Canadians can’t seem to get enough of small hatchbacks. The Mazda 3 Sport (hatchback) is one of the best selling compact hatches and we get the Mercedes-Benz A250 Hatch whereas our American counterparts have to make due with only the sedan. As a result, Toyota has decided to make a hatch version of one of the best selling compact cars it has; the Corolla.
Disclaimer: I did not get a lot of time with this vehicle so this is a short review. Hopefully a more detailed review will come at a later time.
A naturally aspirated 2.0L 4-cylinder engine is the only available with the 2019 Toyota Corolla. It produces 168 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque which is a bit less than what you can get in other cars of this size. But despite the lack of power, once it gets going it is eager to rev right up to the redline. It doesn’t quite have the same sporty feel as the engine in the Mazda 3 and it doesn’t produce the low-end torque of the Civic, but its eager characteristics make up for it.
Mated to the little engine that could is a CVT transmission. I am personally not a big fan of this type of transmission as it doesn’t really provide any driving pleasure. Happily however, the Toyota Corolla is available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Better yet, the manual transmission is available across all trim levels of the Corolla.
Fuel economy is very good although it should be noted that it is better if you opt for the CVT rather than the 6-speed manual. With the CVT, it can achieve 5.8 L/100km (40.5 mpg) on a highway and 7.5 L/100km (31.4 mpg) in a city. With the manual transmission, those numbers jump to 6.3 and 8.4 respectively.
But regardless of which transmission you opt for, you’re in for a treat when you take the Corolla around a corner. Thanks to new multi-link rear suspension and a stiffer chassis, the 2019 Corolla is responsive around corners and it encourages you to go a bit faster than your brain tells you should. Steering feel is on the vague side but it is precise and consistent from slower to faster speeds.
The new suspension not only makes the Corolla Hatchback fun but it’s also quite compliant over bumps. Like many other vehicles in this class, the suspension should be able to cope with potholed city streets and the ‘Rolla is no exception. Further adding to the comfort are the soft yet supportive seats. At least, the fronts are soft and supportive whereas the rear seats are tight and firm. Cargo space is also on the small side with the Hyundai Elantra GT and Mazda 3 Sport offering more space.
The overall cabin noise is quiet with little intrusion from outside noises nor the noises coming from the engine.
Odds and Ends
The 2019 Toyota Corolla comes with Toyota’s safety sense 2.0 which includes lane departure warning, high speed adaptive cruise control and auto high beam as standard. Opt for the automatic transmission and the adaptive cruise control is full range, as in, it can bring the car to a stop in heavy traffic. Blind spot sensors are an optional extra and what’s odd is the lack of automatic emergency braking; or as Toyota calls it, pre-collision system. Normally you don’t find this type of safety feature on a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission because it would stall the engine under an emergency. But the same vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission would normally have it. But not in the case of the Toyota Corolla. A bit odd.
This fully equipped XSE trim comes equipped with everything that one would want and need from a compact hatchback. Leather appointed seats, heated steering wheel and seats, wireless phone charging, navigation, and so on. One thing you won’t find in this 2019 model is Android Auto. Happily, however, it is available on the 2020 model year.
The interior design of the new 2019 Toyota Corolla looks sharp and modern. Everything is where you’d expect it to be but it’s also done with some thought and design. The materials used on the dashboard, center console, and door trims are also nice to the touch.
The exterior is striking to look at, especially from the front. It has an aggressive stance that is accented by the LED daytime running lights. This XSE trim comes equipped with the large 18” wheels and the rear is accented by the slim LED running lights and roof mounted spoiler. In all a very good looking car.
At $21,000 CAD for the manual transmission, the Toyota Corolla Hatch starts at a similar price to some of its competition from Mazda & Hyundai. This loaded XSE trim sits at just under $27,500 CAD (before fees and taxes) which is more than the Hyundai Elantra GT but less than the Mazda 3 Sport GT. Overall though I really enjoyed driving the Toyota Corolla Hatch mainly due to its sporty characteristics. The Mazda 3 is a bit more sporty to drive but it’s also more expensive than a similarly equipped Corolla. As a result, if you’re looking for a fun to drive hatch but don’t want to break the bank, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a fantastic alternative.