Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2019 all-new Toyota Corolla Hatchback is one cool customer. Its aggressive good looks, impressive standard equipment roster and fun-to-drive attitude are in direct opposition to its ridiculously low price. While not as roomy as a Honda Civic or Subaru Impreza, the Corolla Hatchback makes a livable daily driver, and it comes standard with Toyota reliability and resale.
You'll Like The 2019 Toyota Corolla If...
If you’re looking for an inexpensive small hatchback but worried you’re going to have to miss out on fun features like Apple CarPlay and adaptive cruise control, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback will put a smile on your face. The fun-to-drive factor is high with this car, as is the quality of its interior bits.
You May Not Like The 2019 Toyota Corolla If...
True performance junkies will no doubt gravitate toward the more powerful versions of the Honda Civic and VW GTI hatchbacks. Those who live in places where snow is a regular visitor might prefer the all-wheel-drive security afforded by the Subaru Impreza or Mazda3, which along with the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra GT also offer more rear-seat legroom.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is all-new this year, replacing the former Corolla iM as the company’s hot hatchback.
For an economy car, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has one very upscale interior. Soft-touch surfaces abound, enhanced by real seam stitching and intelligently designed controls. Seat comfort is supremely good, and there’s even available power lumbar for the driver. The large 8-inch Entune touch screen sits prominently atop the center dash and features hard buttons that make navigating the infotainment system’s various functions a bit easier. We found rear-seat legroom is a bit tight, but doable. Cargo space is also on the small side for this class, but the folding rear seats with flip-folding head restraints make it easy to increase the Corolla’s cargo hold in seconds.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback sits low to the ground, enhancing its already mean stance. Standard LED headlights and taillights are a welcome touch, as is the eye-catching Blue Flame paint available at no extra cost. Thick B- and C-pillars create some annoying blind spots, but the front A-pillars are sufficiently thin enough to allow good forward and side visibility. The rear hatch features a wide opening for easy loading of big objects, and the hatch itself opens high so tall people won’t hit their head.
Toyota has recommitted to building fun and exciting cars from the ground up, and the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a perfect example. The taut suspension, precise steering and quick-reacting brakes all keep the promises made by the Corolla Hatchback’s aggressive styling. The 2.0-liter engine offers 168 horsepower, which may not seem like much but actually delivers fairly brisk performance in this lightweight 5-door. The standard 6-speed manual with downshift-rev-matching is a joy, but we think many people will actually prefer the convenience of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and we’re okay with that. Why? Because this is one of the smoothest, most engaged CVTs we’ve driven in a while, with clever features like a built-in launch gear that delivers instantaneous acceleration from a dead stop.There’s also the added benefit of greatly improved fuel economy over the manual, as well as additional safety features like full-speed dynamic cruise control. Toss the Corolla Hatchback into a corner, and you’ll delight at its ability to instantly go where it’s pointed without complaint. The big 18-inch wheels and tires on the XSE offer the most grip, yet the ride never feels choppy or irritating, even over rough patches of pavement.
Considering its high standard content, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $20,920 (and that includes the $930 destination charge) is pretty darn amazing. The CVT automatic adds another $1,100 to the bottom line, while a loaded XSE tops out at a reasonable $27,035. You can probably rack up another $2,000 in accessories like the cool rear-wing spoiler, 4-seasons’ floor liners and paint-protection film. Those prices undercut a comparably equipped Honda Civic, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza and VW Golf, and are on par with the equally well-equipped Hyundai Elantra GT. Before you purchase a new Corolla Hatchback, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their cars. As for resale, we expect the new Corolla Hatchback to hold excellent values, on par with the Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza and slightly above the Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda3 and VW Golf.
Given its sub-$21,000 starting price, the new Corolla Hatchback is amazingly well equipped. The base SE comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, LED headlights and taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels, Smart Key entry with push-button start, a tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, color-keyed heated power mirrors, 6-speaker Entune 3.0 audio with App Suite and Apple CarPlay, two front USB ports, an 8-inch touch screen, 4.2-inch multi-information display, eight airbags, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (see Favorite Features) and hill-start assist. Add the CVT automatic and you’ll get an enhanced version of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, paddle shifters and 3-level Drive Mode Select featuring Normal, Eco and Sport.
Stepping up the XSE brings a whole lot more including 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED fog lights, blind-spot warning indicators, 7-inch TFT (sharper image) multifunction display, and an 8-way-power driver’s seat with power lumbar support. The SE Preferred Package adds a blind-spot monitor and an upgraded Entune 3.0 system. The XSE Preferred package adds wireless cellphone charging, 800-watt 8-speaker JBL audio, navigation and access to Remote Assist, while the XSE Preferred Package with Options adds adaptive headlights.
APPLE CARPLAYIt’s been long in coming, but Toyota is finally offering Apple CarPlay in some of its cars, including the new Corolla Hatchback. Now you can take your tunes, maps, texts and more with you, all channeled through the excellent Toyota Entune 3.0’s 8-inch touch screen. Nice.TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE 2.0Standard on every Corolla Hatchback is Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0, which includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, lane-departure warning with assist and automatic high beams. Automatic-transmission models add full-speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and lane-trace assist.
Under the Hood
Powering the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a peppy 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Customers can choose between a 6-speed manual with downshift-rev-matching, or a truly impressive CVT automatic with manual-shift mode and a launch gear for quick acceleration. The manual is clearly more fun, but the CVT is more practical and gets much better fuel economy plus opens the door to more safety systems and options. Tough choice.2.0-liter inline-4168 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37 mpg (manual), 32/42 mpg (automatic), 30/38 mpg (XSE)
Fun and efficient compact cars are a dime a dozen, but very few combine the simple driving pleasure and reasonable price of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Unlike its sedan counterpart, the Corolla Hatchback is a pretty cool customer, with aggressive styling, a peppy engine, great handling and just the right standard feature set to make the car attractive to younger buyers without pushing the price through the roof. In fact, a comparably equipped new Corolla Hatchback nicely undercuts the Honda Civic and Mazda3 by a good margin, putting Toyota value front and center. The Corolla Hatchback is also big on safety, with a suite of standard driver assists that are optional on some competitors.