2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review: Bringing Fun to the Corolla

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Toyota Corolla hatchback is all new, and comes out swinging against Honda Civic Sport and Mazda3.

This is the all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback. It replaces the out-going 2018 Corolla iM hatchback, and seems to offer improvements in virtually every area. Oh, and I love the way it looks. When is the last time you heard anyone wax poetic about the styling of a Toyota Corolla? That alone should be enough to make you pay attention.

Of course, there is more to the car than the way it looks, even if it is really, really, really ridiculously good looking. To that end, Toyota has promised that this is the fun-to-drive compact car that will help build enthusiast cache around the Corolla name. Naturally, when Toyota dropped the new Corolla off for the week, with a 6-speed manual transmission no less, I was intrigued.

Corolla Hatchback Debriefing

This 2019 Corolla hatch rolls on the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA)-Compact platform. So, this front-wheel drive Corolla has fully independent suspension, front and rear. The front suspension is a McPherson strut setup, and the back utilizes a multi-link suspension.

Under the hood is another all-new goodie: The Toyota M20A “Dynamic Force” engine. This 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four cylinder engine produces a healthy 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. That engine can be paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, or a “Dynamic Shift” CVT. Said continuously variable automatic transmission also features an innovative “launch gear” to improve acceleration and efficiency at low speed. My test car features the 6-speed manual, and is rated by the EPA at 30 MPG city, 38 MPG freeway, and 34 MPG combined. The CVT offers slight fuel economy improvements, to the tune of 32 MPG city and 42 MPG freeway.

In the United States, there are two basic trims for the Corolla hatchback, and options are minimal outside of those two packages. The standard Corolla SE starts at $19,990 with the manual, and $21,090 with the automatic. Then there is the XSE, the sport package, which starts at $22,990 with the manual, and $24,090 with the automatic transmission. My test car had the XSE pack.


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That extra $3,000 for the XSE offers a good amount of value. The wheels are upsized from 16-inches to 18-inches, and look gorgeous. While both cars have the same powertrain package, the XSE has a slightly sportier suspension calibration to match those 18-inch rollers. Inside, the XSE offers dual zone climate control, and leather-trimmed sport seats that are heated. Additionally, while both cars feature Toyota EnTune 3.0 and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 and seven air bags as standard, the XSE gets an upgraded sound system, and a 7.0-inch color TFT multi-information display in the gauge cluster. The SE carries on with a smaller 4.2-inch screen.

My test car, with it’s 6-speed manual transmission, XSE pack, and the optional (but really mandatory) rear spoiler comes in at $23,365. A fully loaded auto car will set you back about $27,000. Though, I would get any pricing from your dealer in writing, as Toyota’s website changed the price tag on me, twice, when building the car using it’s online configurator.

Continue reading about the Toyota Corolla hatchback on the next page…

Jake Stumph is a lifelong car enthusiast and racer, who has operated as the content editor for Internet Brands Automotive since 2015. He runs Corvette Forum, 6SpeedOnline, Honda-tech, and LS1tech, among other Internet Brands Automotive websites. His work has been featured by several other prominent automotive outlets, including Jalopnik and Autobytel.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science at the Ohio State University in 2013, then pivoted from covering politics and policy to writing about his automotive adventures, something that, he says, is a lot more fun. Since that time, he has established connections with most of the world's major automakers, as well as other key brands in the automotive industry.

He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right, which is uncommon. You can check out what he's up to on his YouTube channel, as well as his Jake Stumph Racing Instagram account. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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