Toy­ota rolls out new Corolla Hatch­back for 2019, with prices start­ing at $19,990

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Drive - On the Road By G. Cham­bers Wil­liams III

There’s a new hatch­back ver­sion of the popular Toy­ota Corolla now on the mar­ket for 2019, with all-new ex­te­rior styling that pre­views the look of the restyled Corolla sedan com­ing for 2020.

Prices start at $19,990 (plus $920 freight) for the base SE model with a sixspeed man­ual trans­mis­sion, or $21,090 for the SE with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic. The up­level mod­els are the XSE six-speed man­ual ($22,990) and XSE CVT ($24,090), which is the one we tested for this re­port.

The new Corolla hatch re­places last year’s Corolla iM, and is 0.6-inch shorter, 0.6-inch wider, and 0.4-inch lower than the iM. It also has a 1.5-inch longer wheel­base and wider track. Its hood is two inches lower, and it fea­tures a rounded nose and trape­zoid-shaped un­der grille.

Un­der the hood is a new 2.0-liter in­line four-cylin­der en­gine rated at 168 horse­power and 151 foot-pounds of torque. Un­like some com­peti­tors, the Corolla Hatch­back is avail­able with the man­ual gear­box in all mod­els. It has front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not of­fered.

The con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic has pad­dle shifters that sim­u­late a 10-speed se­quen­tial-shift trans­mis­sion, and in­cludes a Sport Mode with what Toy­ota says is the “world’s first launch gear in a pas­sen­ger-ve­hi­cle CVT.”

The hatch­back’s en­gine has

Dual VVT-i (Vari­able Valve Timing­in­tel­li­gence), with VVT-iE (Vari­able Valve Tim­ing-in­tel­li­gence by Elec­tric mo­tor) on the in­take side and VVT-i on the ex­haust. VVT-iE uses an elec­tric mo­tor in­stead of oil pres­sure to con­trol the emis­sions, the au­tomaker says.

We had plenty of power in our tester, and the CVT seemed to shift more like a con­ven­tional trans­mis­sion even with­out us­ing the in­cluded man­ual pad­dle shifters.

Among stan­dard fea­tures across the board are Toy­ota’s En­tune 3.0 con­nec­tiv­ity sys­tem with Ap­ple CarPlay based on the Toy­ota New Global Ar­chi­tec­ture; and Toy­ota Safety Sense 2.0. Sur­pris­ingly, though, the au­dio sys­tem does not sup­port An­droid Auto, which sup­portd An­droid smart­phones, the most-popular phones on the mar­ket world­wide.

J-shaped “Bi-Beam” LED head­lights wrap into the front fend­ers. At the rear inches for the SE mod­els, and 18 inches for the XSE mod­els like our test ve­hi­cle, which also had 225/40R18 tires.

Among other stan­dard fea­tures on the XSE model are LED fog lights, a chrome front grille sur­round, dual-zone au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, leather seats, and avail­able Adap­tive Front Lights (only on the XSE CVT). The Bi-Beam head­lights speed, Toy­ota says.

Our XSE tester came in the beau­ti­ful new Blue Flame ex­te­rior color. Other color choices in­clude Bl­iz­zard Pearl, Sil­ver Metal­lic, Mid­night Black, Galac­tic Aqua Mica, Scar­let, and Ox­ide Bronze.

In­side, there are front bucket seats and a three-per­son rear bench. The

in­stru­ment panel in­cludes a high-res­o­lu­tion eight­inch mul­ti­me­dia touch screen that stands above the cen­ter dash. The cen­ter stack screen gives ac­cess to ve­hi­cle set­tings, au­dio and nav­i­ga­tion con­trols, and smart­phone and En­tune 3.0 apps. The cli­mate con­trols are be­neath the touch screen.

The cen­ter con­sole is wider and longer, and in­cludes a cen­ter tray in front of the shifter to ac­com­mo­date smart­phones and wal­lets, or the op­tional Qi wire­less de­vice charger. A 5.5-inch smart­phone can fit in­side the cen­ter con­sole box.

There are con­trast­ing high-gloss and matte trim el­e­ments, with sil­ver ac­cents and op­tional con­trast stitch­ing. Front door stor­age pock­ets in­clude cuphold­ers big enough to hold 24-ounce bot­tles. Rear doors have cuphold­ers that can han­dle 16-ounce bot­tles.

SE mod­els have sin­gle-zone au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, a leather shift knob, and pad­dle shifters for the CVT be­hind the steer­ing wheel. Also in­cluded are an elec­tronic park­ing brake, three-door SmartKey sys­tem, au­to­matic up/down win­dows and two front USB out­lets.

XSE mod­els come with dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, com­bi­na­tion leather (leather with mélan­ge­like fab­ric) seat­ing, heated front seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, and the spe­cial stitch­ing. Our XSE model came with the Moon­stone leather in­te­rior; black is also avail­able.

Be­hind the steer­ing wheel on the XSE is a sev­eninch TFT Multi-In­for­ma­tion Dis­play with ve­hi­cle in­for­ma­tion, turn-by-turn nav­i­ga­tion and ve­hi­cle set­tings, in­clud­ing those for the Lane De­par­ture Alert, Lane Trac­ing As­sist, Pre-Col­li­sion Sys­tem with Pedes­trian De­tec­tion and Blind Spot Mon­i­tor.

The SE has the stan­dard En­tune 3.0 Au­dio with eight-inch touch screen and six speak­ers; Ap­ple CarPlay and Ama­zon Alexa com­pat­i­bil­ity; En­tune 3.0 App Suite Con­nect; Safety Con­nect; Wi-Fi Con­nect; Scout GPS Link Com­pat­i­ble; Siri Eyes Free; an aux­il­iary au­dio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod tand con­trol; AM/FM; MP3/WMA play­back ca­pa­bil­ity; Voice Recog­ni­tion train­ing and tu­to­ri­als; hands-free phone ca­pa­bil­ity; voice recog­ni­tion and mu­sic stream­ing via Blue­tooth; a cus­tom­iz­a­ble home screen; and weather/Traf­fic info via En­tune 3.0 App Suite.

The En­tune 3.0 Au­dio Plus comes stan­dard on the XSE, but is also of­fered on the SE CVT model. It brings HD ra­dio and weather/traf­fic info; Sir­iusXM with Cache Ra­dio; En­tune 3.0 Con­nected Ser­vices; Ser­vice Con­nect; and Re­mote Con­nect.

Avail­able on XSE CVT mod­els is the En­tune 3.0 Au­dio Pre­mium JBL sys­tem with eight speak­ers, 800-watt am­pli­fier, Clari-Fi, Dy­namic Voice Recog­ni­tion, Dy­namic Nav­i­ga­tion, Dy­namic POI Search; and Des­ti­na­tion As­sist Con­nect. It was not in­cluded on our XSE tester.

Stan­dard is the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of the Toy­ota Safety Sense sys­tem, with new ac­tive-safety tech­nolo­gies. They in­clude Pre-Col­li­sion Sys­tem with Pedes­trian De­tec­tion day or night (night is new), or day­time bi­cy­clist (new), It alerts the driver (audi­ble and vis­ual warn­ings). It can ap­ply the brakes to help mit­i­gate or avoid a col­li­sion, us­ing For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing, Brake As­sist, and Au­to­matic Emer­gency Brak­ing. Dy­namic Radar Cruise Con­trol is stan­dard on all Corolla Hatch­back mod­els.

Also in­cluded are Lane De­par­ture Alert with Steer­ing As­sist; au­to­matic high beams; and Lane Trac­ing As­sist. The new Road Sign As­sist can iden­tify Stop, Yield, Do Not En­ter and Speed Limit signs and dis­play vis­ual and audi­ble alerts. Alerts vary based on the sign type, and are dis­played on the Multi-In­for­ma­tion Dis­play screen, Toy­ota says.

There are seven stan­dard air bags and Toy­ota’s Star Safety Sys­tem, which in­cludes En­hanced Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol, Trac­tion Con­trol, Elec­tronic Brake-force Distri­bu­tion, Brake As­sist, an­tilock brakes and Smart Stop Tech­nol­ogy.

Blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing is stan­dard on the

XSE and op­tional on the SE. All mod­els have a backup cam­era.

While there is room for up to five peo­ple, the rear bench seat is more com­fort­able for two rather than three, and our rear pas­sen­gers said they had ad­e­quate knee, leg and head room. A mid­dle arm­rest with two cuphold­ers can be pulled down for the out­board pas­sen­gers when no one is sit­ting in the cen­ter po­si­tion.

The front bucket seats are more com­fort­able than those of some com­pacts I’ve driven re­cently, and were even suit­able for a long week­end drive.

We did some shop­ping and were sur­prised to find the rear cargo area rel­a­tively roomy, with 18 cu­bic feet of space even with the rear seat­back up. With the seat­back folded, space ex­pands to 23.3 cu­bic feet.

Our 2019 Corolla Hatch­back XSE with the

CVT came with no op­tions. To­tal sticker price was $25,065, in­clud­ing freight, which brought us a welle­quipped ve­hi­cle that was fun to drive along with be­ing quite prac­ti­cal.

The au­to­mo­tive col­umns of G. Cham­bers Wil­liams III have ap­peared reg­u­larly in the Ex­press-News since 2000. Con­tact him at cham­[email protected] or on Twit­ter @ gcham­bers3.

Want more ve­hi­cle news and re­views? Go to

The Toy­ota Corolla Hatch­back re­turns for 2019 as part of the lineup of the re­designed, 12th-gen­er­a­tion Corolla. It has seat­ing for up to five, and a 2.0-liter four-cylin­der en­gine with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion or sim­u­lated 10-speed con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic.

In­te­rior ameni­ties of the 2019 Toy­ota Corolla Hatch­back in­clude au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, leather shift knob, and pad­dle shifters for the CVT lo­cated be­hind the steer­ing wheel. An elec­tronic park­ing brake, three-door SmartKey sys­tem, au­to­matic up/down win­dows, and two front USB out­lets are stan­dard as welll.

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