Having over 150 HP in a compact hatchback back in the day meant that you were driving a hot hatch. Today, though, this number has more than doubled, with models like the Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS, to name just two.
So, where does this put a model such as the 2020 Toyota Corolla SE 6MT? Its 2.0-liter inline-four produces 168 HP at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) of torque at 4,800 rpm, channeled to the front axle through a six-speed manual transmission. Which is nice if you like to shift gears yourself, but apart from that, there’s nothing sporty about this Corolla.
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If you know your Corollas, then you will recognize the SE by the sport mesh grille, rear spoiler finished in the same color as the rest of the car, grey metallic side skirts, double exhaust pipes and 18-inch alloy wheels with a black finish. The sports seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a few other gizmos are more than welcome, though you can spend more money on the JBL premium sound system, moonroof and so on.
Despite the sporty appearance, the Corolla Hatch equipped with the stick shift is actually a decent commuter car. It does 31 miles per gallon combined, 28 in the city and 37 on the highway (7.6/8.4/6.4 l/100 km). Sure, you could spin the front wheels in first, second and third gear, but the problem with this model is that it tries too much to pass as something that it’s not, according to RegularCars’ latest review.