Wait, what year is this, 1985? Toyota is trumpeting their new hatchback? People still make hatchbacks as separate and notable things? I thought having a hatch out back is just what a car company does these days, what makes this 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback special?
So, yeah, “the Hatch is back!” as Toyota claimed in a far too smarmy and familiar tone that, along with hideously contorted marketing prose, permeates their press materials.
Toyota, in print anyway, is trying as hard as that third rate high school Romeo to convince you to go to prom with him. And there’s something about trying too hard that just seems to make it all the worse. Just check out this one single paragraph:
“Corolla Hatchback has flair extraordinaire. With a theme of Shooting Robust, along with a design goal of Agile, influencing their every pen stroke, designers created a form that is simultaneously distinct, dynamic, muscular, and sophisticated. Shooting references the design’s sport coupe traits implemented in all facets.”
Flair extraordinaire, Shooting Robust, design goal of Agile. Great job guys, you’ve now actively made me not want to buy your product. The only thing the marketing geeks have going for them is the complete and total lack of exclamation points. A minor blessing, all in all.
In a lot of ways, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is pretty much all that its name implies. It’s small, flexible, and a Corolla. Ergo, it’s going to be solid, dependable, easy-to-use transportation, and all the extra marzipan slathered on top just hides more of the cake underneath. The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is built on the company’s TNGA C platform, described as a compact structure that utilizes adhesives, spot welding, and additional bracing – top to bottom and side to side – for better stability and fuel economy.
The Corolla Hatchback is lower (by 0.4 inches), wider (by 0.6 inches), and shorter (by 0.6 inches) than its predecessor, the Corolla iM. That all adds up to better grip and handling, smother ride, and more room inside. The hatch itself is made from this stuff called TSOP and ABS plastic. TSOP, in case you’re interested, is not a reference to the disco song, The Sound of Philadelphia, but instead means Toyota Super Olefin Polymer, which is a new, lightweight substance. Put it on a sports car, and we can talk more Toyota.
Exterior & Interior Treatments
The little Corolla Hatch comes in two flavors, SE and XSE. Either version gets you LED headlamps and taillights, a chrome rear diffuser, and alloy wheels. The XSE’s wheels are 18-inchers while other goodies include LED fog lights, a chrome front grille surround, and an Adaptive Front Lighting System. Your color choices are Blizzard Pearl, Silver Metallic, Midnight Black, Galactic Aqua Mica, Scarlet, Oxide Bronze, and the new-for-2019 color Blue Flame.
The interior is all about “Sensuous Minimalism.” No, seriously, that’s what they said. There’s a standard eight-inch multimedia touchscreen for vehicle settings, audio controls, navigation, smartphone integration, and the Entune 3.0 apps. The center tray ahead of the gearshift holds small items and has a wireless device charging area. Front door cup holders accommodate 24-ounce bottles and the rear door cup holders accommodate 16-ounce bottles, because America.
The XSE ups the ante with dual-zone climate control, leather seating, and heated front seats (yay!). A seven-inch TFT Multi-Information Display shows vehicle info, turn-by-turn navigation, and various vehicle settings like Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Monitor and that sort of junk.
Power & Performance
All of this is propelled a 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force (laugh!) inline four-cylinder plant with direct injection. The engine is smaller and lighter than the 1.8-liter four-cylinder it replaces, and puts out 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque. The chassis seems to be all parts bin sourced and bean counter approved with a front MacPherson strut setup and a multi-link suspension with stabilizer bars out back.
Here is how Toyota describes it in their press materials:
The end result: A Corolla Hatchback that possesses an uncanny blend of balance, composure, and feel that’ll have its driver pining for windy roads – time and time again.
Really? Who cares?! Just listen to that media hype. Tell people you “drive a hatchback.” Toyota thinks that’s what all the cool kids will be interested in anyway. The chassis and powerplant engineers at Ferrari certainly won’t be upset or worried by what the cool kids are doing.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.