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Car Review: 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback logo 2022-01-20 Emily Chung
2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review © Provided by 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review
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Before I had kids and a mortgage, I bought a 2004 Toyota Corolla. It’s still running with over 650,000 kilometres on it. Now, my oldest son is months away from getting his driver’s licence, and I took the opportunity to test drive the 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback with a manual transmission.


If you’ve done the math, I jumped 18 years in model upgrades. The Corolla has definitely changed a few things, but the road test didn’t disappoint.

Side note: If you want to curb your child’s temptation to text and drive, get your teen to drive a manual transmission.

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has a sporty look with lots of angles, curves, and bright LED lights. The sharply angled tail lens and protruding bumper designs are in line with Toyota’s signature look, something that is also repeated in their Lexus offerings. Low-profile tires matched with a larger rim size (P225/40R18) adds to the performance look. The vehicle is responsive and easy to handle, the suspension is entry-level, and you get very clear road feedback while driving. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a ‘ride on the clouds’ experience with the Corolla.

Driving the six-speed manual transmission made my commute more enjoyable. If you’re new to manual transmissions, Toyota’s iMT technology helps with a rev-matching feature to make sure you have a smoother downshift. The iMT also optimizes fuel economy in higher gears and allows for closer gear ratios in the lower gears.

The front dashboard is well laid out with a minimalistic feel; most of the functions are located in the centre touchscreen. The airbag warnings are shown in the dashboard trim, a subtle and smart way to maintain a sleek design. The blind spots were very reasonable in the Corolla Hatchback, side pillars didn’t block my view and the side windows were more than sufficient.

Front cabin space is comfortable and roomy, though if you have taller passengers they may feel short on space in the back. Take into consideration how often you’ll have a full vehicle.


The SE upgrade ($3,910) includes a load of technology features including blind spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, heated steering wheel and front seats, as well as wireless charging. A note about the wireless charger: it’s located underneath the dashboard and is quite shallow. Unless I made a turn from a stopped position, I risked having my phone slide out of the charger and into the passenger or driver footwell.

The SE package also features a rear camera image that wasn’t distorted and an eight-inch touchscreen (upgraded from a 4.2” display). The instrument cluster combines analog gauges and a digital display. This gives it flexibility to show information without dedicating precious real estate on the cluster itself. For families with young children, rear seat belt indicators are displayed just above the trip info for a few seconds upon start up. Climate controls are separated from the touchscreen, which is helpful and less distracting.


Under the hood/basic maintenance

Open up the hood and you’ll see a very crammed engine bay. This compact car doesn’t waste any space. I drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla and the difference in the layout of the engine bay is amazing. The difference in driveability technology is obvious. Hoses, tubes, valves, and sensors are all on display for the 2022 model year.

Thankfully, standard basic maintenance items are easily accessible. Brake fluid and coolant fluid reservoirs are located up top and the fluid levels are easy to discern. If you want to make it even easier to discern, run a permanent marker over the MAX and MIN points on the reservoirs. The windshield washer fluid fill point is located at the front of the vehicle away from most of the busyness of the engine bay. This might seem like an obvious point; I mean why wouldn’t the washer fluid top-up be located somewhere that drivers can easily access? Well, trust me, some manufacturers put them in the oddest locations — buried deep in the trunk, for example.

If you need to jump-start the vehicle, the battery is located close to the driver’s side and the battery terminals are well clear of any components that may interfere with you clamping on the cables. The ground point (a solid, unpainted metallic point away from the battery) that’s noted in the owner’s manual, is not in the best location and depending on the size of your cable end, you may need more precision to make a proper connection. It’s a bit difficult to discern which bolt is the ground that the owner’s manual refers to. The image shows a side bolt, but the actual one on the engine is not easily accessible.

There are other ground points you can choose from if you can’t get to the one on the side. If you’re in doubt, do not jump-start your vehicle. There are lots of electrical connections that may be damaged if this isn’t done properly. When you go in for service, ask your technician about the best ground point. Before you’re in a last-minute need to jump-start your vehicle, get your cable out and try making the connections, without the vehicle running.

The 2022 Corolla Hatchback that I test drove came with a compressor kit instead of a conventional spare tire. Read through how to use this kit before you actually get into an emergency situation. Also know that the sealant that comes with the kit has an expiry date, so these need to be checked on a regular basis. You may also incur an additional fee when having your tire repaired after using the sealant as some formulations require more time to clean and remove.

My 2004 Toyota Corolla is still running with over 650,000 km on the original engine and transmission. My secret? Regular maintenance, and that means sooner than the manufacturer’s recommendation. As an automotive service technician, I have seen many engines go before their time because the factory maintenance intervals are too long. Remember that the manufacturers care about your vehicle when it is under warranty and the recommended schedules reflect that. If you aren’t planning to keep the vehicle long-term or it’s on lease, then absolutely follow the recommendation. The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback runs on SAE 0W-16 full synthetic oil, and Toyota recommends engine oil change intervals at 8,000 km or six months, whichever comes first.

The owner’s manual is easy to read and contains important information such as how to reset your tire pressure light, as well as instructions on basic do-it-yourself items such as replacing non-LED light bulbs and checking fuses. New vehicle warranty is for three years or 60,000 km, and the powertrain warranty is for five years or 60,000 km (both warranties expire based on time or mileage, whichever comes first). In the owner’s manual, Toyota recommends service and repairs at their authorized dealerships though it’s not stated as a requirement to maintain the factory warranty. All servicing must be done with replacement parts equivalent to Toyota’s specification and completed by qualified technicians.

Child car seat

While the 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback provides 759 mm of rear legroom, you’re going to need every inch of that to install a rear-facing child car seat. Depending on the length of your child car seat, you will need to move the front seats forward in order to achieve the proper recline angle. This may mean that you’ll lose the use of the front passenger seat for a while, at least until your child is ready to travel facing forward. Remember that the front seat cannot touch the child car seat after it’s installed; it’s best to leave a small gap between both seats.

The rear seat bench has a slight bucket shape, and the cushion is relatively firm. The Universal Anchorage System (UAS) is clearly marked and located behind removable caps. These are only provided for the rear outboard seats so any child car seat installed in the centre will need to be done so through the seatbelt system.

To get a forward-facing child car seat installed correctly, you will want to remove the rear headrest (all three rear headrests are removable) so that the child car seat can sit flush against the seat. The outboard headrests incline slightly forward, and the centre headrest overlaps the seatback. The tethers are located directly behind the seatback and can be easily accessed in the trunk area.


The Corolla Hatchback offers 660L of cargo space, over 250L more than the Sedan. One thing to note is that you don’t get the entire width of the trunk to use, the rear wheel wells take up some trunk space. Families that have larger strollers will need to get creative in terms of fitting all the gear that comes with having young kids. The rear seats are a 60/40 split, which gives some flexibility in the cargo/passenger mix. There’s also an increase in cargo space because the trunk floor is sunken. However, if you’re moving precious cargo that needs to lay flat then exercise caution when loading and unloading.

 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Trunk © Emily Chung 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Trunk

Overall, the 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback lives up to its enduring reputation of being a reliable drive. The nameplate has been in production since 1966 proving that Toyota has its mark in the compact car segment. It’s also really fun to drive, easy to maneuver, and a great value. The starting price for the Corolla Hatchback is $21,390.

Emily Chung  is a licensed automotive service technician and an independent auto repair shop owner.


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