Toyota’s all-new hatchback brings back a legendary name…
The wait is over and we’ve finally met the all-new Toyota Corolla hatch in the metal! We’ve also spent a fair amount of time with it on the road and our general impressions of this eagerly-anticipated new model are good. Very good!
The new Toyota Corolla hatch replaces its Auris predecessor, but is built on the same platform as the trendy Toyota CH-R and Hybrid Prius. Its eye-catching looks, fluid-like driving dynamics and quality interior should grab the attention of trend-setters and urban commuters looking for a stylish hatch.
Speaking of style the new Corolla hatch is off to a good start with its engaging design that resembles elements of the CH-R, from sharp angular contours to Toyota’s signature ‘catamaran shape’ at the front corners of the car. The back end of the new Corolla really stands out in this segment with muscular haunches and more rounded styling that complement a compact appearance. There are three more new colours available on the Corolla Hatch – do yourself a favour and check out the Caribbean Blue colour option, it is next level hot!
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The interior of the new Corolla hatch brings everything together in its simplistic but functional and (very) comfortable cabin. New Corolla owners will enjoy oodles of soft touch surfaces in the front, with sporty finishes and a cabin that does a great job at blocking out any noise and chaos outside. You know that feeling you get when you get home after a crazy day and you close your front door to shut off from the rest of the world and wind down? I got a lot of that every time I got back into the Corolla – a new ‘happy place’, so to speak.
In terms of functionality, the base-model XS (which is for now the only option you have on the Corolla’s manual version) comes with a Reverse Camera as standard, as well as Cruise Control and automatic dual-zone climate air conditioning. On the XR trim (available on the CVT version) you get Blind Spot Monitoring, as well as leather and suede seats with extra lumber support. You can also expect standard connectivity features such as Bluetooth and aux inputs – unfortunately Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is not yet available, however navigation is available on both versions.
My only ‘sad face’ moment with the new Corolla hatch was upon opening its tailgate to see a rather conservative amount of boot space of 294-litres with a full-size spare-wheel tucked under it. But then it’s worth considering those who’ll be looking at buying this hatch and I’m going to assume that it is more style, performance and functionality that they’re after.
When you get to know a new car that looks this great both inside and outside, you hope that its performance on the road is equally as pleasing. Toyota really know how to build cars that are as easy and enjoyable to drive as they are to look at and the Corolla is no exception.
The new Corolla comes with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol engine that delivers 85kW of power and 185 Nm of torque through either a 6-speed manual or a new 10-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Continiously Variable Transmission (CVT). We first drove the manual version, with comes with an ‘iMT’ (Intelligent Manual Transmission) mode. When this button is selected, the engine’s speed is adjusted to suit the gear you’re changing into, so it makes things a bit smoother and easier to handle. In the CVT version, a Sport Mode button replaces the iMT and it really does its job if you want a punchier and more ‘in-control’ driving experience. These days, manufacturers are finally getting CVT gearboxes right and I really enjoyed operating the Corolla’s one. I didn’t feel like I was losing out on the fun and quirkiness of a manual transmission, in fact the CVT option, especially in Sport Mode, is quite a zippy little performer on the mountain passes! In terms of fuel economy, Toyota has pegged its fuel consumption rate at 6.1-litres/100km for both model variants.
Overall, the new Toyota Corolla Hatch is certainly setting a new standard as a C-segment contender – there’s a lot to admire in terms of looks and ticks a lot of boxes in terms of drivability and functionality.
My advice to potential buyers eyeing out the new Corolla Hatch is really to go and test drive one. Whether it is the manual or CVT option you’re interested in, both variants are impressive and set the standard for what C-segment vehicles should be like to drive in 2019!
All Corolla Hatch models come standard with a 6-services/90 000 km Service Plan and 3-year/100 000 km warranty. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15 000 km.