By the time it arrives on the show stand for its New York Auto Show unveiling next week, it will have been quite a trip for the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. This model’s direct predecessor started life under the Scion iM nameplate, but after Toyota axed its youth brand, it absorbed the model into its portfolio, rechristening it Corolla iM. For this all-new second-generation model, the “iM” suffix is gone, and henceforth, this five-door will be known simply as the Corolla Hatchback.
While its name may be more ordinary, this new model is anything but. This new car is actually both more stylish and significantly more interesting from a tech perspective. In order to keep costs down, Scion models were famous for essentially being available in one trim, but now that the second-gen model is a full-fledged Toyota, there’s more tech, more trims and more options on offer.
Despite looking a lot like its predecessor, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback actually sits atop the automaker’s new TNGA C chassis (Toyota New Global Architecture — catchy, eh?). As a result, it’s actually quite distinct from its well-known four-door sedan sibling. In fact, the new model has much more in common with Europe’s latest Toyota Auris, which was just revealed at the Geneva Motor Show. The Corolla Hatchback is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, and combined with svelte J-shaped LED headlamps and restyled wheels, this new generation has a more aggressive and sophisticated aura.
In addition to its new platform, the Corolla Hatchback also receives a new naturally aspirated “Dynamic-Force” four-cylinder engine. Despite its 2.0-liter displacement, Toyota says this new powerplant is actually more compact and lighter than its 1.8-liter predecessor, while also being quieter.
Toyota has not yet disclosed power or fuel economy metrics for the new M20A-FKS engine, but we expect to know more prior to the car’s on-sale date.
The Corolla Hatchback will be offered with a new six-speed manual transmission (huzzah!) that features rev-matching, but the new Dynamic-Shift continuously variable transmission will doubtlessly be specified in a majority of models. The latter features no fewer than 10 simulated speeds, and it also features a dedicated sport mode and shift paddles.
Interestingly, Toyota says the car’s K120 transmission features the world’s first launch gear in a passenger-car CVT, an attribute the company claims will help to improve launch immediacy and smoothness. While we at Roadshow typically prefer the greater involvement of manual transmissions, we can’t wait to try this unique transmission for ourselves.
The Corolla Hatchback’s redesigned cabin is dominated by a generously sized 8-inch infotainment screen as standard. We’ve been underwhelmed with Toyota’s Entune-based touchscreen systems before, but this new v3.0 setup promises to be better, if only because Toyota has at last succumbed to consumer demands for Apple CarPlay compatibility (at least on this model). Android Auto fans are still left out in the cold, but at least there’s available Qi wireless charging.
Other new and noteworthy cabin tech includes a 7-inch TFT in-cluster display on high-end XSE models, along with an available 800-watt JBL audio system featuring Clari-Fi, a processing technology that aims to restore some of the sonic luster that’s typically lost when digital sound files are compressed.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback will compete against today’s surprisingly strong and varied crop of liftback rivals, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, and of course, the Honda Civic. In order to successfully ward off those models, the Corolla GT will also need a full complement of advanced driver assist safety systems, and fortunately, it appears to have them.
All trims come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a suite of features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, intelligent cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and even auto high beams. A new Lane Tracing Assistant feature allows the vehicle to follow the path of a preceding vehicle even when lane markings aren’t present on highways. Blind-spot monitor is standard on top-trim XSE and optional on mid-grade SE models.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback goes on sale this summer, and pricing should be revealed a bit closer to its appearance in dealers. Given this car’s competitive set and where today’s 2018 Corolla iM sits, we’d bet on spending a bit over $20,000 for starters. We’ll have a better understanding of this car’s value factor after we get our mitts on this car at next week’s New York Auto Show, but for the moment, that seems like pretty agreeable pricing for a car with dramatically more content than its forbearer.
On – 22 Mar, 2018 By Chris Paukert