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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

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$16,245 — $28,218 NEW and USED
51
Photos
Hatchback
5 Seats
31 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We recently got behind the wheel of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Watch the video to see what we thought.

By Brian Wong

The all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a head-turner (in a good way), bringing some sorely needed styling updates, inside and out, versus the two 2018 models bearing the Corolla name, the sedan and the Corolla iM hatchback, previously sold as the Scion iM. Though it’s easy to get caught up in those more cosmetic updates, don’t let the new clothes distract you from the more significant updates to the 2019’s technology and safety offerings.

Related: Toyota Hatches New Corolla Variant to Replace Ex-Scion iM

The Corolla Hatchback isn’t based on the current Toyota Corolla sedan or the Toyota Corolla iM, which it replaces (that sound you hear right now is nobody crying because that car also left much to be desired). It has much more in common with the European 2019 Toyota Auris, with a new platform and different enough powertrains and new technology to be considered its own entity. Toyota currently declines to comment on whether the Hatchback is a reliable preview of an updated sedan, but it’s logical and likely. If the sedan adopts the Corolla Hatchback’s changes, it will be a dramatically better car.

I headed to Toyota’s national media drive in San Diego to drive several new variants of the Corolla Hatchback to see how all those changes play out on the road. (Per company policy, Cars.com pays for its airfare and lodging at such automaker-hosted events.) The 2019 Corolla Hatchback will be offered in two trim levels, SE and XSE.

W...

The all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a head-turner (in a good way), bringing some sorely needed styling updates, inside and out, versus the two 2018 models bearing the Corolla name, the sedan and the Corolla iM hatchback, previously sold as the Scion iM. Though it’s easy to get caught up in those more cosmetic updates, don’t let the new clothes distract you from the more significant updates to the 2019’s technology and safety offerings.

Related: Toyota Hatches New Corolla Variant to Replace Ex-Scion iM

The Corolla Hatchback isn’t based on the current Toyota Corolla sedan or the Toyota Corolla iM, which it replaces (that sound you hear right now is nobody crying because that car also left much to be desired). It has much more in common with the European 2019 Toyota Auris, with a new platform and different enough powertrains and new technology to be considered its own entity. Toyota currently declines to comment on whether the Hatchback is a reliable preview of an updated sedan, but it’s logical and likely. If the sedan adopts the Corolla Hatchback’s changes, it will be a dramatically better car.

I headed to Toyota’s national media drive in San Diego to drive several new variants of the Corolla Hatchback to see how all those changes play out on the road. (Per company policy, Cars.com pays for its airfare and lodging at such automaker-hosted events.) The 2019 Corolla Hatchback will be offered in two trim levels, SE and XSE.

What’s New

Beyond the new styling inside and out, the Corolla Hatchback features a few firsts not just for Corolla models, but also for the Toyota brand itself: a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, two new transmissions and the new Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety technologies (which is standard) that includes a few key additions that improve the systems. Toyota’s new global architecture lies underneath, along with suspension upgrades such as an independent multilink rear suspension that’s superior to the 2018 sedan’s semi-independent torsion beam design and lowers the car’s center of gravity.

There are technology updates as well: A larger, 8-inch touchscreen is now standard and the multimedia system adds much needed connectivity features such as Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. Two USB ports and a Qi wireless smartphone charging pad are also available, as is a 7-inch electronic display that serves most instrument panel functions.

How It Drives

The Corolla Hatchback’s new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 168 horsepower and 151 pounds-feet of torque, an improvement of 31 hp and 25 pounds-feet over the Corolla iM, significant jumps that help the Corolla Hatchback feel lighter on its feet (a needed change).

What I was more enthusiastic to test were the new transmissions, the Dynamic-Shift continuously variable transmission and a six-speed manual, both of which are available on either trim level.

The CVT features a fixed 1st gear that it uses to launch from a stop before transferring over to operate like a conventional CVT. This provides smoother launches and eliminates some of the initial rubber-band-type delay in accelerator response that conventional CVTs exhibit off the line. The transmission also features 10 preset gear ratios that drivers can flip among with the standard paddle shifters, giving the feeling of a conventional stepped-gear transmission.

The CVT feels in many ways like a normal automatic transmission, which is the point. Off the line, the fixed gear offers more linear acceleration, and it transitions into conventional CVT mode seamlessly. I couldn’t pick it out while I was driving around town.

The new six-speed manual transmission is a big improvement over that in the Corolla iM, which has a weirdly high clutch catch point and gears that are hard to find. (When reviewing the Scion iM, I found it so distasteful that I preferred the CVT.) With the new manual, the catch is lower and the shifter moves more naturally.

The hatchback Toyota Corolla manual transmission also comes with a new rev-matching feature: Click on the “iMT” button behind the shifter and the engine will automatically rev up to meet the transmission’s speed if you select a lower gear, for smoother downshifts. It’s a system we’ve tested in other cars from the Nissan 370Z to the Porsche 911, but never in a car this affordable.

The transmission’s ability to manipulate the engine rpm gives it a fun additional benefit — it’s basically impossible to stall it, unless you really try. On flat ground, I tried giving the car minimal throttle, then no throttle, then just letting the clutch go completely. After dropping the clutch with no gas, the Corolla Hatchback crawled forward at around 3 mph, seemly saying to me, “Is that about it?” This makes the Corolla Hatchback a great car for beginners, or those interested in learning how to drive a manual.

The powertrain and suspension changes make the Corolla Hatchback a well-driving compact, though I’d stop short of calling it a sporty one. Competitors like the Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf offer a crisper driving experience, but the new Toyota still drives circles around the hatchback it replaces.

Interior

Despite all those mechanical updates (which do work quite well), I think that the Toyota Corolla Hatchback’s more meaningful changes are its improved multimedia and safety technology.

The multimedia system, as mentioned before, gets a larger, standard 8-inch touchscreen and connectivity upgrades. Moving up to the XSE adds satellite radio and Entune 3.0 Connected Services, while an optional third system adds native (built-in) navigation, replacing the standard Scout GPS link compatible system that employs the in-dash display but relies on an app running on your smartphone.

Not only does the new screen look better, but its position is great as well. It sits high up on the dashboard for easy visibility but not so far forward that it’s unreachable. In other vehicles with high screens, like Toyota’s also redesigned 2019 Avalon sedan, you need to lean way forward to reach those controls or have Go-Go-Gadget arms. In the Toyota Corolla Hatchback I could stay seated comfortably in the driver’s seat and just reach an arm up to access all corners of the touchscreen and the physical controls flanking it. The rest of the Corolla Hatchback’s controls are tightly clustered right underneath the screen and easy to access as well.

Backseat Crunch

All of that is good stuff, so what’s the rub? Fortunately, the driver won’t experience it, but a friend/spouse/child might. The backseat seems to be have been utterly neglected; there isn’t much legroom or headroom to speak of and the back of the center console is completely bare. That means no USB charging port, no 12-volt outlet and no visible air vents — a shortcoming that makes motion-sensitive folks like me cringe.

Much Needed Safety Innovations

Every Toyota Corolla Hatchback comes equipped with a suite of safety technology called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a mix of new technologies and updates to existing systems that were a part of TSS-P, the standard suite of safety features found on the 2018 Corolla sedan.

New features include lane keeping for the lane departure prevention (Lane Tracing Assist or LTA) system, road sign reading and daytime detection for cyclists, which is tied into the forward automatic emergency braking. Toyota also says the system’s pedestrian detection has been upgraded to work better in low-light situations.

My favorite change comes to the adaptive cruise control system, which is now a full-speed system, meaning it can work all the way down to a stop, making the feature much more useful in stop-and-go traffic, which I appreciate living in Los Angeles. This system is available only with the CVT; manual-transmission models get an adaptive cruise control system that works between 15 and 110 mph.

Conclusion

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a comprehensive package, with greater visual appeal and performance than the 2018 sedan and Toyota Corolla iM that’s backed up by big leaps in technology. It has transformed a car that used to inspire yawns into a fun, funky compact hatchback that offers serious standard safety features.

We are still waiting for final pricing and fuel-economy details, but unless those come back as large surprises I can confidently say that the new hatchback is the most appealing Corolla I’ve seen in a few generations. Those details should come shortly, as the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback heads to dealerships in July.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.7
51 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Read reviews that mention:

(2.0)

for the price not worth it

by mikeb from toronto on July 3, 2020

it is a very sub par car. brakes make noise when hitting them in reverse, back windows can't be down without the front all the way down (terribly loud noise) doors don't open wide enough (couldn't fit... Read full review

(4.0)

The best small car!

by TammyS from Kentucky on June 9, 2020

This is the second Corolla I have owned. I had a 2009 sedan that has over 200k miles on it before I ran into engine issues. I am a Toyota fan. I love my 2019 Corolla hatchback in the brightest blue ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
good

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Front Crash Prevention
superior

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
acceptable

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Overall Evaluation
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Driver Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Passenger Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Toyota

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Toyota Corolla Hatchback

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Corolla Hatchback received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

Infant seat

C

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

B

Rear-facing convertible

B

Booster

(second row)

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed are for educational purposes only, do not reflect the actual selling price of a particular vehicle, and do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.