Once I heard Toyota was bringing again a Corolla hatchback, admittedly, I used to be intrigued. In any case, I’m a hatchback man. They’re sensible, sporty, and I merely desire the type. However with my intrigue, I ready for actuality to kick in. I assumed the brand new Corolla Hatchback would most likely be geared up with the same-old 2ZR-FE 1.Eight-liter discovered within the Corolla sedan and mated to a fun-killing CVT. It’d be strong however pedestrian technique of transportation. Meh.
I am right here to say that I assumed wrongly.
Toyota’s been on considerably of an automotive picture revamp recently. Arguably, first, there was the Scion FR-S/Toyota 86. Then, seemingly in a single day, the Camry went from fundamental four-door transportation to an attractive sedan. Then the CH-R, with its wild styling, debuted. And after I laid eyes on the brand new ’19 Corolla XSE hatchback within the Blue Flame colour, I solely hoped the automotive would drive nearly as good because it seems to be, and it does due to a brand new free-revving 2.Zero-liter direct-injected engine and a smooth-shifting six-speed guide transmission. Plus, all of it trip on a chassis that is fairly tossable and sporting. Thoughts blown. Gradual clap for the “Huge T.”
First issues first—styling. I believe the automotive has nice traces; there’s one thing about it that jogs my memory of a rally automotive. Possibly it’s the aggressive angle on the rear spoiler, possibly it’s the general form. The entrance finish therapy isn’t my all-time favourite—I’m not an enormous fan of fish-mouth grille shapes—however I can reside with it right here. On the again, you’ve bought twin exhaust ports constructed into the rear fascia offering a cohesive, premium look. The automotive rolls on 18” wheels and skinny side-walled 225/40/18 Yokohama Avid tires. I don’t love the wheels, however I’ve seen worse. Total, I actually just like the automotive’s seems to be. And if I have been to decide on a colour, it’d have to be this Flame Blue. It has a touch of metallic in it, as properly. And I will sort what a few of you may have already instructed me: It does look a bit of like a Ford Focus RS. No matter. I actually dig it.
On the within, the XSE is trendy, comfy, and feels very solidly constructed. Ergonomics are fairly good. The infotainment system works simply (and sounds nice). Toyota opted to make use of tactile buttons and knobs on the display screen’s perimeter, which I like. The buttons are merely rectangular plastic nubs, type of like what you’ll’ve discovered on a 1980s TV distant or possibly an ’87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera’s Delco stereo. However, nonetheless, they work very properly with one exception. I usually discovered myself going for the amount knob within the lower-left nook and bumping the display screen with my hand which might make it change menus. Minor gripe.
The instrument cluster is a mixture of true analog gauges and a digital colour display screen that mimics an analog speedometer. There are a number of menus showcasing gas financial system, radio shows, and extra. It’s easy, efficient, but trendy. Properly accomplished. Additionally properly accomplished are the seats. They’re sporty with out being too extremely bolstered. Certain, extremely bolstered sport seats are nice for monitor days or time within the twisties, however not a lot lengthy journeys. These buckets are a very good mixture of consolation and sport. I actually thought the inside design was accomplished properly. From the upright touchscreen show and analog/digital local weather management, to the inside materials and seating place—this isn’t simply one other bland Corolla. There’s ample rear legroom, beneficiant cargo carrying potential within the again, and rattling it, all of it simply works.
There’s no lack of tech, both. There’s adaptive cruise management, lane protecting, blind spot detection, and a number of different security options that maintain this compact present on the protection specs.
The Corolla’s engine is the all-new 2.Zero-liter Dynamic Power M20A-FKS with twin VVT-i (variable valve timing – intelligence in addition to VVT-iE, which employs an electrical motor on the consumption aspect) and direct injection; it makes 165 hp and 151 lbs/ft of torque. It’s sewing-machine and the noise/vibration/harshness ranges really feel low. The engine is free-revving for positive, nevertheless, it does take some time to get to the higher revs, and that’s the place a lot of the energy feels prefer it’s made, too.
This engine takes me again to the primary time I drove a fast automotive with a high-revving, low-torque engine. Particularly, the 1999 Honda Civic Si. It revved simply, had a reasonably excessive redline, didn’t have a lot torque, and didn’t really feel that quick. In fact, it was quicker than it felt, and that’s probably the case with the Corolla Hatchback, too. Sure, it’s a must to row the gears fairly a bit to remain within the powerband, however it’s a hoot. The excellent news is the shifter is and well-gated. The clutch, sadly, has almost zero really feel. It’s virtually not possible to inform the place the uptake is. It’s a bit heavier than I anticipated, too. The primary few days, I felt prefer it was my first time driving stick, as I’d rev the engine, trying to find the clutch’s friction level. That is the worst a part of the driveline. This automotive has Toyota’s iMT, or clever guide transmission characteristic. When engaged, it routinely matches engine revs while you downshift—no have to blip the throttle with the accelerator. I might pushed rather more costly automobiles, such because the Nissan 370Z, with this characteristic previously, however that is the primary automotive at his worth level that has such a characteristic. I used it each time I drove it, and it is nice for spirited downshifts.
Acceleration feels brisk, however not rocket-like, and it’s essential to maintain the revs up for any rapidity. Whereas and relatively quiet, the noise the automotive does make is sweet. I stored considering that this factor would sound nice with a customized consumption and cat-back exhaust system. Actually, in the event you bear in mind the Corolla XRS from the early 2000s, that is form of its extra refined sequel. Again then, the ability was stratospherically excessive, there was a degree the place the valves extra (the VVTL-I system), and the engine was very loud and harsh. Fortunately, the XSE just isn’t that method.
A few oddities: That is the primary automobile I’ve pushed that takes 0W-16 oil. Earlier than this automobile, I’d by no means heard of it (seems it’s been in use in Japan for a while). Good luck discovering it domestically—particularly in the event you’re in a small city—not less than till (and if) it will get traction in North America. Subsequent, the engine is bare. And by bare, I imply there is no such thing as a engine cowl in anyway. So many automobiles’ engines conceal below some huge plastic shroud nowadays. Not this one. It is all simply there.
On the subject of the corners, I used to be very impressed. Cornering is flat, sporty, and assured. A few occasions, say going round my favourite cloverleaf on-ramp, I used to be shocked at how properly the chassis absorbed bumps and turns at pace. The weak spot is unquestionably the 225/40/18 all-season Yokohamas. With a stickier set of rubber, this factor could be really excellent, even in inventory type. The freeway trip is superb—simply sporty sufficient with out being punishing. Plus, the cabin is remarkably quiet and there’s little or no wind noise, even at 70+ mph. Toyota’s accomplished an ideal job of blending freeway cruising and nook carving with the Corolla Hatchback.
FUEL AND PRICEThe brand new Corolla hatchback isn’t too dangerous on gas, though it isn’t a miser (nor was I anticipating it to be). It’s EPA rated at 28 metropolis, 31 mixed, and 37 freeway MPG. I drove the XSE about 70% of the time within the metropolis, and bought very close to 28 MPG on 87 octane gas.
The Corolla Hatchback in XSE trim begins at $23,910 together with the $920 vacation spot charge. This XSE featured $415 adaptive LED headlights; $65 wheel locks; a $358 safety bundle which incorporates carpet flooring mats, carpet cargo mat, rear bumper protector, and cargo internet; and a $375 spoiler. The introduced the grand complete as examined to $25,123.
This Corolla Hatchback might be probably the most enjoyable and satisfying new compact automotive I’ve pushed in a while. With its slick-shifting transmission, fun-to-rev engine, nice styling, and that superior blue colour, this can be a automotive that I might contemplate placing in my driveway if I have been available in the market. There could also be extra highly effective choices on the market, such because the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport or the dearer VW GTI, however Toyota has put collectively a really compelling bundle which may get driving fans again into Toyota sellers for a automobile different than the GT86.
|THE BASICS: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE|
|MSRP As Examined:||$25,123|
|Engine:||2.Zero-liter 16V DOHC four-cylinder with direct injection|
|Curb Weight:||three,060 lbs.|
|Suspension:||F: MacPhearson strut |
R: Unbiased Multilink w/stabilizer bar
|Brakes:||F: 15″ Vented disc w/ABS |
R: 15″ Strong disc w/ABS
|Tires:||225/40/18 Yokohama Avid|
|Gasoline Financial system (MPG):||28 metropolis, 31 mixed, 37 freeway|
|Gasoline Kind:||87 octane gasoline|
|Ultimate Level of Meeting:||Toyota, Aichi, Japan|