2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback review


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I only ever used to recommend the Toyota Corolla to people who didn't care about cars. If they wanted a car that was the equivalent of elevator music -- something that just kind of... exists in the background -- the Corolla was always my number one suggestion. It's not that the car was bad by any measure, it just lacked excitement in literally every way.
But I can't do that anymore. The 2019 Corolla Hatchback (née Corolla iM Hatchback, née Scion iM) gives the Corolla lineup something it hasn't had in years: character.
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Stylin'

It's not exactly ready for Initial D, but the new Corolla Hatchback proves Toyota's designers are capable of making a good-looking car now and then. The automaker's corporate nose is much more subtle than it is on the current-generation Corolla sedan, the headlights and taillights are the right kinds of thing and there's a heapin' helpin' of character on the sides. My XSE tester, the sportier trim of the two, has upsized 18-inch alloy wheels a surprisingly large (but not annoying) wing atop the hatch.
The interior also uses more expressive design, though it's a bit safer. There's a nice bit of layering between the top of the dash and the bottom, with some simulated stitching to give it a more premium feel. Everything is within plain view, and there are plenty of real buttons for the infotainment system and climate control. On the XSE trim, the seats are covered in both fabric and leather, the front row gets heating and the driver's seat is eight-way power-adjustable.
One thing the Corolla Hatchback should have taken from its sedan sibling is the rear legroom. The current Corolla sedan has exceptional rear legroom. Things are much tighter for my 6-foot frame in the back of the 'Back, which has surprisingly narrow door openings but, thankfully, ample headroom. Forward visibility is ample, but the rear hatch glass is a little small for my taste. The side mirrors are big enough to cover my blind spots without requiring a twist o' the neck.

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