Historically, the Toyota Corolla hasn't been associated with words like "interesting," "exciting" or anything resembling enthusiasm, with the obvious exception of the earlier rear-drive models. But the 2019 Corolla Hatchback seems different. It looks aggressive. It's going to be available with a manual. And since Toyota says that being fun-to-drive is the top reason for buying a small hatchback, here's hoping it will indeed be fun. But besides these tidbits, there are other interesting facets to the Corolla Hatchback that we learned while in New York.
It's way stiffer and has a lower center of gravity The new Corolla hatchback is built off of the TNGA modular platform that underpins the Prius, C-HR, Camry and now the RAV4. And one of the big benefits of this chassis is that it's pretty rigid. Toyota says that the new hatch is a full 60 percent more rigid than the current Corolla iM hatchback. The center of gravity has also been lowered by 2 cm. Both of these should help make it a more enjoyable car to drive.
It uses lightweight partsMaking cars lighter has been the name of the game for many automakers now, mainly for improving fuel economy. It's a big deal with trucks especially now, such as with the aluminum Ford F-150 and the GMC Sierra with available carbon fiber bed. But there's no reason small cars can't benefit either. The Toyota Corolla has a lightweight hood and trunk. The former is made of aluminum, and the latter is made of plastic. Toyota says an additional benefit of the plastic hatch is that it was easier to include more complex creases and lines.
It has fake exhaust tipsThis aspect of the Corolla left us a bit perplexed. At the back in the rear bumper around the fake diffuser area, there are a pair of chrome accents that look very much like extremely slim exhaust tips. They show up on both the sportier looking XSE, and the plain SE. Upon close inspection, though, they're completely closed off. Looking underneath you find simple downward-angled exhaust tips. We're really not sure why Toyota didn't simply cut some holes in the bumper and extend the tips outward, especially when the same design is used on both Corolla hatchback trim levels.
No hybrids are planned, but maybe some TRD accessoriesAlthough the Corolla hatchback's European cousin, the Auris, will be offered with a couple of hybrid powertrains, Toyota said they have no plans to offer them on the Corolla hatch. Depending on how you feel about hybrids, that could be a good or disappointing thing. On the upside, there could be some TRD performance upgrades in the future. When asked, a Toyota representative said that the company is considering it. And since Toyota already offers a performance intake for the current Corolla iM, and upgraded springs and anti-roll bars for the Corolla sedan, it wouldn't be unusual to do the same for the new model.