9 Things to Know About the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: The Short List

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole


The all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback goes on sale sooner than you might think. And before it starts arriving dealerships here’s a sneak peek, nine of the most important things to know about this fresh-faced five-door.

It was only just revealed a handful of weeks ago, back at the New York Auto Show, but we’ve already had an opportunity to evaluate the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, one of the more intriguing Toyotas to come out in recent years.

Without giving away too much right up top, this compact car looks better than ever, drives well and offers technology that just a few years ago wasn’t even available from luxury automakers. But enough of a tease, here’s what’s most important.

9. Size Matters

And point No. 9 is size. This hatchback has grown both up and out. It’s more sophisticated than the outgoing Corolla iM and slightly larger thanks to a brand-new platform. The car is about 1.2 inches wider and 1.5 inches longer. Both front and rear its track has increased and the wheelbase was lengthened.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review

8. Big-Car Refinement

Likely thanks to its TNGA underpinnings, which are shared with a variety of other Toyota models like Camry and Prius, the Corolla Hatchback offers big-car refinement. Underway, surface imperfections are absorbed and digested nicely by the chassis with minimal harshness making its way to the cabin. This car always feels sturdy and planted.

Unfortunately, this excellence doesn’t translate to the steering, which could be livelier. It seems just a bit too light and isolated. The Mazda3, Honda Civic and even Ford Focus, as old as it is, all provide a more engaging drive.

7. Tastefully Aggressive Design

Point seven, the new Corolla hatch is dressed in tastefully aggressive styling. There’s an elegance to its design that’s been lacking in other recent Toyotas, notably the Camry and Avalon. For once, the brand’s big-honkin’-grille motif doesn’t seem grossly out of proportion. The car’s triple-element headlamps look great, as does its expressively sculpted rear.

SEE ALSO: 9 Things to Know About the 2018 Ford Expedition – The Short List

6. Classy Cabin

But what impressed me even more is this vehicle’s interior. The dashboard is elegantly simple with strong horizontal cues. The surfeit of soft plastics has luxury-car squish and is attractively textured. The rear seat is also unexpectedly spacious, able to accommodate a pair of six-footers without cramping.

If this car’s interior falls short in any area it seems to be practicality. Lacking an official figure, the cargo area looks pretty tight. Short and shallow, there’s just not much real estate there.

5. Acceptable Acceleration

The only engine offered in the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 168 horsepower and 151 foot-pounds of torque, par for the compact course. It’s responsive enough if a bit gritty at higher revs, providing class-competitive acceleration, though it never feels fast. More giddy-up would be appreciated, but as it stands this is just fine.

4. Tech by the Bushel Basket

Satiating today’s tech-hungry drivers, this new Corolla offers abundant features. For starters, whether you get a base SE model or the better-equipped XSE, an 8-inch touchscreen is standard, though two different infotainment systems are available: Entune 3.0 Audio and Entune 3.0 Audio Plus. Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration is baked right in like chopped filberts in a brownie. An upscale JBL audio system, automatic climate control and Qi wireless charging are all optional. LED head, tail and back-up lights are standard for a premium look.

SEE ALSO: 9 Things to Know about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – The Short List

3. Two Transmissions Are Offered

Toyota is offering two transmissions in this car, a CVT and a six-speed manual. Let’s start with the auto-box, which, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s the one y’all are going to get. Unlike some rivals, it features a fixed first gear, which helps provide better launch performance and feel. Once the car is moving, the belt and pullies take over as usual. It will also mimic traditional gearchanges under heavy throttle to help avoid engine droning.

The so-called Intelligent Manual has a few tricks up its sleeve as well. Aside from featuring automatic rev-matching for perfect downshifts, it can also help prevent engine stalling, a boon for novice drivers, and automatically adjusts engine rpm for smoother shifts.

2. Safety First

Safety first, or in this case, second… Whatever, we’re close enough! Every 2019 Corolla Hatchback comes with TSS 2.0, the company’s latest range of advanced driver-assistance tech. This includes the usual goodies like adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams, but the car also features a few unexpected amenities, like road-sign recognition and Lane Tracing Assist, which keeps it centered between road lines. Beyond that, this five-door Corolla also features pedestrian detection and can even recognize cyclists. It must have some sort of Spandex detector, though I’m not sure exactly how this technology works.

1. It Goes On Sale This Summer

Lastly, the 2019 Toyota Corolla is launching relatively soon. Production gets underway in June, with an on-sale date the very next month, so if you’re interested you needn’t wait long.

Overall, this five-door hatchback is pleasantly surprising. It’s roomy, decent to drive and offers TONS of great features. For some, it’s the first Corolla worth owning in a very long time.

Discuss this story on our Toyota Forum

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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