- Euro style
- Attractive interior
- Manual transmission for enthusiasts
- Good safety gear
- Toyota and CVT don't always work well together
- Could be cramped inside
- Needs a different name
The new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is really a European-market model with American license plates.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback isn’t what you think it is. Yes, it’s a compact car with a small engine that’ll probably sip gas. What it’s not is a Toyota Corolla sedan with a wagon-like body grafted onto its tail end.
Instead, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a European-market Toyota intended to square off against quirky French cars. Over the pond, it’s called the Toyota Auris, but here its Corolla name is intended to resonate with the millions of folks who have bought small Toyotas over the years.
The Corolla Hatchback replaces the short-lived Corolla iM and will go on sale in summer of 2018 as a 2019 model.
Don’t let the name fool you
The five-door Corolla and its sedan sibling differ in almost every way, not the least of which is the Hatchback’s sport-oriented lineup of SE and XSE trim levels compared to the broader range of sedan models.
At 172 inches from head to toe, the Corolla Hatchback is about a foot shorter than the sedan. Its dimensions are pert, especially in its tail end, which will probably come at a detriment of ultimate utility (Toyota hasn’t specified just how big the cargo area is, but we’ll update this space when we know more).
That size puts the Corolla Hatchback a few inches shorter than the Honda Civic five-door, a model that’s also more Euro-oriented than its sedan counterpart. The Mazda 3 hatchback is sized about like the Civic, too, although the gap between it and the 3 sedan isn’t as great.
Inside, the Corolla Hatchback’s dashboard is Euro-chic with its 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment floating high above the rest of its controls. That screen comes standard with Apple CarPlay compatibility, a new feature for Toyota—but Android users are still in the dark. A JBL audio system is optional on the uplevel XSE, as are satellite radio and apps for features like navigation and Pandora audio. A charging pad for Qi-compatible mobile devices is available, while automatic climate control is standard.
Cloth upholstery is standard on the SE, while the XSE has a mix of leather and fabric, plus heated front seats and power adjustment for the driver’s seat.
Regardless of what badge is on its tail, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is powered by a new 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that Toyota says is lighter and more powerful than the 1.8-liter in its predecessor. Exact power output numbers haven’t been announced, but Toyota says that both trims will be available with either a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission with paddle shifters to sort through 10 simulated gears.
The automaker is also mum on fuel economy, but says the new model will best the outgoing Corolla iM’s 31 mpg combined EPA rating.
Unlike the Corolla sedan, the Hatchback rides on a version of Toyota’s latest, scalable architecture. That means that the front-wheel-drive Hatchback has a fully independent suspension rather than a torsion-beam rear axle. Translation: although we haven’t driven it yet, the Corolla Hatchback promises to be a sportier companion to the sedan.
Like other Toyotas, the Corolla Hatchback will come standard with a high degree of passive and active safety tech. A total of seven airbags will protect passengers in the event of a crash, but automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control will do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.