2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSEFeatured Test Drive Reviews Toyota 

A Whole New Corolla: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Test Drive

Whenever the Toyota Corolla is mentioned in a conversation it’s usually followed by words like reliable, affordable, practical, or fuel-efficient. But it’s rare that words like “fun” or “exciting” are brought up. Well, Toyota is aiming to change all that with the new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback and the recently unveiled 2020 Corolla Sedan.

I recently spent some time with the new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. Of course, that pleasant surprise was due to the fact that my test model came with a six-speed manual and not a CVT, but after a week, I really started appreciating Toyota’s attempt to make the Corolla cooler than it’s ever been in decades.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Exterior

To be completely honest, I’ve never given the Toyota Corolla a second thought, solely based on the fact that I thought it was somewhat boring looking. Well, Toyota is finally changing all that and has decided to bring a modern and stylish exterior design to one of its best-selling models — and I really like it. Highlighted by a very animated front-end, the Toyota Corolla will finally start to attract a crowd that wants an attractive looking compact sedan and with this hatchback, Toyota will also impress shoppers in this niche segment.

The front end of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is highlighted by a rounded nose and trapezoidal-shaped under grille that really gives it a lot of character. All trim levels come standard with LED daytime running headlights and LED fog lamps. The rear end also stands out with sleek all-LED tail lamps and sharp characters line that run from the bottom of the rear bumper and meet at the edge of the tail lamp. In my opinion, these elements really give the Toyota Corolla Hatchback a lot of personality. The $22,090 XSE model I test drove here comes standard with chrome grille surround and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Oh and if you’re wondering — this color is called Blue Flame.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Interior

Design wise, the interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is an awesome place to be, with comfort and tech at the forefront.

All 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback models come standard with an eight-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility, and the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assist tech. The XSE model I tested here adds  leather-trimmed heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a seven-inch TFT information display. That’s really all the list of options and extras we need to talk about, since there are no additional packages and add-ons. I absolutely love that, since all the aforementioned options are really all you need.

Space wise, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback gets a total of 42 inches of legroom for front passengers and 30 inches for rear passengers.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Safety

When it comes to safety, like most Toyotas, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback comes standard with the brand’s Safety Sense 2.0 package which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Road Sign Assist. Other standard safety features include a tire pressure monitor system, hill start controls and much more.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Performance

Power for the 2019 Toyota Corolla comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 168 horsepower and peak torque of 151 lb-ft. Mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT, 60 mph arrives in just 7.6 seconds (with a manual) and a top speed of 115 mph. Fuel economy wise, you’re looking at 28/37 mpg* (city/highway).

The Corolla Hatchback sits on the brand’s new TNGA platform that Toyota says is coupled with a Sport-Tuned Suspension. Now, while it’s not as sharp as some rivals, it is much better than its predecessor. Torsional rigidity is improved by 60 percent over the outgoing Corolla, and it’s significant enough to notice. As for the manual transmission, it is one of the easiest to drive. Known as the Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT), the transmission is lighter (by 15 lbs.) and shorter. Push the iMT button located above the gearbox and you will activate downshift rev-matching control which automatically adjusts engine revs for a smoother shift.

Overall, ride-quality is stable and peppy enough for you to shift in and out of lanes and take over slow drivers during your daily commute.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Overall

Overall, this is a great start for the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Prices start at $19,900** for the base SE model which comes loaded with a long list of standard features that are otherwise optional on some of its rivals. The XSE starts at $22,090 and adding some fun accessories like the $375 rear window spoiler will bring you closer to the $23,000 range. All we need now is a faster Toyota Corolla Hatchback that will take on the VW Golf GTI. Visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership for a quick spin today.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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