With a new body, platform, wheelbase, engine, and continuously variable transmission, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback (formerly the Corolla iM) is a very different beast than its predecessor. This was made abundantly clear during our recent test drive. Gone is the weird seating position, the spartan interior, and the so-so ride.
Just as important, the iM’s lackluster power figures give way to decent specs for a car of its class. It seems Toyota actually listened to owner complaints, boosting the vehicle’s output by 31 horsepower and 25 lb-ft while adding a physical launch gear to the new CVT, all in the hopes of wringing a little fun out of the compact liftback.
Here’s what getting into a Corolla Hatch costs:
For a base SE, which shares the higher trim’s Dynamic-Force 2.0-liter four-cylinder, pricing starts at $19,990, plus $920 for handling and delivery. That brings the base model to $20,910, or $1,165 more than a “base” 2018 Corolla iM. (The single-trim iM comes in two flavors: stick or CVT).
For that price, buyers land a six-speed manual transmission and a healthy list of standard goodies. Included in all trims is an 8-inch touchscreen and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 â€” a full suite of driver assist features that includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, as well as dynamic radar cruise control. (Stick shift models don’t see a full-speed version of that perk.)
Moving up to an SE with CVT adds another $2,100 to the sticker, but you’ll be rewarded at the pumps. Featuring a broader ratio range and 10 simulated shift points, the CVT ups the estimated fuel economy to 32 mpg city, 42 highway, and 36 combined. The previous CVT-equipped iM managed 28/36/31. Sticking with the three-pedal layout sees fuel economy grow 1 mpg in the city and combined cycles and 2 mpg on the highway, compared to the six-speed iM. Estimated MPGs are 26/37/31.
If larger wheels and appearance upgrades are a must, the six-speed XSE retails for $24,910 after delivery, or $25,010 for the CVT variant. While the EPA hasn’t verified the fuel economy figures just yet, Toyota predicts a fairly significant MPG loss for the top-trim CVT model. The automaker pegs the XSE CVT at 30 city/38 highway/33 combined. (Figures for the XSE manual aren’t available.)
There’s still ways to fling more cash in Toyota’s direction, should you choose. Each trim carries a tech package. For SE models, blind spot monitoring, an upgraded Entune 3.0 audio system with app suite, and Toyota Connected Services fetches $1,400. For the XSE, $1,600 brings the same connected services, an eight-speaker, 800-Watt audio system, wireless phone charging, and navigation.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback rolls into dealers this summer.
[Images: Steph Willems/TTAC]