The all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback brings fun to the lineup

The all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback —Toyota

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is all new, replacing what started as the Scion iM and then morphed into the Corolla iM when the Scion brand was axed. The transformation is complete for 2019 with the five-door version of the Corolla now being called the Corolla Hatchback.

Hatchbacks offer a nice compromise between a crossover and a sedan. They have greater cargo flexibility thanks to a fifth door, but without the higher ride height and larger size of a crossover. Hatchbacks also have a reputation for being fun, and many feature manual transmission for people who take joy in rowing through the gears on their own.

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Power for the Corolla Hatchback comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 151 pound-foot of torque. It’s a peppy engine, and although that horsepower number isn’t very high, this isn’t a big car. It’s compact, so it has more than enough horsepower to easily get up to highway speeds while still being perfect for navigating narrow city streets.

Your have a choice of a continuously variable automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. The CVT is a good one, and although it gets a bit noisy under hard acceleration, there’s no annoying whine, and it quiets down as soon as you get to cruising speeds.

Assuming you know how to drive one, the six-speed manual lets you have a little fun. Toyota estimates that only about 5 percent of buyers will opt for this transmission, which is a shame. The shifter easily snaps between gears, and rev matching makes for a smoother overall drive experience, especially if you’re new to a manual.

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The Corolla Hatchback has sporty handling that makes it easy on twisting side roads. You’ll find yourself searching for those roads and avoiding the straightaways every chance you get.

Despite its sportier driving style, it’s not harsh or tiring. Think of the Corolla Hatchback as “hot hatch light.” It has the power, handling, and style to qualify, but not the rough ride that usually comes as a part of the package. It makes the Corolla Hatchback a great daily driver and one that won’t wear on you during the daily commute or on longer road trips.

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Styling on the Corolla Hatchback fits the mold of the edgy hot hatch. It is lower, wider, and shorter than the Corolla iM, and more angles give it an aggressive demeanor. Especially from the back with its rear spoiler, the Corolla Hatchback looks fantastic.

The interior is comfortable with redesigned front seats and longer armrests. There’s a choice of fabric or a leather-and-fabric combination depending on the trim you choose. The rear seats aren’t spacious, but they comfortably seat two and will work for three passengers on shorter trips. There’s 18 cubic feet for cargo behind those seats and they split-fold 60/40 to increase cargo capacity for larger items.

Infotainment includes a standard eight-inch touchscreen with a six-speaker audio system. There’s finally Apple CarPlay, which made its first appearance in a Toyota with the new 2019 Avalon. Android Auto, however, is still absent with no announced plans for future integration.

The Corolla Hatchback also features enhanced safety with the new Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. It includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control (manual transmission only), full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control (CVT only), road sign assist, lane-tracing assist (CVT only), daytime cyclist detection, and daytime and low-light pedestrian detection. The best part is that this suite of safety features is standard across the Corolla Hatchback lineup, so there’s no need to budget for the cost of additional packages.

The 2019 Corolla Hatchback will be available in SE and XSE trims later this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.