For much the past few years, we’ve watched automakers roll out new hatchbacks that were previously thought to be unpopular and, thus, not saleable.
As these small, but comfortable, roomy and surprisingly powerful throwbacks hit dealer lots and were gobbled up it created a new class of vehicle: the hot hatch.
However, Toyota is jumping into the class with the Corolla, but is also looking to do it with its own special spin, with less focus on speed and power and more emphasis on technology, or as the company’s calling it, the haute hatch.
The hatchback comes in two trim levels – SE or XSE – and comes with an impressive list of standard features, including Entune 3.0 with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa Connectivity; a revised sport-tuned suspension and new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform; and the first North American application of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0.
(Toyota will “pause” testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Click Here for the story.)
“Corolla Hatchback strikes a resounding chord with drivers who value authenticity, utility, practicality, and style,” the company claims.
The new Corolla is really the latest generation of the now-defunct Scion iM, which was one of the brand’s best offerings between room, performance, technology and price. That has only improved since it was folded into the Corolla family.
Toyota uses words like agile, distinct and muscular to describe the exterior, and all are appropriate, but really, overused descriptors. The new version is two-inches lower than its predecessor and features small, j-shaped headlights that are functionally better than the older lights and lend to the more assertive design.
The new frontal styling with a rounded nose and trapezoidal-shaped under grille is a further evolution of Toyota’s “Under Priority Catamaran” and “Keen Look” design philosophies, both of which emphasize Corolla Hatchback’s increased width.
(Click Here for details about the new RAV4 coming to NYIAS.)
Looking mean is useless if there no performance to follow it up. While the new model isn’t a Focus RS, it packs plenty of punch with its 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine, which adopts the latest in Toyota technology and structural efficacies for gains in power, fuel efficiency, and cleaner emissions.
Physically, the engine is smaller and lighter than its 1.8-liter four-cylinder predecessor, which helps to lower Corolla Hatchback’s center of gravity and benefits its overall balance. The 2.0-liter is also quieter for improved Noise Vibration Harshness with additions like a more rigid crank case with integrated stiffener; a lighter resin cylinder head; and a ribbed oil pan.
Toyota believes drivers will appreciate Corolla Hatchback’s available transmissions: an all-new Dynamic-Shift CVT (K120), or a six-speed iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) gearbox (EG60). The Dynamic-Shift CVT has simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic steps, Sport Mode, and paddle shifters. It features a number of innovative elements, including the world’s first launch gear in a passenger vehicle CVT.
The company hasn’t released horsepower, torque or fuel economy numbers ahead of its NYC debut. However, it did talk about the second-generation Toyota Safety System, which comes with:
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection;
- Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Automatic High Beam
- Lane Tracing Assist (new this year)
(Toyota investing $2.8B to create new company focused on developing self-driving cars. Click Here for the full story.)
That available technology also comes with seven standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) is standard on XSE and available on SE.