It will regularly tell me in my 2019 Tacoma that the speed limit is 10mph slower than what the signs say…

  20. As a android user I very disappointed that Corolla support only apple os. It makes big multimedia screen pointless. Most stupid decition ever from Toyota.

  21. Saw one today in black on the road. Stunning looking hatchback. It's the one I would buy. Drove the p
    Prius C hatchback hybrid on holiday on rough coastline road and took the bumps well, comfortable car. The CVT gearbox with separate launch gear works like a treat, car was fast on launch and speed. Although old tech on the gearbox, work like a treat. Absolutely lovely to drive.

  22. When I buy this car and people ask me what car you have I'll be saying ''Let me show you''. Impressed and obsessed with a Corolla (who knew!!)

  23. This Corolla needs a moonroof and two exhaust to be complete I like it though but wouldn’t by it because it has no moonroof

  24. Can you remove the backseat headrests? They are so big I am sure it blocks your view. I can put them back if I have anyone sitting in the back.

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