When Toyota showed its new Auris hatchback at the Geneva Motor Show, we expected there to be an announcement about the car's eventual availability in the U.S. market under some other name. Earlier Aurises have been sold as Scion iMs and Corolla iMs, Now, at the New York International Auto Show, Toyota is introducing the car as the sporty Corolla Hatchback.
The major difference between naming the hatch Auris or Corolla is that the European car gets just one non-hybrid powerplant, a 1.2-liter turbo engine. But the U.S.-market Corolla Hatchback gets just one engine to begin with: a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated direct injection four-cylinder unit with Dual VVT-i. The power output isn't yet announced, and neither are any other engine choices or hybrid systems to follow.
Toyota is positioning the Corolla hatch to be a driver's car, which also means that it's available with a six-speed manual gearbox. The iMT box automatically rev-matches on downshifts for extra smoothness and a bit of that aural sportiness. The other transmission option is the Dynamic-Shift CVT, which has 10 simulated gears, a sport mode, paddle shift and what appears to be the world's first introduction of a special, more powerful launch gear in a CVT. The dashboard is dominated by a standard 8-inch touchscreen, which is Apple CarPlay compatible.
As for safety tech, the Corolla hatch comes standard with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracking assist when markings are not clear, and dynamic radar cruise control. The latter differs slightly in specification whether the car has a manual or CVT gearbox; the Full-Speed Range DRCC available for the CVT car functions at speeds between 0 and 110 mph.
All in all, for Toyota the Corolla is all about twisty roads and driver involvement, partially due to its TNGA global platform's suspension tech. The car is mentioned to be 60 percent stiffer than its predecessor, and the rear multi-link suspension is said to have sharpened the car's response. The Corolla Hatchback will be available summer 2018 as a 2019 model.