The Toyota Corolla Hatchback is new for 2019 and boasts many firsts for Toyota, including standard Apple CarPlay and the brand’s all-new suite of advanced driver safety features. The hatch also has zippier performance and a little more attitude than the sedan Corolla.
The five-passenger Hatchback is available in two trims: SE and XSW. Starting prices range from $19,900 to $24,090. That’s a bit more than the sedan Corolla which starts at $18,700.
The 2019 Hatchback is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 168 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A CVT is also available.
Of course, Corollas have never been known for their sporty handling. But the Hatchback is more fun to drive than the sedan. My tester has the six-speed manual. It’s smooth and easy to shift. The Intelligent Manual Transmission mode with downshift rev-matching control automatically adjusts engine revolutions when changing gears to ensure smooth gear shifting. It makes it very difficult to stall and kill the engine while shifting! Just hit the “iMT” button near the shifter to engage.
Fuel efficiency is good for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with a combined rating of 31 mpg. I got 30 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is well laid out with pleasant materials that are nicer than in the sedan Corolla. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, but the backseat feels tight with only 29.9 inches of legroom in the hatch compared to 41.4 inches in the sedan. That’s small even for a compact car. The cabin is pretty quiet and the ride is smooth.
All 2019 Corollas come with a rearview camera. The Hatchback comes standard with Safety Sense 2.0, Toyota’s new suite of driver assistance features including a lane departure warning system that can detect the edge of the road; lane tracing assist keeps the Hatchback centered in the lane of travel; pre-collision system with low-light pedestrian and vehicle detection and daytime bicycle detection; blind spot monitoring; full-speed adaptive cruise control; automatic high beams; and road sign assist that can read up to three traffic signs at the same time.
The SE trim comes with single-zone automatic climate control, leather shift knob, three-door SmartKey system, and two front USB outlets. Standard Entune 3.0 includes an eight-inch touchscreen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay compatibility, Amazon Alexa, Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect, Safety Connect; Wi-Fi Connect; Scout GPS Link Compatible (so you can use an app on your mobile phone for navigation); Siri Eyes Free; Auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control; AM/FM; MP3/WMA playback capability; hands-free phone capability; voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth; customizable home screen; and weather/traffic info via Entune 3.0 App Suite.
The XSE trim adds dual-zone climate control, combination leather and fabric seating, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver’s seat. XSE’s instrument panel and doors get accent stitching, seven-inch Multi-Information Display that shows vehicle information, turn-by-turn navigation, and vehicle settings including those pertaining to the safety technologies. Entune 3.0 Audio Plus adds HD Radio and weather/traffic info; satellite radio, and Entune 3.0 Connected Services.
There’s also another optional system that adds built-in navigation instead of the Scout GPS system that uses your smartphone. An eight-speaker JBL audio system is also available.
The Hatchback gets the latest version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system including Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, but no Android Auto. The system feels somewhat dated and can take a little time to figure out. Controls are positioned on both sides of the screen with climate controls underneath.
The Hatchback has 17.8 cubic feet of storage in the hatch with both rows of seating in place and 23.3 cubes with the rear seats folded. That’s a bit less than some rivals. The rear seats split-fold 60/40 and fold flat with the cargo floor, providing flexibility in hauling cargo and passengers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names the 2019 Corolla Hatchback a Top Safety Pick with a Good rating in all tests.
Livelier driving dynamics than the sedan Corolla
Lots of standard safety features
Available with a stick shift
Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity are standard
Good fuel efficiency
Good safety ratings from IIHS
No Android Auto
Cramped back seat
Less cargo room than many rivals
My tester starts at $22,990. Adaptive LED headlights with level control and au to on/off feature are $415. Alloy wheel locks are $65. Protection Package with carpet floor mats, carpet cargo mat, rear bumper protector and cargo net are $358. Rear window spoiler is $375. Delivery fee is $920 bringing the grand total to $25,123.
The Toyota Corolla reigns as one of the most popular compact cars in the U.S., right behind the Honda Civic, for its standard features and reliability at budget-friendly prices. If you’re leaning toward the Corolla, consider the Hatchback over the sedan for its peppier performance, Toyota’s latest safety technologies and standard Apple CarPlay.