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First Drive: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Improved power, comfort and tech in an attractive package.

by on Apr.30, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback features more power and tech for the small hatch.

While sales of small cars have dwindled in recent years, hatchbacks have made a slow, steady of comeback of sorts.

Now Toyota, one of the largest and most versatile carmakers in the world, is adding a new hatchback to its popular Corolla family. The 2019 Corolla Hatchback arrives with new styling, a more powerful engine and clever technology that will help the car stand out in a crowded segment.

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In fact, Toyota is describing the Corolla Hatchback as the most “technologically advanced” small car it has ever built, which is saying something for a company that has more or less dominated the small car market around the world for past 50 years.

Moreover, during a test drive the 2019 Corolla Hatchback it was impressive. The pickup and power from a standing start was impressive and its ride handling, which have never exactly been Toyota’s strong suit, handle different road surfaces and terrain smoothly and efficiently.

The new Corolla hatchback gets some minor exterior styling tweaks.

(Toyota’s new “haute” hatch is the latest generation Corolla. Click Here for the story.)

The MacPherson strut setup in the front updated with a stabilizer bar and revised coils spring and reduced friction in sliding part, which is designed to help improve the steering feel, ride comfort and handling stability. Rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer updated shock absorbers and spring friction has helped reduced overall friction in suspension set up by roughly 40%, according to Toyota’s engineers.

The steering was crisp and accurate while the brakes were solid and the brake feel inspired confidence coming into a stop.

The Corolla Hatchback’s compact structure employs a mixture of adhesives, spot welding and additional bracing, improving the driver’s overall control of the car as well as the on road feel and boosting fuel economy. The body mixes aluminum and high- and ultra-high tensile steel in the lighter weight chassis and it is 60% stiffer than the older versions.

The 2019 Corolla Hatchback offers plenty of technology for both safety and entertainment.

Toyota has come in for its fair share of criticism for the exterior styling of its vehicles but the Corolla Hatchback, I think, has one of the stronger designs to reach the market in recent years. From front to back the Corolla Hatchback exterior styling is fresh and dynamic and endows the car with its own unique personality. One clever innovation is that the rear hatch is made of a special polymer designed to Toyota’s specifications that is set at a steeper angle for a sportier look.

The LED lights at the front and rear also serve to emphasize the sporty appearance. The hood sits two inches lower, improving the forward visibility. The new frontal styling with the rounded nose and LED headlamps are wrapped tightly into the front fenders.

(Click Here for more about Toyota’s commitment to cars.)

The overall performance of the Corolla Hatchback benefits from the re-designed four-cylinder engine. The 2-liter engine is smaller and lighter, but with greater power and fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions than earlier versions used in the Corolla. It produces an impressive 168 horsepower and 151 foot-pounds of torque, which seems ample given the overall size of the Corolla Hatchback.

The rear seat in the 2019 Corolla Hatchback offers plenty of room for passengers.

Toyota also has given the powertrain on the hatchback a sporty twist by offering a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The six-speed manual is easy to handle and is well matched to the new engine. But optional CVT simulates a 10-speed sequential shift and comes with a special launch gear.

The interior of the Corolla Hatchback is straightforward and functional but also quiet, amplifying the car’s civilized ride.

The center is also longer to increase the storage capacity inside the cabin Standard include an electronic parking three-door smart key, two front USB ports and the XSE model comes with heated front seats and eight-way power seat and 7-inch thin film multi-information display that provides turn by turn navigation and information, including safety alerts from the optional lane departure warning pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and blind spot monitor

The Corolla Hatchback is also comes equipped with Etune 3.0 audio system with an 8-inch touch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity and Amazon Alexa or Apple Car play compatibility.

The Toyota Corolla comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system, which can apply the brakes to help mitigate or avoid a collision. Safety sense also features dynamic radar cruise control with radar and cameras to detect other vehicles and their distance. It also has automatic high beam lane tracing assistance and is capable of identifying stop and yield signs.

One of the reasons I think a lot of consumers gave up on small cars is they were just too noisy, which added to the stress of a 45-minute or hourlong commute. The rigid crankcase and lighter-weight resin cylinder head cover used on the engine have helped make the car quieter. In addition, the cabin is shielded with extra sound-deadening material to help reduce the noise.

(To see more about Toyota’s track-bound Supra Concept, Click Here.)

Toyota hasn’t released the pricing on Corolla Hatchback or released the final fuel economy numbers. Nonetheless, the Corolla Hatchback is an affordable but advanced piece of automotive machinery, which is certainly worth considering by anyone shopping for a compact vehicle.

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