A few weeks ago, Toyota revealed a new mechanical trio consisting of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the industry’s first “launch gear” and a lightened six-speed manual transmission. Now we know where they were destined for: under the hood of a redesigned 2019 Corolla hatchback.
The new car is lower, wider and longer than its Corolla iM predecessor, with a lower hood benefitting forward visibility. This is the most radical styling Toyota has ever applied to its staid Corolla, and we think it looks good.
Other unexpected touches include a tailgate made of polymer and styrene (essentially, plastic and styrofoam) to save weight. It wraps around all LED taillights. All trims (S, SE and XSE) get LED headlights, too, and XSE adds adaptive lighting that bends around corners with the steering and boasts an auto-levelling function.
The new Corolla hatchback’s cabin is built around an 8.0-inch touchscreen that hosts navigation, infotainment and smartphone integration functions. There’s a wireless charging pad in the centre console that can accommodate a 140-mm smartphone.
Front seat occupants benefit from a lower hip point, and rear-seat riders get more comfortable cushions.
In basic S trim, the Corolla hatch has automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, a 4.2-inch driver information display and an electric parking brake.
SE brings heated front seats, leather shifter and paddle shifters, and can be optioned with 18-inch wheels, heated steering wheel and a blind spot monitor.
XSE brings dual-zone climate control, leather seating, an eight-way power driver’s seat and a 7.0-inch TFT gauge cluster display.
This becomes one of the most high-tech Corollas ever by incorporating Apple CarPlay and Toyota’s Entune app suite, Siri Eyes Free, available dynamic navigation and voice recognition.
Toyota says it upped the Corolla’s driving feel and efficiency with high-strength steel to reduce weight and increase structural rigidity and revised suspension front and rear, including a multi-link rear setup.
The automaker hasn’t published power figures for the 2.0-litre engine, but it boasts a higher (13.0:1) compression ratio and promises improved fuel economy. It can be connected to either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic with a launch gear that improves acceleration from a stop. Once up to speed, it switches to the belt-type drive more conventional to a CVT that can nonetheless mimic a 10-speed transmission, and boasts what Toyota calls the widest range of gear ratios in the car’s class.
Standard safety kit consists of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams and lane tracing assist.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback goes on sale across Canada this summer.