Don't let its diminutive dimensions fool you―the hatchback, in either SE or XSE grades, is all about making a huge impression. With its lengthy list of standard features that includes Entune 3.0 with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa Connectivity; a revised sport-tuned suspension and new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform; and the first North American application of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, Corolla Hatchback strikes a resounding chord with drivers who value authenticity, utility, practicality, and style.
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.
With those concepts in mind, Corolla Hatchback is a meticulously mixed cocktail of emotive lines, creases, and surfaces. It's lower (by 1.0 in.), wider (by 1.2 in.), and longer (by 1.5 in.) than its predecessor, Corolla iM. It also has wider front and rear tracks, and a longer wheelbase.
Its hood sits two inches lower than before, affording passengers excellent forward visibility. The new frontal styling with a rounded nose and trapezoidal-shaped under grille is a further evolution of Toyota's Under Priority Catamaran and Keen Look design philosophies, both of which emphasize Corolla Hatchback's increased width.
Slim, J-shaped Bi-Beam LED headlamps wrap deep into the front fenders and accent the front in both stylishness and precise illumination. Front overhang has been cut by 0.8 inches; at the rear, it's 0.8 inches longer. Chiseled character lines at its profile link both ends' protruding flanks making for an active, well-planted expression that is uncommon amongst its peers. Wheel sizes range from 16-inches to 18-inches in diameter.
Its new rear style articulates Corolla Hatchback's overarching emphasis on athletic presence. The relationship between front and rear design is closely aligned given the rear's more rounded physique that encompasses simple, condensed, yet powerful, three-dimensional landscapes. Its hatch―now made from TSOP (Toyota Super Olefin Polymer) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)―is not only lightweight to aid fuel efficiency, it is set at a steeper angle (moved 14 degrees forward) for that ultimate sporty look. The rear all-LED taillamps feature a diffusing inner lens designed to highlight the hatchback's stout stance. And the rear bumper styling echoes the frontal Under Priority Catamaran design with its thin lower lip and chrome diffuser.
Differentiation between SE and XSE is distinct. Both grades receive LED headlamps and taillights, chrome rear diffuser, and alloy wheels. XSE ups the ante with 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, chrome front grille surround, and an available innovative Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS). AFS―available only on XSE CVT―allows for the focused distribution of light in an area that matches the vehicle's speed and steering angle. The Bi-Beam LED units move vertically and horizontally to provide optimal light output by analyzing steering angle, vehicle speed, and the vehicle's longitudinal axes angle to adjust lamps.
Corolla Hatchback's color range includes the new-for-2019 color Rival Blue, as well as Blizzard Pearl, Silver Metallic, Midnight Black, Galactic Aqua Mica, Scarlet, and Oxide Bronze.
Corolla Hatchback's seamless unification of comfort and sporty controllability begins at its TNGA C platform. The compact structure employs a mixture of adhesives, spot welding, and additional bracing―top to bottom, side to side―for the benefits of driver controllability and low fuel consumption. On-road feel and fuel efficiency is further refined through the extensive use of aluminum and high- and ultra-high tensile steel in the lighter-weight chassis and body. In fact, torsional rigidity is improved a massive 60 percent compared to its predecessor.
Affixed to this musculature are revised front and rear suspensions. Its front MacPherson strut setup's geometry is changed (i.e. updated bound stopper clearance; stabilizer location) and incorporates other key augmentations like revised coil spring rate and damping force, and reduced friction in sliding parts. This all makes for a high-quality steering feel, ride comfort, and handling stability.
At the Corolla Hatchback's rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar, responsiveness is sharpened through updated shock absorbers and springs, and like the front, geometry is slightly modified. Lower arm locations have moved (for improved toe-in angle during higher-speed maneuvering), as has shock absorber placement (moved forward for better cargo capacity and reduced longitudinal low frequency input). Overall, front and rear suspension friction has been reduced by 40 percent, and its center of gravity is cut by a substantial 0.8 inches.
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.